Patterico's Pontifications


Is the Washington Post Police Shooting Database About the Truth?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 3:52 pm

In the free missive that went out today, I summarize an interview that Wesley Lowery, one of the creators of the Washington Post police shootings database, did with the Fifth Column podcast in July 2020. In particular, I focus on his admission that he does not necessarily see the pursuit of truth as the primary role of a journalist.

Lowery and I have a very different view of the job of a journalist. I believe the job of the journalist is to find the truth and report it. Sure, there are always choices to be made about what stories to cover, what to emphasize, and so forth. But you have to have a North Star, and that guiding principle can’t be repeating potentially false narratives to the powerful to get their reaction. It has to be speaking the truth, whether that truth helps or harms people you believe to be powerless or powerful.

If a bunch of people think the system is racist, and there are good reasons to suspect it’s not, it is the job of a journalist to figure out that truth and report it.

But Wesley Lowery doesn’t even believe that to be his job.

Perhaps his preference for narrative over truth helps explain why the Post has not corrected the error in the database I told you about a few weeks ago.

I also tease a future newsletter in which I will explore what it really means to say black men are “disproportionately” the victims of police shootings.

Read it here. Subscribe here.

10 Responses to “Is the Washington Post Police Shooting Database About the Truth?”

  1. There is a reason to spell it “journolist”.

    The Dana in Kentucky (e9cac9)

  2. How dare you settle Lowery’s hash.

    norcal (01e272)

  3. Their “truth” is that the police are trigger-happy goons who kill black people more often than they kill white people because they feel that they can get away with it, and that while some of the evidence for the proposition is strong and some is weak, they feel that the totality supports it.

    nk (1d9030)

  4. Patterico:

    gun violence…has a differential impact on a group that commits a disproportionate number of gun crimes….

    Does it really make sense to analyze whether the shootings are disproportionate to the percentage of the U.S. population? Doesn’t it make more sense to analyze whether the shootings are proportionate to the percentage of deadly attacks perpetrated on police by a given population?

    The problem is their belief that the allegation that blacks, as a group, are more evil than whites is racist and wrong.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  5. Nothing is about the truth anymore. While they have everyone watching the GOP lie, the press and the Democrats are also lying and everything else. They think it’s quaint that some Republicans still care about this “truth” thing.

    I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party holds to be the truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party.

    It’s just that no one is pretending anymore. Except a few.

    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  6. Washington Dog Trainer!

    norcal (01e272)

  7. Short answer…no

    At this point, who honestly believes the press cares about the truth?

    Hoi Polloi (15cfac)

  8. As Pilate said to Jesus: What is truth?

    JVW (30a532)

  9. Another part of his Lowery’s words merited bolding:

    It’s my job to go to the powerful people and go, so, prove to me how this isn’t true.

    That’s not how journalism works, or is supposed to work. That mentality is no different from the Trump cultists who claim that the election was “stolen” and, when challenged on it, rationalize with “it’s obvious, prove it wasn’t stolen.” It’s Grade A burden-shifting and should be unacceptable to anyone.

    Paul Montagu (26e0d1)

  10. It’s Grade A burden-shifting and should be unacceptable to anyone.
    Paul Montagu (26e0d1) — 5/13/2021 @ 8:55 am

    You beat your wife. Prove to me you don’t.
    You are guilty. Prove to me you are not.

    I swear, journalists are some of the dumbest people to graduate college. And yet, they have a huge stage and big megaphone.

    Hoi Polloi (15cfac)

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