TC Palm by Gil Smart
January 6, 2020
Thursday night, I got a text from my son: Big accident near the Walmart on U.S. 1 in Stuart, lights, sirens … and what looked like a body covered by a blue tarp.
The next morning, I checked TCPalm.com: nothing. Same with the local TV stations; no stories about the crash.
So our police reporters called Stuart Police. Oh yeah, came the response, there was a crash. A fatal, involving a motorcycle.
We got the story. But had my son not seen the crash — would we know about it, even now?
Sure, police are busy; sometimes putting out a press release doesn’t top the agenda.
Problem is, this incident appears part of a broader, troubling trend.
Information about about crashes, shootings, stabbings and more was once routinely released to the media, which then disseminated it to the public.
That serves a valuable purpose. If there was a murder or carjacking in your neighborhood, wouldn’t you want to know about it as soon as possible?
But law enforcement has increasingly stanched the flow of information. News is harder to get; reporters call and are told nothing newsworthy has occurred even when significant incidents have taken place.
Then, when they make pointed inquiries, they’re sometimes told they’re being rude for merely doing their jobs.