So the Billings Gazette posted this article late in the day on 6/29. They even highlighted it on their top banner as breaking news. I’m normally a supporter of the Gazette, but this article frustrated me to no end. Barry Beach has not been charged with a crime. He has not been proven guilty, no crime has been confirmed, but that’s not what you would think based on what they have posted and printed. I am not a Barry Beach supporter, but I firmly believe that the job of newspaper is to report the facts. Leave the impressions and decision making to the public. Don’t sensationalize, don’t influence. Just do your job and do it right the first time.
I sent a letter to the editor that basically states what I have printed above. I couldn’t find a contact button that allows me to discuss the issue without sending it via letter to the editor so that was the option I was left with. I doubt they’ll print it, but I hope other people in the Billings area will take notice and say something. This isn’t about Barry Beach, it’s about the news portraying somebody in a certain light before the facts and evidence are in. That isn’t their job, ever. Do the right thing, report the facts.
*** Updated *** Less than thirty minutes after I wrote my letter and posted this, the Billings Gazette actually called me to let me know that they received my letter and that it would be forwarded to the managing editor. I don’t know if anything will happen beyond that, but I will give credit where credit is due, I did not believe the Gazette would even acknowledge what I had written, much less contact me. Still, if anyone else feels the same way I do, or even differently!, please take the time to write the Gazette. If we don’t start holding our media to a higher standard, how we can we expect them to change?