KSTP-TV accused the Minneapolis Mayor of throwing up gang signs after she was photographed with a black constituent. Missouri School of Journalism professors Jim Fink, Jamie Grey and Amy Simons discuss the issue.
KTSP-TV's story doesn't waste time getting to the point.
The first line of its controversial story reads, "5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has obtained a photo of Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges posing with a convicted felon while flashing a known gang sign."
Since this story aired on November 6, several media outlets as well as Twitter users have heavily criticized the piece for reporting accusations without checking out the facts. And Professor Jim Flink said he agrees.
"This is a situation where this television station, it would appear, was manipulated by the police force or by the police union or by someone in order to tell their story to carry their water and there wasn't much work done to even really try to [verify it.]"
Flink said one of the biggest problems with KSTP-TV's story was that the picture was missing the appropriate context. As Minnesota Public Radio pointed out, Mayor Hodges has a history of making the gesture in several of her photos on twitter.
Professor Jamie Grey said when the story became political, the station should have reevaluated the validity of their sources.
"As a journalist, you have to watch out. You do not want to be a pawn in a political chess match in your city and it felt pretty obvious that that's what was going on."