By Nikki Trautman Baszynski The Appeal
Larry Krasner’s clear win in the Philadelphia District Attorney primary election should have been a wake-up call to journalists who spent weeks breathlessly painting the race as a referendum on progressive prosecutors and their decarceral policies. Instead, they doubled down, redirecting their fearmongering to other cities. This reckless reporting needs to stop.
Journalists must stop recklessly reporting on progressive prosecutors and decarceral policies:
- Stop speculating that progressive prosecutors and decarceral policies are to blame for rising crime. In “Can a Progressive Prosecutor Survive a 40% Spike in Homicides?”, The New York Times connected Krasner’s electability to the 2020 spike in homicides, despite acknowledging in the same piece that “[c]riminologists said it would be impossible to substantiate the claim that Mr. Krasner’s policies had led to more gun crime.” They were by no means alone.
- Stop mindlessly transcribing the rants of police unions and prosecutor associations hoping to scare voters back into supporting the failed policies that created mass incarceration and bloated police budgets. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd gave perhaps the starkest example of this practice when she basically turned her column over to former police commissioner Bill Bratton to spew baseless allegations and promote his new book. In Dowd’s “Ex-Commish With the Dish,” readers were treated—without challenge—to his continued support for heavily criticized policies of the past, including stop-and-frisk, broken-windows policing, and the 1994 crime bill.