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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Thursday, October 10, 2002
8:35 PM

Not in the PostWatch... I don't know how important this is in the grand scheme of things, but the Washington Times has this story about Montgomery County Police Chief Moose's bad temper. He's under a lot of pressure but he does seem thin-skinned to me.

While Chief Moose won praise from top officials in Portland, Ore., for his hard work as police chief there from 1993 to 1999, some in that city's government have said the chief's temper has been an issue throughout his career. The chief's personnel file shows that between 1975 and 1999 he was disciplined in four cases and sent to counseling for blowing up at people he thought were discriminating against him, according to a report printed in the Portland Oregonian in July 1999. ...

"There were times he drove me nuts," Portland City Commissioner Erik Sten told the Oregonian, in reference to a time when Chief Moose reportedly yelled at Portland Mayor Vera Katz and others who were investigating the use of shotguns filled with small bean bags to disperse a hostile crowd in that city....

As readers may know, he blew up the other day when WUSA/channel 9 broadcast that the sniper left a Tarot card with a message informing the police that "I am God." I'm with WUSA--the Post seems to be claiming credit for a simultaneous scoop btw though it's clear the TV beat them--but it's a closer call than I originally thought. The TV station put out a statement pointing out that none of the police sources they used in reporting the story asked them not to run it. But it later was learned that the sniper also asked the communication not be released to the media. I sure hope WUSA didn't know that, because this could have led sooner to a relationship between the police and the killer, and in that case WUSA is playing Make Believe Cop.

Lives really are on the line here. One of these shootings, by the way, was within several blocks of PostWatch.

UPDATE: CNN reporter Kathleen Koch tonight said that WUSA did not know about the killer's message that his Tarot calling card should not be shared with the media. She also noted that the information about that coda was also leaked. That was pretty much the end of her report, but I think most would agree that's the police--pro-Moose police--leaking the last scrap of information to show why Moose was so angry.

ANOTHER UPDATE: WUSA news just said 70% of viewers responding to a self-selecting poll agreed that the station should have reported the Tarot card story. These kinds of polls are not scientifically valid, of course, and there's no way to know how many viewers' attention spans lasted long enough to learn that the killer said he didn't want the information revealed.

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