The police have one of the most political jobs in this country. The voters elect politicians to the State legislature who pass or amend laws, judges who are voted into office by the voters or appointed by the elected politicians interpret those laws, and local politicians such as mayors set policy.
See, what did I tell you? It’s lousy with politics.
But the individual cop is powerless to promote his views past the voting booth. In most jurisdictions, police officers are barred from endorsing one candidate or political party over another. Even if they’re off duty they’d better not be caught doing something as innocent as passing out fliers or collecting signatures door-to-door. If they’re found out they’ll be fired, and if they don’t like the rules they can quit. Either way I hear McDonald’s is hiring.
There’s a very good reason why this is the way it is. Police officers have way too much influence in the community. It would simply be unfair for them to directly meddle in the decision making process, even if there’s PAC’s like the FOP to sidestep the rules. It wouldn’t be fair to the people they have sworn to serve, and it would sully the profession.
I’ve just read a blog post that makes a similar arguement, except the author is talking about news reporters as opposed to police officers.
Those who work in the news industry are supposed to be non-partisan, but it’s indescribably obvious that this is simply not the case. The attempts by the mainstream media to shape public opinion has grown increasingly tiresome in recent years, and the customers who buy their product have responded. Heck, one of the main reasons I started to blog was to get some news that hadn’t been filtered or spun. (I think the same is true for most of you.)
So what to do about this? How could the news outlets gain some credibility and respectability?
They should do what the police do. Start firing a few of the jerks who try to spin a story.
I’m sure that most reporters would consider this to be outrageous, unfair and draconian. After all, they like to say, there’s always going to be some bias in any news story. Reporters are human like everyone else, and their own way of looking at the world will always creep in.
To this I say that police officers are often called upon to uphold laws that they don’t personally agree with. They do it anyway. Imagine what would happen if we allowed the cops to operate with the same double standard that the news media has decided is reasonable for their profession.
(Hat tip to Glen for the heads up.)