Author Topic: Handing it to a jerk on live TV  (Read 8778 times)

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jmarvellous

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Re: Handing it to a bully on live TV
« Reply #60 on: October 04, 2012, 12:07:43 PM »
I was the person who sorted through letters to the editor for a major daily newspaper. The sheer number of letters we got was incredible, and almost daily they insulted our writers, our editorial board, me personally or the newspaper or journalism in general. Often they included racist, sexist, ageist or just plain prejudiced remarks; sometimes they went so far as telling us we should commit suicide, quit or otherwise do dangerous, shocking and horrible things. We sent them to the circular file as a matter of policy. (Actually, I kept them in a stack and had a policy of not publishing only borderline-offensive letters by frequently prejudiced or threatening writers, but this wasn't universal.)

Responding to idiots (or taking their comments personally) just feeds the beast, even if those particular idiots are articulate enough to be read on-air. I'm disappointed that she gave into this alluring temptation, though in reading the thread I understand the situation better. It's brought a person who depends on popularity among viewers a little more job security, sure, but I'm just not a fan of airing your dirty 'fan' mail on air no matter what. This should've stayed private.

I have one former colleague, a female sportswriter of considerable talent who doesn't look the sportswriter part -- lots of makeup, bright clothes and heels, older than the average female sportswriter and overweight -- and she gets tweeted at or emailed about how ugly/fat she is every time she says something someone doesn't like. It's clear it gets to her, and I feel terrible for her. But at the same time, it'd be SO unprofessional (given our business's code of ethics) to retort or even respond to anything but the sports part of their messages.

Fleur

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Re: Handing it to a bully on live TV
« Reply #61 on: October 04, 2012, 01:08:13 PM »
I was the person who sorted through letters to the editor for a major daily newspaper. The sheer number of letters we got was incredible, and almost daily they insulted our writers, our editorial board, me personally or the newspaper or journalism in general. Often they included racist, sexist, ageist or just plain prejudiced remarks; sometimes they went so far as telling us we should commit suicide, quit or otherwise do dangerous, shocking and horrible things. We sent them to the circular file as a matter of policy. (Actually, I kept them in a stack and had a policy of not publishing only borderline-offensive letters by frequently prejudiced or threatening writers, but this wasn't universal.)

Responding to idiots (or taking their comments personally) just feeds the beast, even if those particular idiots are articulate enough to be read on-air. I'm disappointed that she gave into this alluring temptation, though in reading the thread I understand the situation better. It's brought a person who depends on popularity among viewers a little more job security, sure, but I'm just not a fan of airing your dirty 'fan' mail on air no matter what. This should've stayed private.

I have one former colleague, a female sportswriter of considerable talent who doesn't look the sportswriter part -- lots of makeup, bright clothes and heels, older than the average female sportswriter and overweight -- and she gets tweeted at or emailed about how ugly/fat she is every time she says something someone doesn't like. It's clear it gets to her, and I feel terrible for her. But at the same time, it'd be SO unprofessional (given our business's code of ethics) to retort or even respond to anything but the sports part of their messages.

Respectfully, I disagree with you. I understand that you have experience which most of us in this thread lack, but I am not persuaded that this news anchor was unprofessional. I don't see anything 'disappointing' in her actions, and I think to portay her behaviour as 'feeding the beast' is unfair. I'm sorry, and I know that this wasn't your intention, but that smacks to me of victim blaming. I'm not picking on you, because I have seen varations of the 'standing up to bullies just gives them what they want' theme all over the internet, both regarding this story and other ones. I completely disagree with this point of view. Standing up to bullies, and showing them that their ugly and cruel behaviour is unacceptable, is an act of great strength. It is true that there is strength in a 'dignified silence', but why should the onus of dignified behaviour always be put on the victim? Why shouldn't the bully be shown for the mean and unprofessional person he/she is?

