Posted at 8:00 AM Jul 10, 2009By Geoff George
1. News is brought to the people.
2. The people take no notice.
3. News checks its hair in the men's room, or make-up in the lady's room.
4. Still nothing from the people.
5. News tries to make itself interesting, maybe tries to flirt from across the bar. 6. The people wave back, but continue with their own conversations.
7. By this point, news is moving across the bar, and its behavior starts to get a little gross, maybe even kinda handsy.
8. And, well, now the people are paying attention at least.
The news in the U.S. is fundamentally an extension of the pocketbook, and the more you want to fill that thing with money the less shame you're gonna have. I don't know if Fox 61 in Connecticut has reached step 7 yet, but if allegations are true, then they're certainly getting there.
Shelly Shindland, a reporter whose been with the station for fourteen years, is filing a discrimination complaint against her employers, citing numerous incidents of favoritism and borderline harassment against the older women of the newsroom. The bare facts seem to match up with Shindland's claims (which can be read in full here) at several points. 23-year-old Sarah French replaced 38-year-old Laurie Perez on the station's weekend desk, then French replaced 34-year-old Rebecca Stewart on the weekday desk, and then 42-year-old Susan Christensen was maybe, possibly asked to leave.
There are some juicier anecdotes in Shindland's actual complaint, including one about former station general manager Richard Graziano saying, "Hey, whatever works," in regards to possible ratings increases thanks to "tighter shirts" on female anchors. There's also mention of a promotion the station planned called "Naked News," in which female anchors were asked to appear as if they were wearing nothing. Probably not the best call if you're trying to avoid harassment suits.
So, don't get mad at French for coming in as the new anchor. Get mad at the money grubbers, the people after the green. It's their fault news gets drunk and creepy and starts shoving out the old in favor of the new and eventually loses sight of its principal mission altogether, which is to concentrate on the events and not just whether anybody's watching.