Tuber of the Week #26: Irresponsible

I do not think that this crime news article could possibly be any more erroneous:


(JAN 17, 2009) We all know it's dangerous to be the only one in a section cheering for the away team. But did you know you could be arrested for it?

San Diego police officers arrested a New York Jets fan during this Sunday's playoff game at San Diego's stadium.

As you can see in the video..., the fan (and his lady friend) was clearly posing no threat to his nearby seatmates when the police began to go after him...
The video that author Lisa Freedman is describing is here:

Despite Ms. Freedman's "analysis," here is what the video tells me:

1) A man seen cheering and wearing a NY Jets pullover shirt was arrested.

It does not show that he was arrested for "nothing." It certainly does not document the man's actions during the previous couple of hours at the game leading up to the confrontation with police.

2) It does not support or refute a claim that the defendant was a threat to other attendees.

Actually, in the video's YouTube description, the poster (who also backs the defendant) states that earlier in the game the man and a wheelchair-bound woman were involved in a verbal exchange in which (again in his words) the woman struck the arrestee in the face.

Obviously, there is more to this story than a cheering fan.

3) The footage shows only a snippet of the man's behavior and the article's author should have done more to clarify.

Could she have contacted the San Diego Police for a statement? Would it be useful to know the formal charges against the defendant and included that? What if she obtained and read the arrest report--would that have helped clarify the situation?

Since Ms. Freedman's did none of the above, it is clear that her article is simply meant to attract attention.

It was easy for her to offer uninformed commentary disguised as news--as opposed to researching and building an informative and interesting post. With the publication, Freedman chose to offer nothing useful to the reader.

Could the man in the video be innocent and simply the victim of police misconduct?

Absolutely, but writing an article that makes such an accusation and then offers this footage as proof of police indiscretion is irresponsible and likely, in my opinion, the product of someone who watches too much television.

Since Ms. Freedman's stories are being featured in the "AOL News" headlines (through's site), I would hope for some journalistic integrity to be included in her work.

Am I asking for too much?


Update: Thanks to the anonymous commenter who left a link to the San Diego PD's version of the incident.


Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,
No, I don't think you're asking too much. And wow, look what showed up! My soapbox!

1. The article was a stub. A good journalist would have checked with the police department to get the other side of the story. it's called fact-checking.

2. Video
The video has a break between the cheering and the conflict surrounding the arrest. We don't know how the man was first approached. We only know that at least six officers showed up to handle it. We also don't know if those six officers showed up all at once or if backup was called because

3. The arrestee resisted arrest. Much of the footage is the struggle to cuff him.

4. The officers were not out of control. At one point, one officer is massaging the back of the arrestee in an effort to calm him.

5. His female companion appears to be unsurprised at the police showing up. This suggests a bad act committed by arrestee earlier, or, a discussion before arrest long enough for her to be unsurprised and resigned.

It's just as likely, (although equally unsubstantiated), that he refused to go with police without cuffs when asked. But since they had to carry him out, that seems quite likely.

If people want to document abuse, they have to substantiate it with a complete record or with subsequent research.

Like you, I don't see how we could know for sure, because this is all heat and no light.

I love this kind of post, because it allows me to work on my video-reading skills--thank you--

Ann T.

angelcel said...

I agree, checking on a few facts might have made for a more genuinely informative report. However we all know that modern jounalistic phrase: never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

What was this chap doing in the 'wrong' section anyway? That just doesn't happen over here - maybe because we've had experience of punch-ups and even riots starting from a few ill chosen words between rival supporters. Could it be that the police in this instance were trying to avoid exactly that?

Janna Qualman said...

SD, I appreciate your attention to detail and background knowledge, because so many look at things like this as/is and let their assumptions fly.

The first thing I noticed was swift edit between his cheering and the police arrival. Who can know (from watching this) what happened during those missing moments? It's misleading.

I also had the thought that his arrest could have nothing to do with this game. (This is the writer in me thinking...) What if he was wanted for something else, and this was when and where they got him?

There are too many factors to consider, and that's something the general public should have very little to do with.

Bob G. said...

You nailed this one bang on...!
I'm in total agreement with the other commentors here.
It's just sensationalistic tripe for the unwashed masses...and is entertainment for entertainment's sake ONLY.
I'd much rather find out the WHOLE story...I'm one of those people that's not scared of something called TRUTH.

Good post.

jinksy said...

Never believe what you read in the papers, eh?

Javajune said...

So much of what we think we know comes from what the media allows us to know. The truth is so often buried on page 29 of the news or left out all together.
It's so hard to know if what is being represented is the whole truth. There is quite often a flip side to every story.Integrety in reporting is difficult to find.

Anonymous said...

Bloggers with journalistic integrity? What a novel concept!

The rest of this story?
from New York:

and from the San Diego PD:

Anonymous said...

Bloggers with journalistic integrity? What a novel concept!

The rest of this story?
from New York:

and from the San Diego PD:

Anonymous said...

Oh hell, just Google it!! LOLOL

LadyFi said...

Journalism just isn't what it used to be.. or maybe the readers are becoming less discerning...

 ALH said...

Again, great journalistic investigation into what the reader really needs to know!

Thanks for your comment! I was hoping that you would be rooting for both. Who couldn't use a friend right? We sometimes forget that dating relationships don't always last forever, but friendship potentially could.

Slamdunk said...

I appreciate your comments.

Nice catch on the video's skip Ann T. and Janna.

James (SeattleDad) said...

Sounds like real quality journalism. I guess we should stick with blogs to get our news.

Iva said...

wow thank you so much for your knowledge, insight and deep love for helping!!

Big Show said...

it looked as if a number of the police officers were wearing those new audio and video recorders around their heads. The real truth will come out soon enough....