April, no legislators were present as names of fallen were carved on the Memorial curved concrete walls. Legislators cant fundraise when cameras are not around or long after the dead lay cold in the ground.
So read, and if the expressions of empathy are sincere, COME APRIL, I know where I will see you. If its about fundraising, then I know where you wont be.... ]
Come April, a national event will hold its annual markation in DC. It is as seasonal as the Cherry Blossom Festival, Memorial Day Parade and Safeway’s Barbecue Bake off. Few visitors will be present. Media will be almost non-existent. That is, sadly, just the way it seems to go when it comes to the etching names of fallen LEO’s into the bended concrete arms cradling National Law Enforcement’s Memorial at Judiciary Square. LEO stands for Law Enforcement Officer, typically the first called in time of distress. That is why they are called First Responders. Too often, they are the last to be remembered, as was outside Louisiana’s astrodome when “cavalry is coming” cheers for the military went round. Their loved ones mourn them a lifetime along with regulars on their beat who knew them as men and women with families, too.News reporting on New Orleans is a reminder of the frequent insult heaped by media on officers committed to community and town. For some odd reason, that is the way media is today, searching for a story they will flame a falsehood or semi-truth into a statement that lives forever on the internet long after its blogger, newsman or anonymous poster has disappeared. Once said, the words are damaging, never to be taken back, usually first to be found when the next reporter rushing to file a piece, picks the statement off a googled internet page accepting the words as gospel when they may be artistic license or, as in the case of Jonathan Glass, myth.CNN, during its 25th anniversary celebration, a short while ago, promoted itself as being the place people turn to when they want “the news.” One idiosyncratic politican declared CNN her place for news, above all else. That is scary. You see, CNN is not just a local news desk, or a national bureau. With the network broadcasting worldwide, CNN International’s defamation of the image of Louisiana’s and Mississippi’s sworn who died in the line of Katrina duty is worldwide.
CNN, a pioneer in round-the-clock-news, reported patriotically one week into Katrina’s devastation on the 10,000’s of thousand military arriving to provide aid to casualties. That was after, CNN reported and repeated stories on officers abandoning posts in areas Hurricane Katrina hit. CNN’s newsmen failed to report officers, while providing safety for strangers, abandoned their families during this time of distress, working until dog tired, not knowing whether their loved ones survived or became causalties in a death count possibly surpassing worse than 911. CNN’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina has yet to report DC, NYPD are two of the many regions sending supplies and a variety of trained volunteers down to help restore order. There has been virtually no media mention on the coordinated efforts by National Fraternal Order of Police, individual lodges and officers.
Positive stories CNN could have broadcast, globally, can be found, easily, quickly, if one is responsible and cares to take their time researching then vetting information. These days, photos and story files are FTP’d within seconds with vetting rarely taking place. Journalists blame deadlines. Editors. More correctly blame ego, on-screen camera dramatics and a push for annual news banquet awards bolstering viewership. Once the media insult to character happens, its stain is always there. Recall the guiltless housing officer in NY’s Twana Brawley’s fraudulent claim of rape.
CNN might have identified officers families crying for their loved ones. Or shown LEO’s drowned on the job. Or the officer shot in the head. No, CNN and newswire’s story was they left their jobs. Less than 20% had, more did when sworn brethren’s out-of-state relief came to their aid, a camaraderie Anderson Cooper may not understand. He is highly paid for “don’t-do-this”
on-camera antics while CNN camera men have been crudely pink slipped from their much needed jobs. Media’s call for ”Citizen Journalists” who witnessed news reporters battling high winds to “illustrate” storm dangers, may have contributed to people staying the storm hoping their video or picture may be the one mentioned during hurricane coverage.
There should have been great stories of officer heroism coming out of New Orleans. The cheers served upon the military should have been profferred to those on duty, followed by moments of silence for the fallen. Officers drowned. Officers were murdered.
Good stories are there if one looks within officer forums, on websites of sworn police departments and sworn bloggers. Officers are being innovative in getting out the real ground story Anderson and CNN don’t tell. Days before the New York Times Sunday Edition reported on allegations of officers abandoning posts, turning in badges and two reported cases of suicide in a piece that focused on officer behaviour rather than emphasizing the less than human conditions the LEO’s were struggling under alongside their civilians, Canada’s DART team, in “N’Oleans” since August 31st, reported, to call in stories, http://vancouver.ca/usar/ , they are feeding off energy from an MCI truck, while it lasts.
Headquarters transcribes and posts records of events provided by their men deep in America’s mess, “N’Oleans” mayor failed to mitigate. The second week in May, after names of the dead are carved into law enforcement’s memorial wall, their survivors are gathered in DC to be held close by brethren. And yes, it is predictable, mainstream media most likely wont be there in 2006 as they weren’t in 2005. Saturday, media were outnumbering attendees at a Muslims Against Terrorism march, a few blocks away. Truth be told, no one really wants a good time charley or Anderson seeking an industry award, to be there. The people that count are there from around the word, true blue friends, throughout good times and hurricanes.
What failed New Orleans was not the officers as being implied in newspaper reports. Politicians and federal representatives were aware of the potential devastation from a level 4 or 5 hurricane. New Orleans buses are submerged in their parking lot. A NY contractor recalls specifics of a documentary he watched one year ago detailing the destruction that occurred. His company began talks adressing expansion to Louisiana anticipating the financial coup they would make on clean up and rebuild. What failed Mississippi and Louisiana are those same political, diplomatic and private individuals not thanking the sworn for serving their cities at time of need overlooking the only difference between one disaster to the next is the zipcode.
The Boston Globe reported words of one officer, ''I'm going to stay here till everything's done. I love this city," describing the officer momentarily looking at the ground then saying, ''I made a commitment to my district, and I made a commitment to these people out here and to my fellow officers. That's why I'm here." Rescued Yolanda Camese says it best, not that she can erase media’s blemish on the memory of the fallen with, ''You made us feel safer. I watched you every night." ''Y'all did a wonderful job.” Yes, LEO’s you do- daily, nightly, everywhere you work. God Bless you all, now, and come April, for eternity.
BIO: Carrie Devorah is an investigative editorial photojournalist based in Washington DC. Devorah has covered enforcement events since moving to DC late 2003. Devorah is a CCIA and profiler, “with a heart of blue, not gold” she says.
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