NY Times reporters Richard Perez-Pena and Frances Robles disgrace themselves in their coverage of the Orlando night club shooting. Per the Times, Questions Have Been Raised by the release of the Orlando PD logs, texts and emails:
Gunfire and Panicked Calls on Police Log of Orlando Shooting
It took just 16 minutes.
Emergency calls from inside the Pulse nightclub poured into the Orlando police in the early morning of June 12 from panicked and wounded revelers reporting the bloody scene as it played out. Dispatchers noted that they, too, could hear gunshots in the background, according to a police log that was among hundreds of pages of documents about the massacre released by the city on Tuesday.
The incident log gives a staccato narration, based on entries made in real time and time-stamped down to the minute and the second — the most detailed account yet of what happened after Omar Mateen, 29, armed with an assault rifle and a handgun, walked into a bustling club with a mostly gay and Latino clientele and opened fire.
Oh, the question?
Other documents released on Tuesday raised questions about whether one of Pulse’s exits might have been blocked.
Really? The elephant in the club gets a passing mention:
At the end of a three-hour standoff, for which some have criticized the police’s delayed response, 49 people had been killed and 53 wounded. But nearly all the slaughter took place in just those first 16 minutes.
"Some have criticized" the delayed response. Gee, do all these police logs shed any light on that controversy? Not in this story. Yet back on June 20 these same reporters, joined by Eric Lichtblau, were well aware of questions about the timeliness of the police response.
Let's cut to the WaPo coverage of the newly released logs:
Documents show chilling police calls, internal deliberations after Orlando shooting
Here is paragraph six and following:
The documents show people from all over the world, including many business leaders and public officials, emailed or texted Dyer and Mina to offer their support. Many praised the officials for their handling of the incident, though some questioned why police did not move more quickly to engage Mateen. Officials have said that after two shootouts, Mateen holed up with hostages inside a bathroom at Pulse, and police waited for hours to move in for a final confrontation because the gunfire had stopped. Mateen was ultimately killed in that last confrontation with Orlando police SWAT officers.
Police seemed sensitive about the insinuation that they had not made the right tactical decisions. When one emailer questioned the decision not to move on Mateen more quickly, Mina wrote to his staff director, “Come up with a standard response, thank you for your concern etc, and let me approve, then we can use for anymore of this nonsense.”
A police public affairs representative — addressing requests she had received to interview the officers who engaged Mateen — mused that making any available might subject them to tough lines of inquiry about the wait.
“In some instances, I would say we should try to produce someone, since that seems and feels like a very positive thing,” Michelle Guido, the public affairs representative, wrote. “But there’s so many ways it can go sideways of that officer is asked difficult questions (why did you wait 3 hours before going in, etc etc. …).”
Hmm, the WaPo found a controversy. How about the Wall Street Journal?
Orlando Shooting: Police Dispatch Records Illustrate Hours Before SWAT Team Sent In
Callers inside club reported where they were hiding, gunman’s whereabouts, severity of injuries
Police dispatch records released Tuesday provided new details about what took place inside an Orlando, Fla., nightclub during the June 12 mass shooting and could fuel additional questions about why it took officials about three hours to send in a SWAT team to rescue hostages trapped in two bathrooms.
The records, among a large batch of documents released by the city of Orlando, appear to corroborate a reconstruction of gunman Omar Mateen’s movements published by The Wall Street Journal.
OK, so the WSJ led with the puzzling police response time. Yet the Times essentially ignored those questions? Wow. For a real blast at the Orlando PD, check out Bob Owens at Bearing Arms.
In evaluating NY Times reporting I frequently remind myself of a variation of an old adage - never ascribe to their political agenda what can be explained by mere incompetence. But in this case, since the Times is all-in for disarming the citizenry, I guess they have decided they need to downplay the reality that when minutes count the police are hours away. Or sometimes right in the next room, talking things over. But either way, the police are likely to put their own safety and protocols ahead of the disarmed victims they are meant to be protecting.
I don't mean to be teeing off on the police officers - they have a thankless job and get second-guessed whatever they do. But the Times still ought to take a chance and present their readership with a dose of reality here.
ERRATA: I love the name "Eric Lichtblau" and think it is terrific to see a Times reporter declare his political affiliation so plainly.