After reading Mr. Wesley Juhl’s commentary, in the May 1 edition of the Humboldt Sun, on the proposed legislation contained in Nevada Senate Bill 287 to revise provisions governing public records and his ascertain that passage would improve law enforcement transparency, this question came to my ever-balding head. Does knowledge equal wisdom?

Certainly, our government agencies, including the police, owe it to their bosses – the citizens, to be transparent in their dealings to the broadest extent possible, within the confines of the law with respect to employee, client, victim, and accused confidentiality. But, with a broadening of the so-called freedom of information that may come with the passage of this bill, will the public being informed be better served?

I suggest only if those doing the requesting, writing and reporting have the wisdom to put the news into informed context. Said another way, not all questions are equal. We have all witnessed reporters at press conferences asking and re-asking questions that make the viewer cringe at the lack of context or preparation of the interrogator. 

Just because information is more freely available does not mean it all needs to be disseminated in the media. We as readers and viewers have a responsibility, too. We must the skeptics. What and who are the information sources and what skin does each one have in the game? Regarding police transparency, will we blindly believe the assertions in print or pixels?  Or, will we seek answers directly from the authorities involved in an issue or event? With the rise of social media as a news source for many Americans, I fear the answer may be the former, rather than the latter.

In the media’s zeal for information to feed the reporting machine, the old adage still hold’s true, “If it bleeds, it leads.” The bleeding can be metaphorical, too. The out of context quote or fact used to impugn. Hyperbole used to inflame an audience. To paraphrase in interesting man, “I don’t always believe all that I read or hear. But, when I do, I check the sources.”