Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mainstream Cover-up?

To the commenter who sees a cover-up by the newspapers, there is a good reason why responsible, mainstream media cannot go with unsubstantiated allegations. Unless there are charges confirmed by some level of law enforcement, there is no story to print. I can guarantee you that journalists are doing their best to look into this situation.

Please note that the article posted online had no byline. The inclusion of a link to the "purported" official report did not make it official. It was an internal document, not a news release. The further inclusion of personal e-mail did not make it official.

As far as bloggers go, each one of us decides as individuals what to post. If you want outcry, truck on over to the Plainfield forum and do it yourself.

As a reporter, I once had to follow up on a case involving a well-known Plainfield figure. Everybody had heard what happened, but all the FBI would say is, "we can neither confirm nor deny" an investigation. Eventually, the person became one of the first guests at a brand-new correctional facility, but until the legal process was complete, there was no story.

Sometimes an investigation needs a lot of work to make the charges stick. No prosecutor or AG wants to go to court with a half-baked case. Investigators owe allegiance to their agencies, not to journalists trying to break a story.

I am rather troubled by people who interpret this as something racial. A large proportion of Plainfielders choose to live here because of the city's diversity. There may be another factor at play here, but I don't think race is involved.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bernice, you are not mainstream media, nor opening a case for prosecution. You are our eyes and ears for the people who feel powerless or dont know what their Govt is really doing. You talk about no byline, you dont have a byline either but you still post your comments and opinions. I have one serious question to ask. What is going on with our govt? Where do I turn look to find out?

6:42 PM  
Blogger Bernice said...

Why don't you attend the March 1 agenda-fixing session and ask your elected representatives directly? It will be 7:30 .p.m. in City Hall Library

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 6:42PM: Oh, please. Bernice provides you more information on the dealings of your government (assuming you live in Plainfield) than you have any right to ask of anyone who isn't being paid specifically for his/her work.

The Hellwig matter is another thing entirely, so let's not confuse the issues. The reason so few people who stand by their reputations have commented on this via blog (or in a newspaper) is because the charges have yet to be acknowledged by a reputable source (like the police) or confirmed through independent investigation. Anyone who starts howling about a cover-up or a conspiracy here clearly doesn't understand how quality media outlets (including serious blogs) operate. They don't blunder ahead without having the facts lined up. You don't publish allegations that could ruin someone's life without being sure you know the full story.

3:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Define Quality Blog, so I can pull up old archived posts to discern your point

8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One that doesn't consist wholly of opinion and rumor, and which doesn't delight in salacious material. One that contains news and fact, or which offers something educational and useful. One that doesn't exist exclusively to criticize without also presenting new ideas. (And no, that wasn't a knock on Dan. He's better than that.) I suspect you already knew what I meant, so consider this my last comment on the matter. I love a good Internet throw-down, but I'm not in the mood for a juvenile argument just now, despite your obvious rapier wit.

10:14 AM  

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