Media culpability in the tarnishing of the badge

Each year in May, we set aside time to honor fallen peace officers as part of National Peace Officers Memorial Week. Today elected officials, law enforcement leaders and the public gathered in Minneapolis to honor the peace officers who have died in the line of duty in Hennepin County.  

On this day, rather than inform the public of the event or honor the fallen officers, the Star Tribune chose to place a negative article about the Minneapolis Police Department on the front page above the fold. The story had news value and deserved reporting, but it certainly didn’t belong in that position of prominence — especially today. 

The placement of the article juxtaposed sharply against the memorial ceremony held in front of Minneapolis City Hall. During the ceremony, Minneapolis Mayor Frey spoke with pride as he recited three outstanding and heroic incidents involving Minneapolis officers in just the past week. Each incident was volatile and could have ended in tragedy, but because of the great work of officers, each was resolved peacefully.

Unfortunately, most will never learn of the honorable and heroic things our officers do in our communities daily. Instead, they will continue to be informed by the slow drip of negativity that serves us poorly, and unnecessarily harms the institution of law enforcement.