Part of the Story: How Four Journalists went from Bylines to Headlines
The Crime against Newspeople
Reporting the Reporters
While journalists seek to be unbiased, objective professionals and to not become part of the story, four media personalities were thrust from bylines to the headlines. In two of the four, with Alison Parker and Adam Ward, their assailant (also a journalist, albeit a failed one) stole their lives during a time when they just were performing their jobs. In an act that stepped outside the boundaries of professionalism, during a press conference news anchor Jorge Ramos leapt to his feet and commented to Donald Trump out of turn. In both of these incidences, the nature of the news story was predicated on the actions of journalists who either intentionally or inadvertently found themselves center stage, in the spotlight.
The sheer cowardice against unarmed individuals lies at the crux of the murders of Miss Parker and Mr. Ward. For being straight white people, they met their fate at the hands of an out-of-control gay, Black psychopath as Troi “Star” Torain has put it, hell-bent on destruction. His irrationalism lead to the cutting down of lives in their prime. Should we look at him as some crusader or freedom fighter for his actions? Absolutely not. He was a disgrace to himself and a vicious deviant. And not because he was gay, but as a result of stooping to the level of a brute. The memories of Miss Parker and Mr. Ward ought to be recognized, not the demented actions of some basket case. And his nihilism spills out in his scrawled letter to ABC news. In his writing, he described himself as a “powder keg.” Well, why couldn’t he have just exploded without taking the lives of two and injuring Vicki Gardner? As messed up “in the head” as he was, why did he have to extinguish these individuals? Will Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and other organizations cling to the assailant in this case? For his alleged rejection based on his race and sexual orientation, this madman made excuses for himself and expected people to respect him. Meanwhile, the efforts of Miss Parker and and Mr. Ward ought to be observed. Parker had interned at the station for which she worked (WDBJ) later becoming a correspondent. Ward, who graduated from Virginia Tech (VT) (which experienced its own grim shootings eight years prior), had set his sights on North Carolina as a photojournalist. Both journalists were involved with significant others who also worked at the station. The ties that these individuals created shall be memorialized. Their dedication to their craft and close attention to detail ought to be held in high esteem. Though they did not expect to be on the national and international landscapes because of an incident like this, Miss Parker and Mr. Ward will forever be remembered for their virtues. As journalists in the field, they prepared themselves for a situation such as this. Their lives were snatched from them without reason or purpose. But their sense of life and skill ought to instill in future journalists the will to brave even the most heinous of physical attacks. They pursued selfishly a better life through their respective careers. The media professionals of tomorrow ought to take note. What they also should observe is the less lethal but still outrageous side of the news industry.
The milquetoast behavior of Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) who showed no self-esteem while facing Black Lives Matter protesters stands in stark contrast to Mr. Trump. The best that he could do was to just stand there and take the affront. What would he do as President of the United States? Would his weak stance translate into being head of state? Of course he is an unabashed socialist who cowers at the sight of anyone with self-respect, but what would happen if the Presidents of Iran or Russia stepped to the United States aggressively? At least Mr. Trump would have apparently asserted his power against any foreign hostility. At least he displayed this against the forceful actions of Mr. Ramos. By disregarding Mr. Ramos’ advances and brutish outbursts, Mr. Trump broadcasted to his detractors that he is a stand up guy who never backs down from a challenge. In a CNN interview, Mr. Ramos backtracked and stuttered over his actions. His act of rudeness reveals the poor state of discourse that the media now finds itself. Ramos’ interruption in front of the cameras as Mr. Trump dismissed assertively his advances to speak shows his lack of respect for the candidate. Yes he is a jester and yes he presents bad ideas, but he knows how to control a room and ensure that he receives the full amount of attention as any other seeker of the highest office in the land should.
Sense of Self
Mr. Trump represents the fool who at least has the gumption to take on those who oppose him in such a disrespectful manner. The Univision news reporter ought to learn a few lessons in decency and how to best conduct oneself in press conferences or anywhere else for that matter. If he had only waited to be called on, Mr. Trump would have happily welcomed his questions or comments. His excuse that he never expected Mr. Trump to call on him does not warrant him to just stand up and blurt out anything that comes to his mind. In fact, after he was removed and allowed back to the conference, he was able to get some statements said and some questions addressed. All he had to do was show a bit of restraint. Instead, he made Mr. Trump look like the classy one. This is an achievement in itself. Young journalists of all backgrounds ought to realize that it is impermissible to interrupt anyone during any event. They ought to pick up on the fact that being boorish only impedes thought and disallows any connections that might be made in the world of media. Mr. Ramos ought to be scolded for his actions and possibly demoted from his position as anchorman on Univision. To speak one’s mind in the semi-free United States is a right based on the First Amendment. However, anyone addressing a press conference, or concert hall, or any other venue, has the right also to bar you from interjecting your responses. So, Mr. Trump with straight-forward rectitude, sent away an instigator who failed to recognize the rights of the speaker. By welcoming Mr. Ramos back to exchange questions and answers was a sophisticated move for Mr. Trump. Though he may not be taken as seriously as his fellow presidential candidates, Mr. Trump still exhibited a profound sense of self in the face of uncivilized behavior. And although Mr. Ramos is a credible journalist, by making himself part of the news discredits his position. This ought to serve as a reminder to those who may pick up a pen, sit behind a news desk, snap photos, or video the scene. They ought to make sure that they maintain objectivity and do your best to not be the subject of the story.