Journalist quits Ferguson after denouncing the media’s behavior

posted at 6:01 pm on August 21, 2014 by Noah Rothman

Ryan Schuessler, a Missourian and a journalist with Al Jazeera America, recently left Ferguson after covering the civil unrest there since the protests and violence erupted two weeks ago. He is not coming back; not because there is no more work to be done or events of interest left to cover, but because the media’s behavior has been too much for him to tolerate.

“The behavior and number of journalists there is so appalling, that I cannot in good conscience continue to be a part of the spectacle,” Schuessler wrote, via The Daily Beat’s Brian Ries.

Among the offenses he listed in a brief rundown occurrences which have turned him off to the media’s conduct have been television news crews yelling at residents at public meetings, reporting staff disrespecting the area where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot, reporters calling the situation in Ferguson a “networking opportunity,” and, perhaps above all, “journalists making the story about them.”

“There are now hundreds of journalists from all over the world coming to Ferguson to film what has become a spectacle. I get the sense that many feel this is their career-maker,” Schuessler concluded. “We should all be ashamed, and I cannot do it anymore.”

It is not merely conservative sources who have noticed that the press is not only failing to cover the unrest in Ferguson objectively, but are actively embracing their new roles as central figures in a story about heavy-handed policing tactics. From MSNBC, to Slate, to Politico, press outlets are noticing that the media has made the media’s treatment a central narrative of the coverage of Ferguson.

Some see the media’s embrace of their role as principal figures in the coverage of the Ferguson protests are understandable, if not justified. “Any journalist who stands on the front lines will inevitably be pushed, prodded or find themselves on the receiving end of a rubber bullet or tear-gas canister,” Politico’s Dylan Byers wrote. “In such an environment, it becomes near impossible not to identify with the protester.”

Some have noted that the media’s centrality to the story, and the undeniable fact that the protesters are receiving far more favorable coverage than are the police and National Guard troops managing them, was inevitable.

“[T]he media descended on Ferguson looking for the same thing that had led protesters to take to the streets: the truth,” Slate’s Josh Voorhees added. “That’s the real reason the media is siding with the protesters: What the people in the streets of Ferguson want is the same thing the journalists were sent there to find.”

Others have been less forgiving.

“[I]f you were an overly-ambitious, and perhaps quixotic, young reporter or blogger,” The Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis observed, “wouldn’t it make sense to intentionally become part of this sort of story — especially if you thought the risk-reward ratio was favorable.”

In any event, few disagree that the news media has shed its ostensible role as neutral and objective correspondents who merely observe events. Now, explaining events, providing context for their readers or viewers, or even become active participants in the story which they are covering is seen by many in the media as one of their responsibilities to the public.

Opinions vary as to how valuable the press’s new role is for news consumers, but none are debating whether or not the media’s role has changed.


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What a circus! I’m speechless!

cajunpatriot on August 21, 2014 at 6:03 PM

I don’t care what Al Jizeera or a reporter from al Jizerra says. It is own by Qatar which funds ISIS and Hamas.

Blake on August 21, 2014 at 6:03 PM

When the lecture on journalism has to come from Al Jazeera America you know you’re doing it wrong.

rbj on August 21, 2014 at 6:03 PM

“journalism” died decades ago.

TX-96 on August 21, 2014 at 6:06 PM

The Farce is strong in that one.

myiq2xu on August 21, 2014 at 6:08 PM

This is no lost when it comes to getting at the truth. That word is not in the corporate culture of Al Jazeera.

Does Noah think otherwise?

Walter L. Newton on August 21, 2014 at 6:08 PM

Seriously, all this talk about “journalism” is puzzling.
I don’t see any journalists.

Tard on August 21, 2014 at 6:09 PM

In any event, few disagree that the news media has shed its ostensible role as neutral and objective correspondents who merely observe events.

HAR! Where have you been the last few decades?

squint on August 21, 2014 at 6:09 PM

I heard a friend of mine talking about something she heard on Al Jazeera as if it was full of facts. Everything they say is suspect.

crankyoldlady on August 21, 2014 at 6:09 PM

So why doesn’t someone interview a police officer or two.

Cindy Munford on August 21, 2014 at 6:10 PM

Well, I’m so thankful these media people are there to give me context for my opinions.

Heaven forbid I might form one based on facts.

Dolce Far Niente on August 21, 2014 at 6:10 PM

I am curious about what the Al-Jazeera guy means about journalists “disrespecting” the place where Brown died.

Are these nasty people kicking over the teddy bears, candles and balloons placed there to commemorate this poor child?

//

Dolce Far Niente on August 21, 2014 at 6:14 PM

Well, I’m so thankful these media people are there to give me context for my opinions.

Heaven forbid I might form one based on facts.

Dolce Far Niente on August 21, 2014 at 6:10 PM

Facts are racist hate-speech nowadays.

The Narrative is all.

squint on August 21, 2014 at 6:16 PM

Allah can take his spot. He’ll fit right in with Don Lemon. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if like Lemon Allah has already reached out to the Brown family and told them he would help in any way possible.

