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Wednesday, April 30, 2008 | Once again we see an article in the Union-Tribune that needlessly highlights the fact that a military person is involved in a crime. (Page 2, Our Region ‘Public Safety’ section titled “Navy enlistee arrested in stepdaughter’s death”). The fact that he is in the Navy has nothing to do with his offense. What is the point of including that information? It isn’t pertinent.
Why am I irritated by this? Because by pointing out the man’s occupation it contributes to a mindset that military people as a group are prone to violence or unacceptable behavior. Not one other crime reported on that page identifies the perpetrator’s profession. This a pattern of reporting that keeps recurring in the U-T newspaper.
I’ve contacted the U-T on this issue before, about an 80-year-old man who had served in the Marine Corps in his youth, and was labeled an ‘ex-Marine’ in the article describing his arrest for rape (at his trial he was found to have been falsely accused and not guilty). At that time I was informed by the readers’ representative that the police don’t make note of non-military perpetrators’ professions so the U-T was unable to identify them by their profession. So? Does that mean the Union-Tribune is obliged to report military affiliation even if it’s not pertinent?
Much as they might deny it, I believe the U-T‘s editors have an agenda. And I’m not alone in thinking it’s high time to change it. It currently smacks of elitism, or worse.