One of the questions that I get quite frequently from people who read this blog is "why doesn't the media ever report the bad stuff about Pat Lykos?"
During her five and a half months in power, Lykos has had the luxury of being treated like someone who can do "no wrong" by the Houston media, most specifically the Houston Chronicle. It would be extremely difficult for anyone to argue that Patsy is anything other than our local paper's, um, Golden Girl.
The Chronicle has continued in the tradition that Alan Bernstein started during the campaign of either ignoring, or giving exceptionally light treatment to Lykos screw ups. Ask yourself how you think Jeff Cohen's paper would have reacted if Chuck Rosenthal, or even Johnny Holmes had done the following:
-announced a policy of keeping "whale cases" and forcing them to go to trial;
-announced that no probation would be given to non-citizens of the United States;
-has a beyond shameful record of Adminstrative Racism;
-publicly humiliated two excellent prosecutors without checking her facts;
-snubbed two of her other outstanding prosecutors when they were presented with a National Award;
-paid money out of the budget for a motivational speaker to come tell the ADAs that their job was to make their boss "look good" (during the middle of docket hours, no less); OR
-singles out an African-American prosecutor with a sterling reputation and punishes her for supporting a political opponent;
Is there any one of you who can honestly say with a straight face that the Chronicle writers wouldn't be screaming at the top of their lungs?
So, what's the deal here?
Some folks have suggested that since the Chron endorsed Patsy that they have to stand by her now to save face. Maybe, but I don't really think that's it. That would tend to imply that they had some sort of institutional integrity.
My personal belief is that Lykos created an unholy alliance with them awhile back. She backs their agenda and she comes out smelling like a rose with them.
No matter what.
Before you start calling me Oliver Stone, consider this: I have it on very good authority that Lykos sent representatives from the D.A.'s Office to the Chronicle prior to this past legislative session. Their job was to see what Jeff Cohen's crew wanted the Office to back in the way of legislative bills. So, rather than basing her opinions on what was best for the community she was elected to represent, she's going to see what the media thought would be best.
The clearest example of this? The Free Flow of Information Act (AKA the Press Shield Law) This has been a bill that has been uniformly opposed by District Attorneys across the State for years now for reasons that should be apparent. It protects a journalist from having to reveal their sources if they are called upon to do so by the Court. Two exceptions to that protection are if the reporter actually witnesses a crime, or if a source admits to committing a felony to the reporter.
Those are two fantastic exceptions. But let me give you two hypothetical situations that aren't exceptions, and exemplify things that a reporter could keep hidden from law enforcement if they decided to:
Scenario # 1 - let's say there are a series of unsolved crimes in a location like, say, Acres Homes, that lead HPD to believe there may be a serial killer in the community. A witness is scared to come to the police but does agree to talk to a Chronicle reporter on the condition of anonimity. They tell the reporter that they have good information on who the killer may be. Chronicle runs the story, and the cops want to know who can help them solve the case. Under the Shield Law, the reporter doesn't have to give up the info.
I'm sure the idea of this would give many Civil Libertarians a good laugh. Let's see if the next scenario makes them laugh too:
Scenario # 2 - HPD arrests a suspect in the killings and charge him with Capital Murder. A Glory Hound Elected D.A. announces she will be seeking the death penalty. The same witness from Scenario # 1 calls up the same reporter and says that the police have got the wrong person and they know who the real killer is. Guess what? Under the Shield Law, the reporter doesn't have to give up the info.
I absolutely believe in the 1st Amendment and the Freedom of the Press. But in matters of life and death, it needs to take a back seat sometimes. That's why prosecutors have uniformly opposed the Shield Law for years.
But guess who decided to break with tradition and actually support the Shield Law this year?
Yep. That would be our gal, Patsy Lykos.
In doing so, she became Jeff Cohen and the Staff of the Chronicle's Dream Girl. And in exchange for selling her soul to the Chronicle, she gets nothing but rave reviews from them. She crafted an unholy alliance that undercuts the interests of victims of crime and (potentially) all other members of the community she is sworn to represent. In exchange, she gets the media's (bought and paid for) love.
That's why I was absolutely stunned to read Falkenburg's article last week which belittled Lykos' lack of planning on the DWI Diversion program. Of course, the Chronicle had to make up for Lisa's error. They ran a cute little article about Lykos' love of baseball, to show her sweet, human side.
Never saw anything run about Holmes or Rosenthal like that, did you?
And they made sure to also run an editorial about how right she was to be instituting pre-trial diversions on first time DWI cases in the same Sunday edition. They have yet to even air what MADD's response might be to Lykos' new scheme, or dare to write an opposing view.
No, the love affair that the Chronicle is showing towards Pat Lykos has many of us wanting to yell out "get a room!". But, when it comes to the Chronicle, why wouldn't they love Pat Lykos? They have always been more interested in an agenda that puts the interests of criminals way ahead of the interests of crime victims. The sympathy of the Chronicle has always been for those who violate the law rather than those who uphold it.
The interest of the Chronicle has always been very much the opposite of the community which they write for, in my opinion.
And when you make the realization that the Chronicle and Pat Lykos are of the same mind when it comes to our community's interest . . .
Folks, that's just damn scary.