The Notorious G.O.P on August 21, 2014 at 6:18 PM

Allah can take his spot. He’ll fit right in with Don Lemon. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if like Lemon Allah has already reached out to the Brown family and told them he would help in any way possible.

The Notorious G.O.P on August 21, 2014 at 6:18 PM

If that was on the board in Vegas, I’d put heavy money on it.

reddevil on August 21, 2014 at 6:20 PM

The media has been going with a false narrative created from whole cloth from the get-go. Mr. Schuessler doesn’t mention this, though, so I guess he’s ok with that.

Corporal Tunnel on August 21, 2014 at 6:21 PM

When the lecture on journalism has to come from Al Jazeera America you know you’re doing it wrong.

rbj on August 21, 2014 at 6:03 PM

No kidding. When the leftist media is more than even a propaganda arm like Al Jazeers can stomach that’s saying something.

HotAirian on August 21, 2014 at 6:22 PM

Nothing short of attention seeking circus monkeys, the media AND the protesters are.

A thug gets his just due in the commission of several felonies, and the gangstas go ape shlt over it all, followed by the media whores descending like locusts to fan the flames of a totally fabricated ‘tragedy’ and ‘miscarriage of justice’.

What’s that meme going around Facebook lately?? “Not my circus…Not my monkeys”…That about sums it all up…

bimmcorp on August 21, 2014 at 6:23 PM

“There are now hundreds of journalists from all over the world coming to Ferguson to film what has become a spectacle. I get the sense that many feel this is their career-maker,” Schuessler concluded. “We should all be ashamed, and I cannot do it anymore.”

“There are more media than protesters now in Ferguson” — Gutfeld

Change they can all believe in

Schadenfreude on August 21, 2014 at 6:24 PM

Even Sports Illustrated Sent Someone To Ferguson

Like any good journo in Ferguson, Sports Illustrated writer Robert Klemko was arrested in Ferguson earlier in the week. He kindly live tweeted the incident, pointing out that his arrest lasted two minutes. The discomfort of being tear gassed lasted a bit longer. And now he’s on NPR talking about his story on football in Ferguson.

tetriskid on August 21, 2014 at 6:28 PM

To be fair, the usual media hos, Jesse and Al, are also criticizing rising inflation.

whatcat on August 21, 2014 at 6:29 PM

“Any journalist who stands on the front lines will inevitably be pushed, prodded or find themselves on the receiving end of a rubber bullet or tear-gas canister,” Politico’s Dylan Byers wrote. “In such an environment, it becomes near impossible not to identify with the protester.”

This same dumb ass would probably bitch when a reporter gets killed in a war zone.

Years ago I was at the scene of a riot. Someone in the crowd threw a large chunk of concrete at us. Didn’t hit a cop, they hit a newspaper reporter.

Was the press pissed at the rioters? No! They were pissed because one of their own got hurt BECAUSE THE POLICE DID NOT PROTECT THEM.

Go figure.

GarandFan on August 21, 2014 at 6:30 PM

Okay who told them we are laughing at them? I know they aren’t self aware enough to figure it out themselves or they wouldn’t be there after 11 days.

DanMan on August 21, 2014 at 6:33 PM

And these news outlets like to tell us how they don’t have money to have reporters on scene anymore because of cutbacks. Couldn’t they pool their money together and send just a few people? It would cut costs and keep them out of the way.

dforston on August 21, 2014 at 6:34 PM

a journalist with Al Jazeera

No such thing.

Ronnie on August 21, 2014 at 6:36 PM

Who else beside Shemp and Greta did the OJ trial career-make? That’s all these guys want. It’s sickening.

Love how they pretend to go all Woodward & Bernstein on fat-nothings like Valerie Plame, but sit with their thumbs up their butts for F&F, Benghazi, Ocare, Christian-slaughter, IRS, etc etc.

Here’s my advice to them: Go get a real job. One within your demonstrated abilities. Maybe something like picking up used condoms and human feces after the next Occupy protest.

No one 1/2 a brain reads or watches your tripe anyway.

MistyLane on August 21, 2014 at 6:39 PM

Okay who told them we are laughing at them?

DanMan on August 21, 2014 at 6:33 PM

Aquateen.

katy the mean old lady on August 21, 2014 at 6:39 PM

I’m now reading the media is pulling out because it’s clear the dead ‘kid’ was the aggressor and That Does Not Fit The Narrative.

Tomorrow, we’ll read the kid was pregnant and the cop holds teenage hitchhikers in his rape dungeon.
The next day, it will be the dead kid who held the teens and the cop is pregnant.

Tard on August 21, 2014 at 6:42 PM

The Martyred Media isn’t over till Nancy Grace sings.

portlandon on August 21, 2014 at 6:42 PM

If they want a story that has legs and could make them famous, why don’t they spend this much time on the IRS.

Tater Salad on August 21, 2014 at 6:43 PM

Classic.
Aljeera unknown doing exactly what he protests.

He’s the headline lol

seesalrun2 on August 21, 2014 at 6:45 PM

What we see there is a mob plain and simple. And never has a mob led to truth or justice. The Journalists are characterless opportunists trying to ride the mob.

