Fri, Nov 02, 2018 - Page 9 News List

Americans turn against reporters as rage against the media surges

By David Bauder  /  AP, NEW YORK

On her blog, she wrote: “I don’t want to be immersed in sadness every day. I don’t ever want a cute little girl in pigtails to look up at me and say: ‘We hate you.’ I don’t want to hear ‘fake news’ shouted at me anymore, or to be flipped off while driving my news van.”

She said that some of the incidents she wrote about — the hateful little girl and the man who stuck his bare butt out the window and defecated — predate Trump. There are other factors that contributed to her desire to leave, including shoulder woes from carrying heavy equipment for many years, and a constant diet of murders and other depressing story assignments.

However, the current environment is definitely part of it. People who drive vans emblazoned with a TV station’s call letters are obvious targets.

One recent day, Bentley-Law wrote that a person in a Mercedes prevented her van from getting off a highway until several exits beyond her destination.

Video journalist Joshua Replogle of The Associated Press was filming flooding from Hurricane Florence in North Carolina’s Bladen County when a nearby man knocked over his camera and began punching him in the face.

His friends muttered: “Fake news.”

So far no charges have been filed, Replogle said.

So far this year, the RTDNA’s “press freedom tracker” counts 39 incidents of journalists being attacked in the US, including the June 28 shooting at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, where five people were killed.

In less lethal examples, a man purposely crashed a pickup truck into the side of a Dallas TV station, a Miami reporter and a photographer were physically attacked while doing a live shot and a North Carolina crew had its power cable cut while covering a demonstration.

Last year, the first time a count was kept, there were 48 such cases.

While one-person crews have become more popular for television stations looking to cut costs, the RTDNA recommends that their use be curtailed in certain times and places, association executive director Dan Shelley said.

However, despite Bentley-Law’s experience, colleagues are finding that more people want to get into journalism, he said.

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