Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Back on the Killing Streets

Writer/produce David Simon is rightly famous for a string of excellent TV shows he helped create - Homicide: Life on the Street, The Corner, and The Wire. But before turning to TV, Simon was a police reporter in Baltimore. It was there that he did the research for his book, Homicide: A Life on the Killing Streets, that became the basis for the brilliant TV show.

It's to that first vocation into which he was drawn again, according to a story he wrote in Sunday's Washington Post. It's about how the newspaper climate in Baltimore has devolved from one of intense oversight to simply parroting the information, or lack thereof, provided by official spokespersons. The stonewalling involving the police shooting of a 61-year old man - authorities refused to identify the officer involved - prompted Simon to start making some phone calls and get the information.

The irony, of course, is that a major part of the last season of The Wire (so I'm told - I'm working through it on Netflix) is about the crumbling of a Baltimore newspaper. Life imitating art, and not in a good way.

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