Danny Glover continues looking at the strange debate that Susan Roesgen initiated at the Chicago Tea Party while she was supposed to be covering it, and reports for Accuracy in Media that even her colleagues in the media think she crossed the line. Former CNN reporter Eileen O’Connor, who now trains people to work in national media, says that Roesgen owes an apology to her interview subjects for rudeness and unprofessional behavior:
A former CNN reporter who served in key national and international reporting roles today criticized the network and Chicago-based reporter Susan Roesgen for their coverage of last week’s “tea party” in Chicago.
Eileen O’Connor, who is now a Washington-based lawyer and media trainer, said Roesgen’s on-camera confrontation with two protesters “crossed a journalistic line.”
“She needs to apologize,” O’Connor said of Roesgen. “She crossed a line. She crossed a journalistic line. … She was rude to people she was interviewing. I think there’s no excuse for that.”
O’Connor makes a good point here about the rebuttal coming from Roesgen’s defenders, in essence that she got antagonistic because protesters were mean to Roesgen and uncomplimentary to CNN. First, a seasoned reporter should have expected some of that, but more to the point, O’Connor notes that journalists reporting from riots and war don’t get this indignant. On the scale of provocations in the field, a chant of “CNN sucks” ranks pretty low.
Speaking of CNN, O’Connor also agrees that her former employers are doing everything they can to botch the response. A simple apology for Roesgen’s unprofessionalism would have cost them nothing and ended the story. Instead, CNN has gone into full Nixon mode, trying to kill off the video from YouTube and putting Roesgen out of reach on “vacation”. If Roesgen was unprofessional, then CNN is being childish and self-defeating. Maybe they should rehire O’Connor to train some of their executives.