Wednesday, March 14, 2007

News Happenings II

Channel 4 stepped in it this time. On tonight's broadcast at 10 they "took action 4 you," or for some UTPA student more precisely.

Basically, the student complained that his dorm was searched by the police, while he was away, of course. Knowing that, can't one say he has no way of knowing if it really was the police, or whether it really happened at all for that matter. But that doesn't stop a news outlet from picking up the loose ball and running with it. . .the wrong way.

Where's the weenie? The student says it was Hidlago County Sheriff's deputies who went into his room. Again, second hand information he got from a dorm supervisor. Sheriff Lupe Trevino says it wasn't his guys. Hell, there's a conflict right there. Someone's either lying or is misinformed.

The student said he called up there and spoke to an officer, conveniently unnamed, who told him some line about not needing a warrant because he lives on school property. That's B.S. You are entitled to all the rights against unlawful search and seizure in your dorm just as you are in an apartment, hotel room, or your house.

The reporter then three eighths assed the explanation about whether or not officers need a search warrant. Apparently the UTPA dorm handbook trumps the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, because that's the document Channel 4 opted to cite to explain when a dorm can be searched. In the end, the viewer still did not learn when an officer needs a search warrant.

Next we hear that "the University" is aware of the student's case. What case? Is it a criminal investigation? Who at the U is involved in the case? Is it the administration or is it the campus police? Whose officers went in?

I'm sure that if the journalists wanted to get to the bottom of this, they'd file an open records request with the Sheriff's Department and the University. I'm not a professional journalist, but at least I know that would be the thing to do. Here's a novel idea. Interview the dorm supervisor! He's a potential witness to the search and might be able to shed some light on how it went down. Psssst! Don't say it too loudly, but could he have been the one to let the cops in?

Once again, this story was more about, "look what we did," rather than investigating and reporting news. Of course Channel 4 assisted the student, who apparently was not aware of his rights. They hooked him up with attorney Jesse Gonzalez, who, oddly enough, happens to advertise on their website. Is it just me, or is there something strange about that?

The alleged reporter on the story was Romeo Cantu.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What? Channel 4 pimping one of their web site sponsors in their "news stories"? Horrors! Are you saying the establishment press is as full of s--- as they say the internet blog sites are?

Hey, Channel 4 is just as slimey in their ethics, or lack thereof, as the rest of the local news media, but I got to give you credit, Edinburg Rocks, because you sure nailed them with the web site sponsor plug.

I saw the story on the UTPA student whose pad was searched by the heat, and I thought it was a pretty interesting, although poorly reported, piece. I mean, Channel 4 does much better at kicking A when it is harpooning dirty restaurants than when they were reporting on this alleged illegal search. But when you mentioned the attorney brought in to save the day is actually an advertiser with Channel 4, well, Jeeze, Louise, ain't that a slippery slope!

You did a much better job of investigative reporting than Channel 4 did. Ole Jesse should advertise on this site if he wants to be associated with real journalism and integrity!

Good work!

10:02 PM  

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