This is news?

ABC News Headline:

Arizona Sheriff Blasts Rush Limbaugh for Spewing ‘Irresponsible’ Vitriol

The Sheriff’s argument:

“The vitriol affects the [unstable] personality that we are talking about,” he said. “You can say, ‘Oh no, it doesn’t,’ but my opinion is that it does.”

The fact that this is a news story amazes me.

It seems highly unprofessional for a law enforcement official to use a case he’s working to editorialize his unsubstantiated opinion.

Shouldn’t law enforcement officials be giving us briefings on the case at hand and saying things like “innocent until proven guilty” and “that’s not for me to decide, my job is to enforce the law, not prosecute it.”

Second, the fact that this even made it as a news story tells me that our journalistic standards have sunk to the level of The Quibbler in Rowling’s Harry Potter universe.

Some questions the journalists could have asked the Sheriff:

How does your opinion on this matter relate to this case?

Have you found evidence that this unstable person was influenced by this vitriol?

If so, how again does that relate to this specific case?

Also from this article:

Dupnik said he had been advised not to discuss Loughner’s mental condition or his home life, but said, “I can tell you this is a somewhat dysfunctional family.”

Next questions:

If you have been advised not to discuss this, why are you?

Do you think your inadequate professionalism risks violating the suspect’s right to due process and increases his chances of getting off with a mistrial?

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