Red Widow on August 21, 2014 at 6:51 PM

When it’s too much for a Muslim apologist we’ve really gone over the top.

Mojave Mark on August 21, 2014 at 6:54 PM

But working for Hamas’s media wing was a ok.

Pegcity on August 21, 2014 at 6:54 PM

It is not merely conservative sources who have noticed that the press is not only failing to cover the unrest in Ferguson objectively, but are actively embracing their new roles as central figures in a story about heavy-handed policing tactics.

posted at 6:01 pm on August 21, 2014 by Noah Rothman

Oh yea, just last week, a liberal blogger trumpeted the bogus “heavy-handed” police narrative at Daily Kos hotair.com:

These reporters’ account of their detention, the only account available as police have failed to explain why those reporters were physically bound and detained, suggests that the police were responding in a heavy-handed and unprovoked fashion.

posted at 10:01 am on August 14, 2014 by Noah Rothman

sauldalinsky on August 21, 2014 at 6:54 PM

When the lecture on journalism has to come from Al Jazeera America you know you’re doing it wrong.

+100. You win the Internets, today.

Like a crack wh*re leaving a social gathering because of the sleazy, immoral behavior going on.

orangemtl on August 21, 2014 at 6:57 PM

You mean Barry’s lost Mohammed’s network?

formwiz on August 21, 2014 at 6:58 PM

These are not journalists but rather democrat narrative shapers. They want a persecution of the police officer as much as the hack democrat governor. .Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, even Ben Crump. What next? Can they find prosecutors and judges as corrupt as the buffoons in Florida?

I guess that’s why we have affirmative action!

Lonetown on August 21, 2014 at 7:12 PM

But, will Hot Air ever “QUIT” Ferguson?

I’m trying to imagine what it will be like when Hot Air finally runs out of Ferguson material … Does Hot Air have a future after Ferguson?

Pork-Chop on August 21, 2014 at 7:13 PM

Meanwhile, in other news, Chris Hayes adds “War Correspondent” to his resume and Ryan J Reilly and Wesley Lowery add “Down For the Schtruggle” to their list of job attributes…

Newtie and the Beauty on August 21, 2014 at 7:20 PM

Though much of the criticism of Al Jazeera, that I’m reading here has merit, on occasion, they do get it right. It is not a new phenomenon that news organizations operate from their own political viewpoints. Reading newspapers from Lincoln’s day will disavow you of any ideas about journalistic objectivity. The openly Democrat newspapers hated him and the Republican leaning papers loved him. That is why reading from a variety of sources is important. Some of the lefty sources are awful hard to get through, though. There’s only so much immaturity a man my age can handle.

yesiamapirate on August 21, 2014 at 7:31 PM

Nice to know there is at least one journalist with integrity. Yes, this has become a spectacle as the wall to wall coverage continues.

It’s like a daily reality show now. And hardly any of the reporters are impartial.

cat_owner on August 21, 2014 at 7:52 PM

Whats the solution? Its very simple.

Stop issuing press credentials. Stop treating the press as if they have a right to be anywhere they want to be. Stop providing protection to press during these sort of events.

Force the press to become what they pretend to be: Disinterested observers.

“So…you want to cover the riots? Help yourself. Its two blocks…thata way. Just walk towards towards the sounds. Oh….if you need help, don’t call us. We’re busy right now.”

BobMbx on August 21, 2014 at 8:24 PM

We have a random act of journalism coming from al Jazzera? Our press should be ashamed, but they aren’t.

bflat879 on August 21, 2014 at 9:47 PM

MSM to Ferguson: I just can’t quit you.

Axeman on August 21, 2014 at 9:48 PM

can we put together a petition to get Matt Lewis to ‘report’ from MoJo…or the Nation?

it is so sad to see Klaus over at DD…a nominal D, filled with thoughtful cometary…and this bozo

something is wrong

r keller on August 21, 2014 at 10:10 PM

All of these witnesses MSNBC keeps pulling in all have contradicting statements about what happened in Ferguson. I say let’s go back to Dorian Johnson’s original accounting of the incident…..

Realdemocrat1 on August 21, 2014 at 10:33 PM

Yes but.. isn’t it possible he was going to quit anyway? Or get laid off? Consider the employer.

PunditFaP on August 22, 2014 at 12:59 AM

I’m going to say something unpopular, which I believe must be noted. I don’t say it to be disrespectful in any way, or to make moral equivocation.

Is there not some parallel between this analysis and the behavior of reporters in the field in other countries? Should there not be some expectation of injury, or other harm, when you place yourself in harm’s way?

Many people take risks to grow their careers, and sometimes those risks are minor and the rewards great. Sometimes not. But I see a dramatic difference between the opposing belligerents and their assumption of risk, and others who are spectators who assume those same risks. If those spectators get hurt, I would question why they got so close to the action in the first place. I wouldn’t make the leap to feel sorry for them, or at the very least not more sorry than for the same injuries to one of the belligerents.

What lessons can we learn when we compare the behavior of reporters in Ferguson to the ones covering Iraq/Syria/ISIS?

Bigurn on August 22, 2014 at 6:31 AM