After a recent story about the arrest of several Providence Police officers accused of narcotics related offenses, a viewer writes:
“I am writing about (a) report tonight about the Providence police officers who were arrested. During that report (the reporter) said: ‘Jameson Hassett, 24, the son of former Providence police officer James Hassett, was arrested on a wiretap charge. James Hassett was at the home of former Mayor Vincent “Buddy” Cianci Jr. when Cianci assaulted his wife’s lover in the early 1980s.‘
“I suppose it is somewhat relevant that the accused is the son of a former policeman,“ the viewer wrote, “but I don’t see the need to mention an incident that his father was involved in nearly 30 years ago. It seemed like a cheap shot at the elder Hassett as well as the former mayor.“
There’s no question that the father’s involvement in the Cianci drama years ago is unrelated to the issues which now face his son. But, as this blog has frequently said before, a news story should not, absent compelling circumstances, leave viewers with questions and certainly the first question anyone with a recollection of Providence history would ask is whether there’s a connection between THIS Hassett and THAT Hassett.
The relationship having been established, however, for the sake of historical perspective, there does not appear to be a need to more extensively revist the father’s role in those events of so many years ago
This column was originally published on WJAR-TV’s Web site, turnto10.com on March 6, 2010.