Ereine

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Re: Handing it to a bully on live TV
« Reply #62 on: October 04, 2012, 01:15:25 PM »
I was the person who sorted through letters to the editor for a major daily newspaper. The sheer number of letters we got was incredible, and almost daily they insulted our writers, our editorial board, me personally or the newspaper or journalism in general. Often they included racist, sexist, ageist or just plain prejudiced remarks; sometimes they went so far as telling us we should commit suicide, quit or otherwise do dangerous, shocking and horrible things. We sent them to the circular file as a matter of policy. (Actually, I kept them in a stack and had a policy of not publishing only borderline-offensive letters by frequently prejudiced or threatening writers, but this wasn't universal.)

Responding to idiots (or taking their comments personally) just feeds the beast, even if those particular idiots are articulate enough to be read on-air. I'm disappointed that she gave into this alluring temptation, though in reading the thread I understand the situation better. It's brought a person who depends on popularity among viewers a little more job security, sure, but I'm just not a fan of airing your dirty 'fan' mail on air no matter what. This should've stayed private.

I have one former colleague, a female sportswriter of considerable talent who doesn't look the sportswriter part -- lots of makeup, bright clothes and heels, older than the average female sportswriter and overweight -- and she gets tweeted at or emailed about how ugly/fat she is every time she says something someone doesn't like. It's clear it gets to her, and I feel terrible for her. But at the same time, it'd be SO unprofessional (given our business's code of ethics) to retort or even respond to anything but the sports part of their messages.

I think that this was a different type of situation. In your examples people get insulted because of something they write that people don't agree with and the insulters just pick the easiest things to be insulting about (though it's likely that they're harsher with the female sportswriter than they would be with her male colleagues) and I agree that that type of comments should be ignored. In this case the letter writer doesn't even watch her show and doesn't seem to have a problem with the content of it, he just doesn't like the way she looks. 

violinp

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Re: Handing it to a bully on live TV
« Reply #63 on: October 04, 2012, 01:20:55 PM »
With all due respect, jmarvellous, letters to the editor are not the same thing as a personal email chastising someone for their appearance. In the former case, the letter writers want an audience to listen to their pontificating. In the latter case, one man was trying to shame a woman for the way she looks.
"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends" - Harry Potter


Fleur

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Re: Handing it to a bully on live TV
« Reply #64 on: October 04, 2012, 01:21:54 PM »
With all due respect, jmarvellous, letters to the editor are not the same thing as a personal email chastising someone for their appearance. In the former case, the letter writers want an audience to listen to their pontificating. In the latter case, one man was trying to shame a woman for the way she looks.

That is also an excellent point.

jmarvellous

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Re: Handing it to a bully on live TV
« Reply #65 on: October 04, 2012, 01:40:26 PM »
With all due respect, jmarvellous, letters to the editor are not the same thing as a personal email chastising someone for their appearance. In the former case, the letter writers want an audience to listen to their pontificating. In the latter case, one man was trying to shame a woman for the way she looks.

I should point out that all our writers' email addresses were on their articles, and 75% of writers were CC'd on these letters -- and I was privvy to "private" emails in many cases, too, as well as being required to share any messages about an individual with that person and her boss before trashing them. I apologize for not including the stuff that's obvious to me but clearly not part of a wider audience's perception!

These people are clearly aiming to shame their audience, be it one person or thousands. In the case of the individual I mentioned, she gets it from all sides, daily. As I said, I know it hurts, but I don't think the situations are all that different and silence is still the best response, if not the only acceptable one.


Then again maybe I'm bitter because I tune into TV news expecting actual big, newsy events and the nightly half hour is increasingly this kind of stuff.

Amava

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Re: Handing it to a bully on live TV
« Reply #66 on: October 04, 2012, 01:53:31 PM »
Then again maybe I'm bitter because I tune into TV news expecting actual big, newsy events and the nightly half hour is increasingly this kind of stuff.

