Following up on Hlavac
Man, am I in trouble. In between the festivities, I spent time on the phone and email trying to verify the KDKA report on Hlavac on which I reported yesterday. No other media outlet picked up the story which has led a few folks to ask me if I accurately reported on the KDKA story.
I spent some time chatting with the KDKA and PG newsdesks. KDKA told me that they stand behind the story and I was careful to reiterate the information presented: Hlavac received letter terminating his employment with the City and his lawyer did say on camera that they would fight for reinstatement. I did learn that it was Marty G who interviewed the attorney, not Andy Sheehan. To be fair, if I got that fact wrong I could certainly have made mistakes otherwise, but I don't believe I did.
Howver, the Post-Gazette told me that this information is wrong and that KDKA's producer had a different take on the interview, stating that Hlavac received notification that he will face an internal hearing on Monday with the decision on his future with the City determined pending the results of that hearing.
FWIW, I did ask KDKA about the story not being posted on the web and they informed it was too short at 20 seconds. They offered to connect me to the web department to argue otherwise, but I declined when it dawned on me that I was sitting in the car allegedly picking up the pies while a piping hot holiday meal waited for me at my sister-in-law's house.
So there you have it. LOL. OK, so all you still have are my reports on a story aired on KDKA and conversations afterwards. There's no official confirmation from the City that Hlavac has been fired. Realistically, the City was closed after the KDKA segment so when it reopens on Monday and the hearing takes place, the entire issue could be moot.
I reviewed yesterday's post and most of it is based on the story which did run in the Post-Gazette. The primary concerns about the FOP attitude toward domestic violence presents the bigger threat to women in the community than what I perceived to be the media's inattention to what seemed breaking news (with the exception of KDKA). That was more of a swipe at the MSM.
Here are the pieces relevant to the coverage:
Now, last night on KDKA, Ken Rice reported that Hlavac has been fired. One of the investigative reporters interviewed Hlavac's attorney who claimed he would fight for reinstatement along with custody of his son. Yet, this morning that story is not the KDKA website. Nor is reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette or the Tribune Review. In fact, the PG has a story by Jerome Sherman that is now out of date because of this breaking development. Thus, I have no source for my claim that he was fired, except for the fact that Ledcat watched the news with me and I'm betting a few of you did as well.
This is especially worrisome given the heightened fear Pittsburgh women rightfully feel about police response to DV calls and the fact the holiday tensions can give rise to spikes in DV situations. Would you feel it worth a call to report battery by your husband when the media has been filled with stories on the Hlavac situation and the fact that DV shelters are overwhelmed? Last night, KDKA also reported that Womens Center & Shelter turned away 600 women in 2008. Good job media. Focus on the merry of the holiday season and leave the rest of Pittsburgh to wallow in your obsession with bad news.At this point, I am a loss as to what is really going on. I do think KDKA should post the story precisely because the claim it is breaking news in a significant story, however I just wasn't up to missing more time with the family to make the case. If they reported erroneously, they certainly should retract the story which I would then address. Either way, my ability to prove to anyone that I saw the story and interpreted it correctly is just not possible. :-(
I honestly think that blogging about KDKA's story was an appropriate thing to do. People tweet all the time about things airing live on the air; we also retweet stories from various news sources. We invest trust in MSM all the time. I live tweeted about on the air coverage and then followed up with a post that was clear that the story wasn't available for any of you to verify. I wasn't basing my post on a rumor, but on a story aired for thousands of viewers along with the article published in the PG.
So I may owe an apology to Pittsburgh's mainstream media for not covering a story that KDKA reported inaccurately. But if KDKA could get it wrong, it is within the realm of possibility that the Post-Gazette got it wrong, too. I can't know at this point.
I'm sure there will be plenty of coverage of Monday's hearing when things will shake themselves out.
Here's my conclusing paragraph:
I think it is good news that a violent thug has been fired from a job where he carried a weapon and authority. I have no qualms believing his ex-girlfriend given the man's past as well as his reputation on the job. If the police brass and the FOP want us to believe in the integrity and authenticity of their response to the crime of violence in domestic situations, they need to weed out the wife beaters and promote the hard-working, intelligent men and women who uphold the values of their occupation.
So let me restate for the record:
If the story is accurate, I think it would be good news that a violent thug has been fired from a job where he carries a weapon and authority. I have no qualms believing his ex-girlfriend given the man's past as well as his reputation on the job. If the police brass and the FOP want us to believe in the integrity and authenticity of their response to the crime of violence in domestic situations, they need to weed out the wife beaters and promote the hard-working, intelligent men and women who uphold the values of their occupation.
Eugene Hlavac should be stripped of his badge and gun until the court determines if he committed assault. The FOP and the police administration should have acted swiftly, but they still have an opportunity to hold him accountable and act in the best interests of the public. Whether they live up to their charge to protect the public and hold this man accountable to the values he is supposed to embody is anybody's guess at this point.
Meanwhile, we had a lovely holiday with our families who shared a joint celebration. Everyone went overboard, but I am now the proud owner of pair of Doc Marten boots and a GPS system. I am excited to accurately find my way to kick something. I'm contemplating a Blackberry upgrade, but dare I brave the Verizon store today?
Tonight we are going to see Meryl Streep!
UPDATE: It appears from today's media reports, that Sgt Hlavac was suspended today (12/29) for five days pending termination. I've watched the KDKA and WTAE reports and I'm still confused.