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HOWARD ROSENBERG

Media Coverage of the King Case: Guilty or Innocent?

April 08, 1991|HOWARD ROSENBERG

Besides buying a newspaper ad, KGIL had help from the Police Protective League, which notified its members of the station's plans and gave them a code that would identify them as police when they called KGIL. So in a sense, the airwaves were being primed for a pro-Gates point of view.

Thus with very few exceptions the callers did support Gates and criticized Bradley, who has urged Gates to step down, and the Police Commission, whose suspension was overturned, in effect, in a vote Friday by the City Council.

Meanwhile, the medium that has helped incite anti-Gates fervor is just as capable of helping incite pro-Gates fervor.

Gates forces scored big on TV Friday not only with news of his probable reinstatement, but also with a media event at which cameras were suckered into shooting a shrewdly orchestrated joint appearance by the chief--now assuming the role of a folksy good ol' boy--and Holliday, the quiet-spoken man whose ugly footage brought on all the controversy.

Yes, it was a good day for the chief. Even though memories of the King video lingered, Gates now had a video of his own, as the war of images and public relations accelerated on the airwaves.

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