By LISA WOLFORD
I am a frequent InDepthNH reader and have appreciated the tenacity with which it reports on important state issues. In an environment of local media predominated by tepid journalistic efforts, I thought InDepthNH might be something different.
It isn’t. Damien Fisher’s August 7, 2020 article “Police Reform Commissioner Discloses Past Convictions” is a petulant bit of writing that blends Fisher’s obvious huffiness with purported fact, the result being a disconcerting and ultimately untrustworthy blend of op-ed and news.
For example, in the article, Fisher quotes a relatively lengthy statement from ACLU-NH Executive Director Devon Chaffee. He says that Chaffee’s statement “impl[ies] that reporting on [the commissioner’s] past is part of the institutional racism that needs to be overcome.” I have reread Chafee’s statement several times, and I do not find that implication. That’s beside the point, though, because I’m not interested in Fisher’s opinions about what the facts suggest: I read the news to learn the facts and come to my own conclusions about them. I have my own filter; I don’t need Fisher’s.
This “implication” and Fisher’s references in the article to his behind-the-scenes interactions with ACLU, Joseph Lascaze, and his “supporters” suggest to me—these are my inferences—that Fisher was upset that ACLU and Lascaze didn’t answer the questions he wanted them to. I have no doubt that getting the story is often tough, but I am not interested in reading about the reporter’s bruised ego as he goes through the process. When a reporter’s sense of self-importance overwhelms reporting on the facts, the result is not journalism.
I am unlikely to commit financial support to a media outlet that demonstrates this lack of commitment to journalistic integrity.
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