According to the New York Times of May 12, 2008, New York City
Police Officers fairly often lie in their testimony before judges in
In more than 20 cases, the judges found police officers testimony
to be unreliable, inconsistent, twisting the truth, or just plain
false. One judge called it “patently incredible, riddled with
exaggerations, unworthy of belief.”
In fact, tainted testimony is a problem so pervasive that the police
have a word for it: “testilying”.
Truth is the first casualty of war.
Thursday January 16, 1986 two of the most prestigeous daily newspapers in the United States reported on the results of a Gallup poll commissioned by the Times-Mirror Company. The positioning of the story, and the omissions and inclusions on the part of each tell a good deal about the handling of “truth” in the American media.
The New York Times carried the story on page A18, not the best location but adequate, and headlined their article “Poll Finds ‘No Credibility Crisis’ for News Media.”
The second paragraph was devoted to a quote from Gallup “If credibility is defined as believability, then credibility is, in
fact, one of the media’s strongest suits.” The next paragraphs admitted that the “respondents also criticized
the media, saying they were politically biased, emphasized bad news, invaded privacy, failed to admit mistakes and bowed to outside pressure. Press critics are much more critical than its supporters are supportive. Critics, whose feelings varied from mild to vociferous, represented 30 percent. The strongest critics of the press constituted only 5 percent of the public but tended to be the best informed about the news and organizations that gather it.
“On overall accuracy, 55 percent of the public said the press generally got the facts straight while 34 percent said it did not. For believability, ‘nationally influential newspapers’ rated 78 percent; the Wall Street Journal got 85 percent, and President Reagan had 68 percent.”
Interestingly, the Gallup organization stated that “the news media sell believabilty foremost.”
Turning to the same story in the Christian Science Monitor,
carried on page 3, a more prime location, the Monitor started its
article by saying “The American public, like Thomas Jefferson,
cherishes the press–but also detests it. Then came a finding
totally ignored by the Times, “while Americans greatly value a
free press, a majority of them doubt that the US media are really
free, that they are often influenced by the powerful, including
big government, big labor, big business, and other special
“A majority believe the press too often tends to ‘favor one side’
in its coverage of issues. A plurality suggests there is often
political bias. The public sees the press as dependent on and
‘often influenced by the powerful.’
“Three-quarters of all Americans think the ‘federal government
influences the way the press reports news’ and nearly as many
think advertisers do, as well. If the press gets too pushy, it
will lose advertisers, lose government sources, or even lose
Very strange omissions for the Times with its motto “All the News
thats fit to Print.”
On the same day in the Monitor columnist Joseph C. Harsch
provided tangible evidence of the public’s perceptions regarding
political bias by stating “The self-styled neoconservatives whose
primary concern is the welfare of Israel. Mostly they are Jewish
intellectuals with considerable influence in publishing. They
provided much of the public relations support behind Mr.
military buildup and hard-line foreign policy.”