Where do reporters draw the line between reporting and advocacy? Not on West Virginia's WVNS
Why can't all journalists be like the helpful and obedient ones on WVNS-TV?
But not the good citizens of southern West Virginia's WVNS.
Reporter Jessie Gavin and her cameraman were recently on a ridealong with Corporal C.D. McCormick of the Beckley Police Department when they recorded him pulling over a suspect accused of — insert "Law & Order" sound effect — talking on his cell phone. Beckley yelled at the man repeatedly, getting perhaps more heated than he needed to as he demanded the slow-moving, confused motorist get back in his car.
Was his conduct acceptable? It's debatable. But not to WVNS's crack news team.
The driver took McCormick's information to file a complaint, and asked Gavin and her cameraman for their information since they were witnesses. They might have said something like, "We're here to cover the story, not be a part of it." (Reporters take that approach a lot, when witnessing people choking their wives, for example.)
But why refrain from getting involved when you can just take a side? Especially when that side is that of a policeman giving you a ride in his police car. As everyone knows (except for the occasional pesky reporter who catches cops sodomizing someone with a plunger), police are above reproach.
"I didn't see him being rude," Gavin said to the driver. "Did you not hear him?"
The cameraman jumped in, adding that the officer gave his order, "for his own safety," because he didn't know if the driver was armed. The driver said he was allowed to be armed, and the debate continued.
"He got red in the face from hollering at me," said the driver, who noted he was a veteran who has been around plenty of firearms. "That is very rude."
"He wasn't being rude, in my opinion," Gavin said, helpfully resolving the issue before it had to go through some kind of long, boring proper channels in which Mr. Veteran would no doubt try to pull some anti-authority hippie routine.
WVNS, which uses the tagline, "Working for you," did not immediately respond to a call for comment Friday.
Watch the video: