Wednesday, June 03, 2015

It's too hard for U.S. media to keep track of people killed here by police, but The Guardian is managing to do it from the U.K.


A screenshot of the control panel of the Guardian interactive website that keeps track, as it says, of "People killed by police in the US" -- tallying, as of this afternoon, 470 nationwide year-to-date. Note that there's also a map view. (Click to enlarge.)

by Ken

"Can you imagine any entity in our so called free press doing something like this?" Johnny Morales asks in "The Guardian UK embarrasses All US Media but will we notice?," posting on Daily Kos as johnnyintexas. "This" is a comprehensive gathering of information about killings by the police in the U.S., viewable in list or map form and fully searchable by name, state, armed/unarmed, gender, age, race/ethnicity, and cause.

Johnny says he can't imagine it being done here, for the simplest imaginable reason: No one seems to have even tried to do it. Nothing, he says, has stood in the way of any U.S. media outlet doing it.
Yet until The Guardian did, we've been told that the Federal government doesn't keep track of this, local and state governments don't coordinate the data and as a result doing it was impossible for any American media to accomplish.

That they are doing so has been referenced in another diary as a source of data, but the focus of that diary was a specific set of data in a companion project covering police killings from 2012-2015.
To the extent that U.S. media have even given attention to the idea of such a project, it has been written off as "impossible to accomplish since there are no central reporting structures to ask." Apparently, though, the data was available for the asking, provided somebody bothered to do the asking. The fact that it took a British newspaper to do so, says Johnny -- and it managed the feat "without turning over heaven and earth" -- "really should embarrass our own media, all of it. Even our most Liberal entities never have seemed to gather themselves up to do the same thing."

Here, by the way, is the record to date for June (same link; again, click to enlarge):

"I think Kudos are in order for The Guardian," says Johnny.
They proved a point I believe to be truer than ever which is if you want honest reporting on what is happening in the USA, you need to read foreign news outlets. Who instead are report on events here like our media seems to relish reporting on events elsewhere (because things are so peachy keen in the USA).

Of course, I don't expect anyone in our media will be embarrassed.

Instead they will utterly ignore this, and hope by doing so so few Americans realize what's being done by a foreign media outlet to inform them, that it will fail to gain traction and be forgotten once they are done.

At the very least we should spread the word and encourage anyone who doesn't know about what The Guardian is doing to visit and learn the details that up to now our own media all of them said was beyond their abilities to obtain.
One other thing you'll be grateful for when you visit the Guardian website: no fund-raising appeal.

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