When Journalists Commit Domestic Violence - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
When Journalists Commit Domestic Violence

Lo and behold, it seems that the media itself has a domestic violence problem. Ten cases discovered at first Google. Which is twice as many, to be specific, as the five cases that have had the media in such a frenzy over domestic violence in the National Football League.

Where are these ten cases to be found? Two cases at ESPN, with the rest spread out over affiliates of ABC, CBS, NBC and, yes, the New York Times. And there are others for television stations not affiliated with the major networks. With all this massive focus on what the Wall Street Journal calls “moral preening” in the media about domestic violence in the NFL — isn’t it a tad curious that the same “moral preening” is absent, that the camera never swings around to the media itself?

Five cases in the NFL have launched this media uproar, accompanied by an abundance of moral posturing. There has been no hesitation to spotlight the players named in those five cases: Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens, Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings, Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers, Jonathan Dwyer of the Arizona Cardinals, and Ray McDonald of the San Francisco 49ers.

Not satisfied with simply reporting these five cases, the media has used them to paint the entire NFL as a veritable athletic Evil Empire of domestic abuse. Zeroing in like a laser on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and various team owners or coaches as so many major and minor Darth Vaders.

But we find accounts of journalists arrested for domestic violence pop up precisely as they do with the NFL — in isolated accounts across the country. The difference? For some curious reason the media does not take all these stories and tie them together to cast a shadow of doubt and suspicion on the entire media.

So let’s go to Mr. Google for a look at domestic violence in the media. Instead of naming names, I’ll simply give the network involved and provide links to news accounts from the media itself. Names at this point are irrelevant. In the case of the NFL the media likes to insist there is a pattern of abuse, so we’ll focus on the pattern. There’s nothing secret here — no purloined court documents or leaked scoops.

• ESPN: Two ESPN personalities have been arrested for domestic violence: the first in August 2010, the second in February 2011. In May 2011 the charges in the second case were dropped, with an agreement to accept six months of probation.

• CBS: In 2009, the CBS affiliate WJZ in Baltimore saw a longtime reporter arrested and two years later re-arrested in a domestic violence case.

• CBS: In February 2013, CBS New York affiliate WCBS saw its anchor arrested and making local headlines with a threat to kill his wife. He later “completed a 26-week program for those involved in family violence as well undergoing psychological and substance evaluation and treatment,” after which the judge in the case permitted him “to take back his guilty pleas to second-degree threatening and breach of peace charges [were] dropped. 

• CBS: Last year, KCTV, the network’s Kansas City affiliate, saw its anchor arrested on a domestic violence charge.

• ABC: The ABC Milwaukee affiliate’s sports director was arrested for domestic violence in 2012. A month afterwards the decision was made by the local prosecutor not to charge him.

• ABC: The Asheville, North Carolina ABC affiliate saw a reporter and his wife arrested last fall and charged with “misdemeanor assault.” Both declined to press charges.

• ABC: The New York WABC outlet found its weatherman caught up in a charge of “misdemeanor assault” last year.

• NBC: A female anchor at NBC’s El Paso affiliate was arrested on a domestic violence charge last year.

• New York Times: Yes, a Times journalist — who also worked for CBS — was arrested for “disorderly conduct” in May 2011 after an argument with his wife “turned physical,” according to the New York Daily News. The Daily News also reported that the same week of his arrest he spoke at — you can’t make it up — a “conference… that benefited victims of domestic violence.”

One could go on. But here are ten cases of media personalities — two of them from ESPN — being arrested on charges of domestic violence or “misdemeanor assault” or some such. Here are people who cover sports news and plain old fashioned vanilla news, both of which are filled — by the media itself — with stories of violence. All work in a profession that is intensely competitive. Is there a connection? A causal factor — as is claimed with the NFL? Does all that tension in the newsroom workplace spill over into violence on the home front? The media isn’t saying. In fact, a couple years back, one of those ESPN personalities arrested for domestic violence was busy writing about the NFL’s “culture of violence.”

Can you imagine the head of ESPN or any of these networks or the owner of the New York Times getting the kinds of questions from a reporter like those dished at Roger Goodell in his press conference the other day? Let’s take just one of those actual questions to Goodell — found here — and turn it into a question for the leaders of media companies named above:

If any of these victims had been someone you love, would you be satisfied with the way the network/paper has handled this crisis, and what would you say to them? 

Yet it doesn’t happen. How can this glaring double standard exist? The NFL — like SUVs, religion, the fossil fuels industry, and a long list of products and institutions — is the target of ruling class disdain. But instead of taking on these targets in leftist sights directly, they are approached sideways or at the edges. Cautiously at first, then, when enough steam is picked up, in a full-fledged attack designed to eliminate the offending target once and for all. Thus targeting SUVs begins with sniping at big vehicles on urban streets, then moves to the gas-guzzler theme, then finally to the question of banning them outright because they are responsible for global warming. Getting rid of prayer in school becomes the demand that religious institutions that oppose birth control be forced to violate their faith. Restricting this gun or that leads to a demand for outright gun bans. And so on.

Writ large through all this nonsense is the double standard. Thus Al Gore and Leo DiCaprio fly around on private jets to demand the rest of us live by their rules of climate change. Hollywood stars favor gun control but live behind gated houses with gun-toting body guards.

In the case of the NFL the attack is on football itself and has been under way for some time. There is the concussion business. Now the attack on the Washington Redskins, demanding a name change even when polls show huge majorities oppose the change. The not-so-subtle implication is that football is racist. Another strike against the sport.

Have no doubt. This latest attack on the NFL may be centered on domestic violence, but the target is football itself. The facts mean nothing. As noted here over at Breitbart News where the headline read


It turns out that the guys in the stands hit their wives a lot more than the guys on the field.

But because TV cameras obsess over the activities of football players and not football watchers, the guys in the seats believe the guys in the cleats use their wives as tackling dummies in their off hours. 

The article, by our friend Daniel J. Flynn, goes on to say:

After analyzing the statistics, criminologist Alfred Blumstein and sports writer Jeff Benedict informed in the statistics magazine Chance in 1999 that “NFL [crime] rates are less than half the general population rates.” This held for domestic violence. The authors conceded that “even though our initial assessment was that the NFL rates looked very high, we find them well below the rates for the general population.” 

Are ten cases of domestic abuse from personalities for ESPN, ABC, CBS, NBC, and the New York Times representative of the entire media? Of course not. Any more than these five much-discussed cases in the NFL are representative of the NFL. But this is representative — typical — of the ruling class.

Domestic violence in the NFL? It’s a huge problem. Domestic violence in the media? It doesn’t exist.

Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com. His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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