The Future of Criminal Justice Reform Depends on Good Journalism

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

We watched in San Francisco as DA Chesa Boudin was taken down primarily due to bad media coverage of outlier crime events.  We are watching the same thing happening in LA.

An LA Times article from two weeks ago noted, “There is often a disparity between fact and feeling when it comes to Gascón’s critics, however.”

The Times cited its own analysis from earlier this year , which it said “raised significant questions about the recall campaign’s attempts to blame Gascón’s policies for increases in crime.”

For example, “While homicides have surged during Gascón’s tenure, violence also has climbed significantly in jurisdictions overseen by prosecutors who oppose Gascón, such as in San Diego and Sacramento.”

The reality is that while San Francisco experienced an uptick in crime, crime is going up everywhere – on the watch of traditional tough on crime prosecutors.  Crime went up more in places like Alameda, Sacramento and Kern than in San Francisco.  But the media overplayed a few high profile incidents and cemented in the public’s mind the perception that criminal justice reform was to blame.

How do we combat bad journalism?  With good journalism.

At the Vanguard, we have a plan for doing exactly that – putting interns in the courts to monitor and report on cases, and hiring investigative journalists to dig out the facts from the fiction.


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