Archive for July, 2009

Code Blue
July 30, 2009

Somebody call President Obama.  We have a case of a police officer acting “stupidly”. 

 Hollywood Police Sergeant Dewey Pressley apparently orchestrated a cover up, reconfiguring the facts of a car wreck caused by his fellow officer to instead blame it on the young woman whose car he rear-ended.  After all, who (and what court) would ever believe the words of a 23-year old woman against a team of police officers sworn to uphold the law, to protect and serve? 

But that’s not the stupid part.  That’s the despicable, shameful and possibly criminal part.

 Except, uh-oh, there’s the tape.  Video and audio. 

 “… if I need to bend it a little to protect a cop, I’m gonna.”

 The voice of Sgt. Pressley,  21-year police veteran, taking charge.

 “I will tell you exactly how to word it so it can get him off the hook.”

 The sergeant didn’t know, didn’t realize, didn’t think to check that the dashboard camera and microphone were still on, recording his conspiracy. 

Duh.  Maybe logistics isn’t his thing.

 Acting stupidly isn’t a crime.  But perjury is.  So are fraud and conspiracy.

 I so admire the bond police officers have with each other, no matter what the department.  It’s the kind of bond forged between professionals who have chosen a life of public service even at potentially great risk to themselves. 

 But “I have your back” is far different than “I’ll throw someone else in front of the bus”.

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And That’s The Way It Is…
July 19, 2009

Chances are you learned a lot about Walter Cronkite this weekend, if you watched or read any of the many tributes.  The pedestal is high, and he is firmly planted on it into perpetuity as the gold standard of journalists and a sterling human being.  

Chances are, through those tributes you relived, or even witnessed for the first time, the watershed events of the 20th Century Cronkite narrated and explained, play-by-play, from his front row seat on the ride of American History.

 The term “news anchor” was actually created for Walter Cronkite. 

 Which leads me to wonder, if Cronkite were starting his career in television news tomorrow, would he make it?  In South Florida?

I’m not so sure.  Because the career can’t start without that first job, that foot in the door.  And in South Florida, the Cronkites-to-be might not get a second look.

Demographically, Cronkite was what people might call Middle America, which is usually a euphemism for Average White Man.  And AVM’s are generally not in high demand in television markets like this one.

That’s not a judgment call, just an observation.  The cast of characters in television newsrooms typically reflect the audience they serve.

(By the way, I am blessed to have colleagues who fit that description who are some of the best journalists in this market, whom I admire deeply, learn from daily, laugh with often, and love. We are a better community because of their work.)

Back to Cronkite.  Would he play in Peoria?  Maybe.  What about Parkland, Sweetwater, South Beach, Lauderhill or Kendall?  Liberty City, Pembroke Pines, Wilton Manors, Homestead?

Sure, you’d like to think.  Every news consumer appreciates a rock-solid, smart journalist who is as real on the air as he/she is in person.  But he would have to get in first.  And what are the chances his first resume tape, the substance and the style,  would be that one among others to get a second look? 

What do you think?