I want to take a moment to respond to all the criticism
regarding Darryl Mount and our coverage of this story.
My job as a journalist is to report the various sides of a
story, regardless if I agree with them or not, just like it is the job of law
enforcement to investigate a serious accident, even if the person injured was a
21-year-old with a criminal past.
It’s my job to ask questions and to report back to you on
what I’ve learned. Sometimes the facts are indisputable. But many of the things
people tell me are their opinions, and it’s your job as readers to sort them
out and make up your own minds.
Up until the most recent article, our coverage of the
police pursuit that ended with a young man in a coma was lacking, because it
was based solely on what we were told by the police department.
The first time we report anything that is not from the
police is the fourth article, when reporter Lucian McCarty speaks with Darryl’s
family. This story garners very little information but reveals that the family
believes there is more to the story and that they are pushing for an
Here are the stories:
Sept. 1 – The follow-up story comes out and there is no mention yet of scaffolding, again it
is based on the information police have released to the media.
As far as I was concerned there was more to the story, a
side that the mainstream media hadn’t reported. So when Darryl’s aunt agreed to
sit down with me for an hour-long, on-the-record conversation, I paid her the
same courtesy that I pay everyone else. No more and no less. I listened and I
asked questions, followed up with the attorney and wrote a story.
It was an unpopular story with commenters, but I’ve never
been much for popularity contests. The negative comments escalated so quickly
about Darryl and his family that we just turned them off.
Anyone can leave a putrid comment in the ease of their
anonymity; can say that Darryl got what he deserved, that his family are gold
diggers. But remember that a culture is not judged by how well we treat the
privileged; it’s judged on how we treat the poor, the impoverished, the
outsiders. It’s easy to treat a celebrity or millionaire with respect and
equity, but how are you going to treat the underdog?
I understand it’s difficult to sympathize with a guy on
parole, but I refuse to accept that a criminal past excuses, justifies or
condones abuse of any kind. Our job is to keep digging and to find the truth,
beyond the official voices.
A civil society has standards of conduct and when they
break down we are all at risk.
The press is one vehicle to monitor, investigate and report
abuse or suspicion of abuse. I refuse to partake in packaged journalism or cite
the same three groups over and over. I’ll find out for myself and if that makes
me an outsider, then I’m probably doing my job right.
have this sort of heuristic view that journalism, we possibly offer hope
because the world is clearly run by total nincompoops more than ever. … Not
that journalism is always wonderful, it's not, but at least we offer some way
out, some integrity.” — Seymour Hersh, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative
reporter, in The Guardian