Local Media’s Handling of Kettle Black Scandal Highlights Greater Concerns
The strength of the American press has always been in its ability to inform the citizenry of newsworthy information while simultaneously impacting public discourse.
But occasionally we have reason to question whether this strength does in fact exist or has atrophied beyond recognition.
We see that with the Kettle Black scandal that arose last year and that the media has all but ignored in the recent months.
Various readers keep asking us for updates and expressing concerns regarding the story, which first made headlines last April.
But there is only so much those in the blogosphere can do with the resources we have.
It led the writers of this blog to ask why the media has been so silent on a major local event involving the family and relatives of a well-known state Senator like Marty Golden?
Should a cloud of conspiracy and mystery hang over this story or should the media perform a public service and get to the bottom of these events that have affected the lives of potentially innocent young men?
After all, what’s at stake here is not just one politician or one incident of bar fighting.
The media in Brooklyn and the city at large have a responsibility to report the news and not leave stories to be deciphered by the imperfect rumor mill the Internet and other sources can sometimes engender. Not merely to pick up a story and drop it like a piece of rubbish.
Indeed, the media of our city have a proud history of promoting local change and providing excellent coverage of events. One notable example: without The New York Times, Boss Tweed and his Tammany Hall ring of crookery would never have been brought to justice.
It is because of events such as these that people first looked up to and respected reporters and writers. And with figures such as Vito Lopez and Pedro Espada today, the emphasis on exposing corruption must be even higher, as our state is permeated with what sometimes amounts to criminality in government.
But the Kettle Black is merely one small, local incident (with potentially large political intrigue–Charles Hynes, Martin Golden, etc–or none at all) that highlights why readers are sometimes frustrated with the way the press operates and delivers the news.
In order for government to change and problems to be solved, the media will need to emphasize the traditions that made them great: investigative reporting, muckraking and the fierce will to inform readers of the truth.
Reform movements have always depended on a strong media, and we hope the media in Brooklyn and New York City are prepared to continue exploring and reporting on the issues so essential to advancing positive political change.