Amateur night was on full display last week when CNN reporter Susan Roesgen, covering a tea party in Chicago, berated participants as anti-government and anti-CNN right-wing extremists. Hey, Susan, have you ever heard of the First Amendment? As unprofessional and biased as her reporting was, the most disturbing aspect to me was that she was so clearly threatened by people expressing another point of view contrary to the one she holds. So much for diversity and tolerance.
Sadly, there were many other examples of coverage on networks that was crude, demeaning and condescending. No wonder much of the news media continues to lose credibility – for a number of reporters, there’s no longer even a pretense of objectivity. Whatever happened to the days when the news media simply reported the news? To its credit, FOX News provided fair and appropriate coverage.
My wife and I attended the tea party in Franklin, Tennessee, which police estimated drew more than a thousand people. As with other tea parties across the nation, the participants were orderly Americans expressing a legitimate point of view and using their constitutional rights to peacefully assemble and protest out-of-control government spending and expansion. Contrast the behavior at U.S. tea parties with the destructive mob in London during the recent G20 meeting.
Reporters like Susan who are threatened by free speech and so biased that they can’t cover an event without having an emotional meltdown really don’t belong in the news business. Serving as minister of propaganda for dictators such as Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro likely would be more within their comfort zones.
Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.