USA Today Fears Police Brutality Caught on Tape Might Make Cops Shy

USA Today (10/15/10) has a valuable article by Kevin Johnson on citizen’s use of video to document police brutality–citing numerous examples where such recording was instrumental in exposing violent behavior on the part of cops.

The piece also includes the perspective of cops who don’t want to be videotaped, who produce zero evidence for their assertion that such taping “has had a chilling effect on some officers who are now afraid to act for fear of retribution by video.”

USA Today‘s editors, though, put those unsubstantiated claims in the article’s subhead in the print edition–“Are Incidents Caught on Tape Hindering Officers?”–as well as in the main headline over the continuation of the story on page 2: “Some Fear Videos Create a ‘Chilling Effect’ by Making Police Hesitant.”

It’s a striking demonstration of the corporate media’s instinctive attraction to power.

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.