Training the Media | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Training the Media 

Police Pout, Famous for Stupidity

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Training the Media
Hoo-boy, just Google it: "Mormon." That's what Jana Riess, religion news writer and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints suggests. Egad. Doesn't Wikipedia care that The COJCOLDS rejects the "Mormon" nickname? What about Google itself? Shouldn't everybody everywhere be erasing this offensive honorific from the annals of history? After all, that's what the hierarchy of said church expects. Well, it's just not that easy. "Mormons' spiritual development as disciples of Christ has nothing to do with how journalists do their jobs," Riess says. And what about the Catholics? Their official name is the Holy Roman Catholic Church. How often do you see that in print? But a study conducted by Public Square, which the Deseret News says is an online publication by church members, is sending shock waves—somewhere. "The main takeaway here is that those who don't follow the church's preferred style guide are much more likely to write negatively about the church in their story," said managing editor Christopher Cunningham. Really? The media must be the "enemy of the people." Or they're just trying to be clear.

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Police Pout
After KUTV 2 News reported that "dozens" of Salt Lake police officers want to leave, citizens began to panic. "We have already ceded the streets to criminals and now our police force has lost confidence in the mayor and the chief of police," said one poster on the Nextdoor website. Can we call this an overreaction as the city and the nation grapple with police misdeeds and the possibility of reform? The Legislature is already looking at enhanced penalties for property damage during riots, and the president is praising a young gunman who took the law into his own hands, killing two. Law and order require a respect from all levels of government, and that includes the police, the public and yes, the president. Certainly, violence in whatever form should be punished, but the punishment should fit the crime, not the hype.

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Famous for Stupidity
As the Deseret News so indelicately pointed out, Utah made the news four times in the past week—"for all the wrong reasons." Yes, this is about COVID-19 and the absurdist anti-mask movement that has made any reasonable government action nearly impossible. It wasn't enough that Jimmy Kimmel introduced "the world's dumbest person" who happened to be from a southern Utah anti-mask rally. A teacher has been hospitalized, schools shut down, the governor extends the state of emergency and Utah County Commissioner Tanner Ainge halted a meeting on masks because of a lack of them. Oh, and there was news of the failure of Test Utah and the Healthy Together app. So, what's the good news? The fainthearted governor is "considering" a mask mandate.

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

Bio:
A City Weekly contributor since 1992, Biele is the informed voice behind our Hits & Misses and Citizen Revolt columns. When not writing, you can catch her working to empower voters and defend democracy alongside the League of Women Voters.

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