Monday, March 3, 2008

The Daily Nexus' Police Blotter Gets It Wrong

Weekly, the Daily Nexus attempts to do what any award winning journalistic enterprise does: entertain by exploiting the hard-luck stories of persons arrested. It happens, most regularly, in the section of the paper known as the Police Blotter. Hahahaha! So funny! So funny that alcohol makes people act goofy. So funny that these arrested individuals were publicly humiliated, tethered like animals and taken to a cage. So funny that many of these individuals will have their careers and other dreams sandbagged by one or more criminal convictions resulting from a single instance of poor judgment. I just can't stop laughing. There's a word in German, schadenfreude, which is defined as the pleasure one feels while learning of another's pain. Sadly, the Nexus encourages its readership to indulge in schadenfreude regularly by going down to the IVFP and chatting it up with police to get their agenda-driven and one-sided versions of these arrests then printing them. Seldom, if ever, do we get to read the other side of the story. Often it is the rude, arrogant, over-bearing and, occasionally, violent conduct of the police that just doesn't make it into the paper somehow. Those that have been arrested, and those that witness those same arrests, I can assure you, just as often, have alarming stories to tell of unprofessional conduct by law enforcement which, frankly, just isn't as funny as it is disturbing. And what's really not funny is how these arrests may affect these arrested individuals in pursuit of their academic and career goals. I am not asking the IVFP, or any police officer for that matter, to stop enforcing the law. I am asking them, however, to stop laughing at those that they arrest, and the Nexus to stop asking its readership to join in that laughter.

UCSB is full of future law-makers, judges, and jurors. Should the Nexus consider itself a serious news organization, and not a mere puppet of the UCSB Administration and other powerful forces of the Establishment, it should stop and consider the important role it plays in influencing attitudes of our future community leaders toward police, the accused and the administration of justice. At the very least, it should endeavor to tell more than one side of any given story and stop asking its readership to take pleasure in another person's pain.


Anonymous said...

point well taken

Anonymous said...

And would it be asking too much to hope that the Daily Nexus might not automatically assume the guilt of everyone charged with an offense? A lot of people will have a legitimate defense to the offense that they're charged with. People get OVER-charged ALL the time, and although it might seem inconceivable to the authors of the Police Blotter, innocent people are wrongly accused of crimes, too.
I'm glad that the Daily Nexus reports on arrests that are made in the area, but I wish they wouldn't assume that being charged automatically means you committed the crime you're charged with. And then to make fun of the charged person on top of it all? Yeah, that's a bit too much.
Thanks, IV Lawyer, for raising this important topic.

Anonymous said...

You are correct.

It is really sad to see a campus newspaper that has gone the shock and entertainment route. It has regular columns that make light of sex and drugs with no counter point. Its hard to believe that "journalism" in this educational institution has gone so far afield.

It should be clearly labeled as a lampoon for the most part.

The other issue I have with the "newspaper" is it dosen't allow comments from people with a vested interest in its message and "news." As a paying parent I have regularly read items which deserved counterpoint but the Daily Nexus does not allow comments unless you have a UCSB account. I looked at UCSD and all you need to do is provide email.

Anonymous said...

The police blotter simply tells of arrests made. It is very bland ( ie police saw male stumble into a parked car, went to talk to suspect, arrested subject) I think it serves as a reminder to students that in their care free life in Isla Vista, that they need to remember to act responsibly, because if they don't the police are there.

I think the local community deserves to know what sort of actions have been happening in town. I have heard of some large drug busts occurring, but never a mention of those in the paper. Its politics because they try to make the community look better than it is but only displaying drunken arrests, they need to display it all.

(I also do think the police are jerks and have seen my fair share of their unprofessional behavior)