Sheriff story about ‘half-truths,’ not facts

Published 12:53 am Monday, October 29, 2007

Maybe I should not be surprised at the media’s attitude that they have the right to know all the details (even before the investigation is complete).

When improper information or untrue statements are made to the media, the rights of an individual may be violated or it could jeopardize the prosecution’s chances of a conviction.

After reading your article on Sheriff Maxwell and public records, I have deduced that you were only looking for “sensationalism,” not truth. You have used “quotes” in your article that are only half-truths and it appears that you were not willing to get the facts, you only wanted a “story.” It is this type of “reporting” that causes officials to say “no comment.” Maybe you and any other media personnel should be forced to get all of your information from public records rather than interviews. You are willing to put the innocent public on the spot by asking leading questions with no regard for how it will make them look when the facts come to surface (if and when you print the facts).

Email newsletter signup

At the time of the incident the proper reports were filed and all necessary departments were notified, to include the National Crime Information Center, the Department of Corrections and local law enforcement agencies. Since this individual was local and was not a violent criminal, there was every reason to believe that he would stay in this area (which he did). Proper law enforcement personnel should be allowed to do their jobs without interference from the media.

If the media has reason to believe that law enforcement is abusing its authority or that some illegal activity has taken place, then by all means investigate until the “facts” are revealed. But that desire to report to the public should be tempered with good common sense and a responsibility to report the facts not half-truths and innuendos.

Speaking strictly as a citizen of Concordia Parish, I would prefer to know that when I read an article in the local newspaper or watch the evening news on television, I would not have to doubt its validity. I would prefer to know the truth about what is happening to affect my life or our society rather than the reporter’s personal opinion. It is a sad and disappointing time in our country when those in the media are not held accountable for their actions.

Thanks for reminding me that “I can’t believe anything I read or hear and only half of what I see.” Professional journalism?

Capt. Donald Turnage

Supervisor of the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office

work release department