April 28, 2021
Recent articles detailing the growing partisan nature of Crime Stoppers of Houston have sparked intense concern — not only among the Harris County Democratic Party but among citizens throughout the county who deserve factual information from the sources our city relies on for accurate reporting. Historically, Crime Stoppers has been that reliable source — until its recent foray into the political culture wars.
Over the last few years, media coverage involving Crime Stoppers has become a GOP talking point with Democratic judges frequently and negatively targeted. Crime Stoppers very clearly has not remained the non-partisan organization it claims to be and needs to be. As it has become increasingly dependent on Republican funding, the organization has devolved into a GOP messaging arm focused on destroying the reputations of Democratic elected officials for Republican political gain.
Unfortunately, years of reporting simply amplified the Crime Stoppers messaging attacks without asking about the motivation for the organization’s condemnation of more than a dozen elected judges. Media outlets have relied on statements and statistics from Crime Stoppers without allowing an opportunity for those challenging the statements to speak. As a result, the Crime Stoppers’ partisan messaging led to misinformation that each reporting organization helped disseminate.
Journalists and media professionals upon whom Harris County residents rely for fair and accurate reporting failed to tell the whole story. This can only be accomplished by providing an equal platform for all points of view when discussing political issues such as bond measures. Seeking sources to tell both sides of the story benefits our community at large and preserves the media’s reputation as one of integrity. Simply put, you cannot promote a clearly partisan voice such as that of Crime Stoppers and claim that it is the final word on the issue.
If you need more voices when covering crime-related issues, HCDP would be more than happy to help put you in touch with knowledgeable individuals who can shed light on a variety of complex topics.
We recognize and celebrate the important role the media plays in supporting a healthy democracy, accurately informing the community about key issues and events. But the ongoing promotion of slanted messaging — like that coming from Crime Stoppers of Houston — distorts public debate and discourse, and the result is a weakening of the democratic ideals we all aspire to preserve.
Thank you for your time,
Chair, Harris County Democratic Party