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by Peter Moskos

July 16, 2014

Reporter fired for politically incorrect editorializing

With regards to the killing of Jersey City Police Officer Melvin Santiago, Fox News TV reporter Sean Bergin no longer has a job after editorializing on-air:
It's important to shine a light on this racist mentality that has so contaminated policing and America's inner-cities. ... The underlying cause for all of this, of course, is America's racist criminal justice system that makes it impossible for young black men to succeed. It's nearly impossible to cover the issue in-depth and accurately when surrounded by stark raving conservatives who masquerade as journalists.
Just kidding.

Bergin didn't say that. And he didn't work for Fox. The truth is, if he had said that, it's very unlikely he would have been fired. He was fired for editorializing in a conservative manner, based on his what he's seen as a reporter.

What Bergin actually said on-air was:
We were besieged, flooded with calls from police officers furious that we would give media coverage to the life of a cop killer. It's understandable. We decided to air it because it's important to shine a light on the anti-cop mentality that has so contaminated America's inner cities. This same, sick, perverse line of thinking is evident from Jersey City, to Newark and Patterson to Trenton.

It has made the police officer's job impossible, and it has got to stop. The underlying cause for all of this, of course: young black men growing up without fathers. Unfortunately, no one in the news media has the courage to touch that subject.

Do I agree with this? Not one-hundred percent, but he certainly brings up a fair issue. Is what he said overly simplistic? Of course. But let's not set the bar too high for local TV news. This sure beats another cute animal video. And don't give me that "reporters shouldn't have an opinion" bit. Or "there's a time a place for everything." This was a great time and place to express his opinion on a major problem.

Bergin later told The Blaze (and then it was picked up by the AP and other news sites):
I broke the rules, but I broke the rules because I was doing the right thing. You can't fix a problem if you don't talk about the problem. The truth is, 73 percent of African-American children grow up without fathers. It's a topic that needs to be handled delicately — and really, this situation could have been used as a way to explore that.
Now that 73 percent figure isn't true and a reporter should know better than to throw around misleading statistics. (There's a big difference between not having legally married parents living together at time of birth and "growing up without a father." Regardless, the comparable figure for whites is 29 percent.) But still, Bergin's greater point is valid: there's a problem here; we need to talk about it and get to the bottom of it.

Bergin went on:
"I'm in these housing projects all the time, and it's all for the same thing: black men slaughtering each other in the streets. Why is this happening?" he continued, adding that it's nearly impossible to cover the issue in-depth and accurately when surrounded by "stark raving liberals who masquerade as journalists."
OK, strike two again Bergin for using the phrase "stark-raving liberal." But I'll give him credit for this: his opinions come from actually visiting the homes and neighborhoods where the violence happens. He sees bad things happening and actually cares. Before you criticize him, ask yourself if you care. Think about the last time you've done anything in a high-crime neighborhood other than lock your car doors.

As I wrote in Cop in the Hood:
If you really want to learn about the ghetto, go there. There’s probably one near you. Visit a church; walk down the street; buy something from the corner store; have a beer; eat. But most importantly, talk to people. That’s how you learn. When the subject turns to drugs and crime, you’ll hear a common refrain: “It just don’t make sense.”
Bergin did all this. Reality, as cops well know, isn't always politically correct. And you don't have to like what what he says to defend his right to say it.

1 comment:

doggercise said...

the odds are these young adult male suspects have biological fathers that are as bad as they are.