Look at this Facebook post from NewsChannel 13.
The post includes a photo of a person sitting outside an Albany police station that was the scene of a recent clash with protesters. It’s excluded here because we donâ€™t know if she did anything to warrant this kind of attention, and the police wonâ€™t say why theyâ€™re looking for her. However, that doesnâ€™t stop WNYT from blaring in all caps with an exclamation point, ONE SHARE CAN HELP POLICE!
This is disturbing and irresponsible. Itâ€™s not unusual for the media to share a photo to identify someone who is clearly a suspect in a crime, but this steps over the line.
The accompanying story says, â€œPolice aren’t saying why they want her, or what she might have done.â€ Donâ€™t ask. None of your business. All you need to know is that we are the police and we want to find her. Take our word for it, she’s a bad one. Just look at her.
Maybe thereâ€™s a very good reason for the police to be looking for this woman, but if thatâ€™s the case, tell us why â€” and shame on WNYT for posting this without questioning the cops or asking for a justification. They not only skipped the basic journalism part, they then jumped into the fray to whip up their audience. Remember, ONE SHARE CAN HELP THE POLICE!
It stinks when these TV stations do the bidding of the authorities without considering what they may be up to. What happened between protesters and police was unfortunate, but itâ€™s the job of journalism to question those in power, not become their lapdogs.
Nevertheless, ONE SHARE CAN HELP POLICE! Paging George Orwell.