Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 24, 2010 / 11 Sivan 5770

Can we agree on this: TV cameras don't belong on cop beat

By Mitch Albom






http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | We still don't know what happened the night 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones was shot, but if a certain TV show had its way, 2 million people might have witnessed the whole thing.

That's the audience for a hot episode of "The First 48," a reality show on A&E that follows cops during the 48 hours after a murder is committed. A crew from this show was filming when Detroit police, looking for a murder suspect, burst into that duplex on Lillibridge Street in Detroit, a gun was fired and a little girl died.

Let me repeat a few words from that sentence: police, murder, gun, died.

And now one more: filming.

Do those really belong together?

What on earth is a television crew doing in this mix? This is real life. Real bullets. Real blood. Real funerals. That may be the vicarious thrill for people watching at home, but last I looked, police do not exist to provide characters for the A&E Network.

How could that crew not impede the process? There were two cameramen on Lillibridge that night, sources have told the Detroit Free Press. Even if only they take up space in the squad car, they are in the way. Even if they ask one question, they are in the way.

And even if they do nothing but point and shoot, they are in the way. Because anyone who thinks being filmed for TV doesn't play in the minds of the subjects has never been filmed for TV, or is working for A&E.

EMBEDDED WITH THE POLICE
"We have had embedded reporters a number of different times for a number of different initiatives," Assistant Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee told me this past week. "So it's not unusual."

Beg to differ. But it is unusual. At least this kind of access. "The First 48" gets to be on the scene. In the squad cars. Outside the home when the cops burst in. They film officers at their desks, on their lunch breaks, during interrogations. They ride along to victim's houses, film suspects squirming, family members weeping.

They also have cops miked for sound. And the cameras roll as they approach a suspect's door.

"Don't you think that might make your officers act a little differently?" I asked Godbee.

"It's a fair question," he said.

It shouldn't need to be asked.

CAMERAS MESS WITH YOUR HEAD
We may never agree on much in this case, but we should agree on this: We do not need reality TV on the tail of our police force. Some argue it keeps them honest. I argue they're supposed to be honest.

So why are the cameras there? The show does not pay for access, according to Herschel Fink, the lawyer representing A&E, who also represents the Free Press in First Amendment and other legal matters. If that's true, then it must be about ego. Thinking the show will portray police work in a positive light -- or maybe a heroic one.

And that's when cameras mess with your head. Look. You're either a cop because you believe in the work or you're not. The chance to be seen on TV is at best a distraction and at worst could be an incentive for unwarranted behavior. No one knows, for example, how often Detroit police throw a "light grenade" through a window as they did on Lillibridge, but because that TV show was filming, many will claim it was an attempt to look macho.

This should never be an issue. Police are heroic enough. Get the cameras out. "The First 48" has run for nine seasons -- nine seasons! -- meaning tens of millions have sat and viewed it.

That's pathetic. One of Detroit's biggest problems with crime is that nobody turns in suspects and nobody wants to talk to the cops. How can so many want to watch TV murders, but so few want to help stop real ones?

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

MITCH'S LATEST
"For One More Day"  

"For One More Day" is the story of a mother and a son, and a relationship that covers a lifetime and beyond. It explores the question: What would you do if you could spend one more day with a lost loved one? Sales help fund JWR.



Comment on Mitch's column by clicking here.



Mitch's Archives


© 2009, THE DETROIT FREE PRESS DISTRIBUTED BY TMS, INC.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles