Read the following story:

City councilman killed after finding pot field

Note that nowhere in the story is the shooting placed at the scene of the “illegal marijuana operation.”  Also, note that the suspect is identified as a “transient.”  Had the ‘transient’ recently settled down and purchased a plot of land, upon which he began to grow pot?  Was the suspect growing pot on someone else’s land?  Was the shooting in defense of the marijuana operation?  Did the shooting have any connection to the pot?

We are told in the story how valuable the victim was, and how he will be missed.  What we are not told is why he was killed.  What the victim was doing when he was killed– investigating a possible illegal operation– is relevant.  However, given that the report contains no direct connection between the victim’s intent and his murder, why put that front and center, in the headline and the lede?  Based on the details given, we don’t know if the suspect is the killer, nor do we know if the killing was related to the victim’s intent.  (There are certainly enough details given about the suspect’s past to suggest other possible motives for the shooting.)

This is either a case of shoddy journalism, or it is a case of putting out a story with political agenda.  It certainly looks like both.

I highly recommend that everyone get their e-tails over to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.  They do a splendid job of ferreting out just this sort of thing.  Unfortunately, this sort of thing is the rule rather than the exception, so their challenge is more handling the sheer volume than searching out transgressions.

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