The old saying goes, “if it bleeds, it leads.” Which means only violence and bad instances will be the leading stories, not a story on something good someone did. We are fed so much bad news in the media that we currently have a “culture of fear” when dealing with crime and a distrust of anyone in power. I believe the media is partly to blame for the general negative attitudes towards police and law enforcement officials.
It is extremely rare that you will hear a story about an officer risking his life to save a child, woman, or family; but if an officer decides to act violently in a given situation you can bet your bottom dollar it will be on the evening news. This phenomena is not limited only to police, this includes the military, government officials, teachers, etc. Articles such as “Why Blacks Don’t Trust the Police,” on CNN.com, is another way the media is perpetrating both distrust in the police and an “us versus them” attitude in the police and citizens alike. The article stems from the recent killing of Trayvon Martin, and how the black community is blaming the police for not taking George Zimmerman into custody. The black community and media refuses to put any blame on law makers who made the Florida’s version of our “castle doctrine,” and the prosecutor who still refuses to charge Zimmerman of any wrongdoing. I guess it is easier to blame the people who enforce the law, not those that enact or prosecute it.
We are constantly confronted with headlines that scream “Police Brutality!” However, most people are ignorant to the powers of the police and the use of force continuum; thus, they do not know usually the officer was not acting in an illegal way. A great example would be the ISU officer who punched and pepper sprayed a student in the dorms because the student first, ran away from the officer, and second, was combatant with the officer when he tried to take him into custody. Yet, if you read the comments on the YouTube video that was loaded of this incident you will see a lot of hate towards the police and very little support. I would also like to point out according to the use of force continuum the officer was guilty of no wrongdoing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLDqPa4eGeU
In no way is this article designed to condone police misconduct when committed, it is to let the reader look through the façade the media will put conveys. The media creates illusions all over society, not just the police, and we need to be cognizant of the agenda most media outlets have. Analyze the facts next time you are reading an article that has a strong opinion and try to come up with your own opinion of who was right or wrong, do not let the media spoon feed opinions and feelings to you, especially when it comes to those that protect the public.