The video has now been seen around the world, sparking outrage and a rare first-degree murder charge against a Chicago police officer.
The tale of Laquan McDonald, the dead teenager, is one that operates on many important social, cultural and political levels. But it also provides a window onto a frequent staple of dreary daily journalism across the country: uncritical reporting on shootings and killings that can verge on lapdog journalism.
It’s thus important to know that quite apart from the editorial indignation now being expressed, key disclosures in the case did not come from mainstream media outlets. Yes, they reported on the original shooting, but in a mostly skimpy, pro forma way that proved a bulletin board for the initial claims of police. Read more