Supporting the Blue is getting harder to do each time a news story breaks about an officer not being indicted or charged in the death of a citizen.
However, the perception of the police is shaped by the media and at this stage it appears that police feel that the news media treats them unfairly.
The rioting in St. Louis over the deadly incident involving a police officer has been widely presented in media, print and social media. How does this kind of reporting affect the image of the police overall across America?
Most US police officers see significant challenges on the job in the wake of high-profile incidents involving law enforcement and black citizens. Among those challenges is a widespread feeling among officers that police are mistreated by the media, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey conducted by the National Police Research Platform.
About eight-in-ten officers or (81%) who work in departments of 100 or more sworn officers say the media generally treat the police unfairly, according to the survey. Just 18% of officers disagree. About four-in-ten officers (42%) strongly agree that the media are unfair to police.
Officers who have a strongly negative view about the way they are treated by the media also are more likely than their colleagues to see a disconnect between themselves and the public.
Understand their pressures dealing with millions of people in major US cities.
For example, did you know that the number of murders increased by almost 60 percent in the city of Chicago last year? And as you will see below, this year gang violence in the Windy City has risen to record new levels adding to the meanness and viciousness of the beats.
In 2016, the number of murders in the city jumped nearly 60 percent to over 760, more than New York and Los Angeles combined. There were more than 4,300 shooting victims in the city last year, according to police.
This pressure is repeated day in and day out in every US city.
How unfair is it to report what is happening on our streets?. I don’t believe that is the issue.
Perhaps, the larger picture of media reporting is the overemphasis of police overreactions, rudeness, rough heavy handedness, brutality and use of deadly force.
This creates the kind of panic and uncontrolled frenzy we see infecting our streets that boils over into the kind of stories that report violence, arrests of citizens and property damage. It is further promoted by groups wanting to destroy the unity and calmness in the community with their ungodly chants of hate that promotes killing and hurting all police.
Understand Where Police Stand in the Fight
According to Pew Research, for police, attitudes about media bias are linked to other feelings about their jobs. Officers who feel strongly that the media treat police unfairly, for example, are more likely than their colleagues to say their work as a law enforcement officer nearly always or often makes them feel frustrated and even angry. Roughly two-thirds of officers (65%) who strongly agree that the media treat police unfairly say their work always or often makes them feel frustrated, and about one-in-three (31%) say it makes them feel angry. Feelings of frustration or anger are significantly less common among officers who don’t feel as strongly about media coverage of police. Further analysis would be needed to determine what comes first for police – cynicism about media coverage or feelings of frustration and anger – but these attitudes are clearly related.
I think a little of both. The perception given of them by news media is projected nationwide and that image is painted on every cop walking a beat or driving a police car.
That in turn creates hostility with the public and the community leading to the kinds of disrespect and rowdy rebellions we saw in St. Louis.
Is it Us or is it Them?
Before you go off think that most of those men and women are simply doing a job and do not deserve that kind of disrespect or threat as they protect us on a daily basis.
Bad reporting or bad raps promoted by media clouds the image of the Boys in Blue and that shapes the public image that all cops are bad people and are the evil enemy who wants to kill us – That is just not true.
I suggest you run far from a newspaper, television program or activist group who constantly harps about hurting Americans just trying to do the simple job of serving and protecting us.
I believe that the police have difficult job protecting all of us and we must understand that.
However, the anger and attitudes of many a cop have been demonstrated by words and actions of officers caught on tape or on body cameras misbehaving or being downright as*$h#les to the public they are sworn to serve and protect – Those are the ones who get that media attention that stoke the flames of hate and discontent.
I call on people to start researching information on police and others for yourself. Don’t walk out blind into the streets marching and screaming about issues and situations where you don’t have all the facts. Don’t pick up a picket sign or spit hatred if you don’t understand the issues or the full facts.
The media uses the low information person like a puppet and unfortunately many are being played.
Police officers are the collateral damage and are caught in this cross fire of this so called reporting.
So, I understand their anger and frustration, but police are going to have to fight back by beating the media at its own game and set a new standard by creating another paradigm for yourself and your profession.
So, before we hand down verdicts judging all police officers guilty, Walk A Mile in Blue Moccasins…