Monday, November 12, 2007

Update: WAMC

Pulled from the comment to below post, thanks C for finding this, and thanks of course for writing a wonderful letter. Archive of this show is here:

You'll have to go in a little bit to get to the letter. I didn't realize at first that this would be a discussion of the questions posed by the letter. I thought it was great and hit on one of the major issues of this situation, and news in general.

Bringing in the additional full story makes it a harder story to write. With the absence of the issue of Scott's mental health, the story is just a funny piece. But once you add in that layer of complexity - and let me clarify here - we are not talking about someone who has a mental illness but was stable and on medication, we are talking about someone who was not stable and was in the middle of a breakdown and was hospitalized shortly after this incident - that layer makes it a totally different story - one that raises serious questions about our society - none of them easy questions to answer.

But, that's not easy for people to grasp. That makes the issue gray. And you can see from some of the comments here and elsewhere, some people can only grasp the superficial level of a story and latch on to that. This story aside, you can look at almost any mainstream news story and find that this is true - there is only black and white.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Media Project: Listen on Monday, November 12th at 3:00 p.m.

Thanks so much to everyone who has responded everywhere - and a special thanks up in Albany. The Media Project on WAMC aired a letter written by a friend up there. You can hear it again tomorrow at 3 p.m here:

It doesn't look like archives are up yet for tonight's show, hope they are soon.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

John Pirro and the News-Times fumble again

Yesterday, John Pirro, in his short and callous demeanor, finally called the family to hear the other side of the story.

And this morning the results, buried within another story related to the incident appears on the front page of the News-Times.

Examples of Pirro's poor reporting include his statement:
The Brookfield Snow's escapade briefly transformed him into something of a folk hero among some readers of the original story. They flooded the News-Times Web site with comments, many praising his audacity and noting that the approximate time of the incident, 4:20 a.m., corresponds to 420, which the online "Urban Dictionary" defines as shorthand for "the universal time to get high."
Of course, Mr. Pirro fails to mention the numerous other, thoughtful and well-written, words of support for Scott that lambast the News-Times for their terrible judgment. Of course, he wrote both articles, so that makes sense, doesn't it?

"If I were writing the article, I would purposely make it disjointed and awkward so it wouldn't bubble up. Then I would put it on the front page so no one could say they did not get equal coverage," one responder said.

Also, it should be noted that as of this time, the family is unsure of the exact time this incident took place according to the police report. Scott does not wear a watch and says he didn't know what time it was. The time at which his mother learned that Scott was arrested was 5:00 a.m. Who knows, 4:30, 4:45, those are all after 4:20, but they just don't pack that same zing, do they?

And if the prosecutors didn't already feel pressured to send Scott to jail because of the national coverage, hammering home this weak and flimsy point in the follow up story sure will help.

I have heard from many that they have already grown weary of the News-Times downhill reporting and many responses fall within the category of "not surprised".

Letters to the editor can be mailed to:

The News-Times
333 Main Street
Danbury, CT 06810

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

NPR - Morning Edition

Generally speaking, we respect and value the reporting of NPR. Many of us are members of our local public radio stations, which is why we think NPR would especially be interested in the other half of the story that was broadcast this morning on Morning Edition.

You can comment here:

Scott's Side

On November 6, 2007 The News-Times of Danbury, CT ran a story titled "Police: No smoking applies to pot, too." Mr. Pirro's story takes the jocular tone of a story from "News of the Weird", we all get a laugh out of it and marvel that somebody could be so stupid - it's all set up in his first sentence of the article - "Who said smoking pot can make you stupid?" It all sounds funny and absurd, except that Mr. Pirro failed to get the whole story.

It may interest Mr. Pirro and the editors at the News-Times to know that Scott has suffered from a major mental illness most of his life and was diagnosed at age 12. Unfortunately, at the time of the incident, Scott was in the middle of a breakdown and was in fact hospitalized one day later when his breakdown came to its peak.

Not only does the irresponsible printing of this piece have specific ramifications for Scott and his family, but it is a major blow to anyone who suffers from, or cares for someone who suffers from, mental illness.

Scott's story highlights the lack of compassion and understanding for those with a mental illness, the poor state of health care in this country, and ineffectual, costly and detrimental mandatory minimum sentencing, as he faces a two-year jail term and will be unable to present his case to a judge.

It is fortunate that Mr. Pirro, Capt. Myles, and anyone else who has had a laugh at Scott's expense will never understand the pain that mental illness brings - not only to those who suffer with it - but also to the family and friends who care for them as well. They cannot understand until they find themselves with a loved one like Scott.

As of this writing, friends and family have contacted Mr. Pirro numerous times and are still waiting to hear from him so that the other side of the story can be given equal time and coverage. Sadly, this story is no longer contained within the realm of local Danbury news, as it has unfortunately found its way to the Associated Press and is now available globally. It has been broadcast on radio and television. By posting and circulating this message, it is hoped that the insensitivity of this story can be mitigated.

Update: You can view and post comments on the story at the News-Times web stite at: