There are a lot of things going on in our national news right now. Big things. We've all been talking about Joe Paterno and Graham Spanier getting fired from their jobs at Penn State. So, what I'm going to rant about for a second is tiny in comparison to what's happening up north--with sex abuse allegations, near-riots and the downfall of some once well-respected people.
But, I've had some time to think about this, so I just want to say it while it's still somewhat timely. I was speechless when I heard that someone got handsy with one of our journalists on election night. And, 24 hours later, I'm still annoyed.
Apparently, Ashlea Kosikowski was doing her job when a guy tried to block her from speaking to a candidate about losing a race. That person will be left unnamed in this post, but Ashlea was trying to speak with Dan Wilcox, who was running for Carolina Beach Mayor. Ashlea tweeted that a man (roughly in his 50s) stood in front of her and kept blocking her as she was trying to get near Wilcox. At the same time, the man was nudging and pushing her... and adding a little tough talk. She tried to give a signal to her photographer, Jim, (disclaimer: he's also my husband), but Jim misunderstood that she needed help. Since he was being respectful by staying back and not shooting the party at that point, he was unaware of any problems.
Eventually, Wilcox's girlfriend saw Ashlea struggling and tried to help her. She said Dan was too upset to talk on camera, but she'd help Ashlea as much as she could. Dan Wilcox also apologized for that man's actions, though it wasn't Dan's fault either.
So... here's my beef. And the thought is mine and mine alone.
Please don't get physical with someone trying to do a job. People in politics understand they need reporters just as much as reporters need them. So, if you're politically-minded enough to attend a watch party, you should probably be a little more savvy about the relationships politicians build with members of the media. In general, most journalists don't get satisfaction asking uncomfortable questions, unless they're uncovering an injustice.
And... getting physical is never cool. In any circumstance. In my opinion, a 50-something-year-old man should not be getting rough with a 30-something-year-old-woman. Does that make him a tough guy or something? What is wrong with this picture?
We're lucky Ashlea was not hurt and things didn't escalate. But it is an embarrassing moment in local politics. I think that guy owes Ashlea a public apology. And, yes, we know who you are. We're just not saying it.
If there's something we learned this week, it's to speak up. Get engaged. Be involved with what's happening in the world around you.
If you see a grown man roughing up a reporter, lay down some interference. If you see something more sinister, then call police. It's that simple. Is it really hard to do the right thing to begin with?