Maybe one day we will live in a society where "It is not okay to put others down because of their weight" will no longer be news for anyone. Where teaching people that they are allowed to be happy in their skin is no longer necessary. Where respecting others will be a given.

Until that day, I will support anyone who makes an effort to bring it people's attention.

bansidhe

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Re: Handing it to a bully on live TV
« Reply #67 on: October 04, 2012, 02:21:19 PM »
If the thread title said "Handing it to a jerk on live TV," the essential issues would still be the same.

And now the thread title says exactly that.  :)
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bansidhe

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Re: Handing it to a bully on live TV
« Reply #68 on: October 04, 2012, 02:36:24 PM »
I have one former colleague, a female sportswriter of considerable talent who doesn't look the sportswriter part -- lots of makeup, bright clothes and heels, older than the average female sportswriter and overweight -- and she gets tweeted at or emailed about how ugly/fat she is every time she says something someone doesn't like. It's clear it gets to her, and I feel terrible for her. But at the same time, it'd be SO unprofessional (given our business's code of ethics) to retort or even respond to anything but the sports part of their messages.

I added some bolding to clarify my take on the situation. The fact that she gets comments about her appearance when people disagree with something she said about sports speaks volumes. Mostly it says "In this society, women's primary and most valuable asset is their appearance. If their appearance doesn't pass muster with men -- the men's appearance notwithstanding - - then they're basically worthless."

That's the same kind of message I see in the lawyer's e-mail to Jennifer Livingston. He's annoyed because she doesn't meet society's standard of beauty and he believes that's her duty as a woman. Notice that he doesn't point out that her competence as a newscaster or a career woman serves as a great role model for young girls. It's all about the way she looks.

On another much less polite site I hang out on, the vast majority of the responses to this story were basically, "But she IS fat! He didn't do anything wrong by pointing it out."

I've got years of anorexia behind me and current food-related issues so this kind of attitude seriously annoys me. It is pervasive and widespread and needs to be changed, and there is no way it will be changed unless people speak up. I'm glad Jennifer Livingston spoke up.

Esan ozenki!

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Roodabega

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Re: Handing it to a jerk on live TV
« Reply #69 on: October 04, 2012, 02:54:21 PM »
I think that another aspect to this incident which isn't widely publicised is that the lawyer didn't just send the email to her, he sent it to every email address at the station that he could find.  That's one reason why the husband responded on facebook originally, because he also received the email.

The email writer wasn't trying to be helpful, he was trying to humiliate her to do something that he wanted.  I think she did the right thing in responding.

Two Ravens

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Re: Handing it to a jerk on live TV
« Reply #70 on: October 04, 2012, 03:06:02 PM »
I think that another aspect to this incident which isn't widely publicised is that the lawyer didn't just send the email to her, he sent it to every email address at the station that he could find.  That's one reason why the husband responded on facebook originally, because he also received the email.

The email writer wasn't trying to be helpful, he was trying to humiliate her to do something that he wanted.  I think she did the right thing in responding.

Do you have a link where this is mentioned?

JoieGirl7

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Re: Handing it to a bully on live TV
« Reply #71 on: October 04, 2012, 04:44:49 PM »
Then again maybe I'm bitter because I tune into TV news expecting actual big, newsy events and the nightly half hour is increasingly this kind of stuff.

Maybe one day we will live in a society where "It is not okay to put others down because of their weight" will no longer be news for anyone. Where teaching people that they are allowed to be happy in their skin is no longer necessary. Where respecting others will be a given.

Until that day, I will support anyone who makes an effort to bring it people's attention.

You can't bring everything to everyone's attention.  It actually comes to a point where saturation is reached and no one pays attention anymore.   Doing things like this is not going to create a utopian society where no one is insulted for how they look.  It's certainly not going to stop letter writing trolls.

Do you really think that the guy who sent that letter doesn't know that what he's doing is wrong?  Of course he does!  That's why he did it!

I agree totally with jmarvellous.

Amava

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Re: Handing it to a bully on live TV
« