The Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 told the Maryland State’s Attorney in a letter, it has “very deep concerns about the many conflicts of interest” in the Freddie Gray case.
According to The Baltimore Sun‘s David Zurawik, the FOP raised concerns over the “lead prosecutor’s connections with members of the local media” but never went as far as naming names.
Zurawik writes, one of those “connections” may involve WBAL investigative reporter Jayne Miller. Janice Bledsoe, the lead prosecutor in the State’s Attorney’s office, is in a relationship with Miller, who has been at the forefront in reporting the case.
Miller confirmed the relationship to a Sun reporter Friday morning. Later in the day, when [Zurawik] called to ask her about the allegations, she said, “Call my general manager.”
Dan Joerres, general manager at WBAL, offered three statements in response to a series of questions about Miller.
“I can assure you our news department operates at the highest level of ethical standards as does every department at WBAL,” Joerres said when asked about the FOP allegations. “Jayne Miller’s 30-plus years of award-winning reporting on the city of Baltimore speaks for itself.”
When asked if he was concerned about a conflict of interest or perception of one in Miller’s case, he said, “Anytime we have a potential conflict of interest, it’s discussed and vetted in an appropriate manner.”
He repeated that answer when asked if the station had ever disclosed on-air the relationship between the two when Miller reported on cases connected to Bledsoe’s office.
Zurawik goes on to say that while the FOP’s calling out of alleged wrongdoings without naming names, is reckless, WBAL should have removed any doubt by pulling Miller from the story.
It’s not even a close call. This is Ethics 101, and the station has only itself to blame for getting caught up in the FOP’s attack on Mosby’s office in one of the biggest cases this city has ever seen.
This is now a very dangerous business for a station that has branded itself as being a leader in news credibility, with Miller as the face of that claim. I wonder how WBAL can now keep her on this case — even if she is the best reporter it has.