Thursday, August 20, 2009

Crime Stoppers complaint

Pat is FINALLY back from vacation! He told viewers this morning that he's happy to be back. I don't believe him for a second - who is ever psyched to come back from vacation? - but it's nice to have him back in the newsroom.

In other news, the heat must be making me grouchy, because for the second day in a row I am blogging about a serious complaint instead of my usual "What is Kristin wearing?" and "What's up with Whipple's eyebrows?" nonsense.

My complaint today is about a rather sensitive issue. Amanda Farinacci, who usually covers Staten Island, filed a report about a mugger who is at large in a neighborhood in Queens. My problem isn't with Amanda's report, but rather something they've been doing for awhile now at NY1 that really bothers me.

When they do that thing where they give a physical description of the suspect and then tell viewers to call Crime Stoppers if they see the person, they leave out the suspect's race. In fact, they give every other detail BUT race. Height, build, hair color, etc. But they don't tell you whether the guy is black, Latino, Middle Eastern, white with a deep tan, Italian, etc. And frequently they use those artist's sketches to represent the criminals, which does't really show you at all what race the person might be. (Today's report featured video footage, so it's a moot point in this particular case, but frequently they don't have that.)

At the HUGE risk of sounding like Andy Rooney, that's just preposterous. Look, racial profiling is real, it exists, it happens every single day, and it sucks. I can't even imagine how frustrating it must be to be stopped and frisked, when you're a hard working and law-abiding citizen, when you're just trying to go on about your daily business. So I understand why some ethnic groups might be sensitive to the issue; I really do.

But if there's a serial rapist in the neighborhood, I want to have at least a vaguely accurate picture of what he might look like. Doesn't that just seem like basic common sense?

Opine away in the comments, gentle readers...

1 comment:

  1. I agree one hundred percent. That is what the majority of my yelling at the TV is about these days. Thanks for also noticing this.