Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

News Coverage: Red Lake v. Columbine

When similar-appearing incidents of school violence occur, people sometimes compare the news coverage of each incident. The comparisons can become microscopic. Why didn't President Bush call Red Lake as quickly as President Clinton called Columbine? Is there a racial-ethnic component in the perceived differences in news coverage? Is geographic proximity to major news media outlets a significant factor?

On March 26, 2005, Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Eric Black penned an article headlined Measuring the media coverage against Columbine. His paper's article tries to explain some of the inevitable comparisons.

One of the more enticing pieces of information in the Star Tribune's article was the statement, "Among Minnesota reporters, Red Lake is not known for welcoming media coverage... Two photographers this week were arrested and handcuffed by tribal police for taking pictures in a place that authorities had ruled off-limits." We'll see if the photographers' employers and attorneys raise any free press issues. Were the photographers inside a clearly marked crime scene when they took the pictures? If so, hook 'em and book 'em. But if they weren't, if they were in an area of the reservation that was usually accessible to the general public, the case against them is much shakier. The issue may prove to be if the tribe has the authority to declare the entire reservation off-limits to only journalists while allowing others access.


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