The Spectacle Blog

Pitiful Little Protest Leads to Reporter’s Firing

By on 9.17.10 | 1:17PM

According to the Washington Post Doug McKelway, a reporter for the city's ABC affiliate WJLA, has been fired after he was suspended last month over a confrontation with his boss. The conflict arose because of a McKelway report about a demonstration by environmental groups, who protested during the BP/Gulf disaster over oil industry campaign contributions to members of Congress. Here is the report he delivered on July 20 from Capitol Hill:

As you see, McKelway was tasked with reporting on a miniscule protest. If it had been pro-life activists or some other conservative cause, he would have been given another assignment. So he made it newsworthy by introducing relevant information such as:

  • How few demonstrators there were, which in order to be worth reporting, would require the speculation he delivered about "where the movement is headed right now"
  • Identifying the protestors as representatives of "far left" environmental groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, which they are. Apparently it is only proper to identify ideology when the groups are "right-wing" or on the "far right"
  • President Obama's $77,051 in campaign contributions from BP, leading McKelway to raise the possibility that the environoiacs' are engaging in a "risky strategy" by accusing Congress members of taking "dirty oil money"
  • That (publicly) unpopular climate/energy legislation passed by the House faced such a tough road in the Senate that Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to even use the term "cap-and-trade"
  • That Democrats, as reflected by polls everywhere, face huge losses in Congress in November, which would seem to pertain to whether or not the Senate takes up a vote on cap-and-trade
  • That the last thing Dems, faced with dim electoral prospects, want to do is pass legislation that "imposes huge escalations in your electricity bill," which would seem to fit a presidential candidate's assertion not too long ago that cap-and-trade would make electricity rates "necessarily skyrocket"

WJLA news director Bill Lord cited "insubordination" and "misconduct" in McKelway's firing. Maybe that was the case, if McKelway's response crossed the line, but the fact is he was called into the boss's office for the type of reporting the formerly mainstream media does all the time.

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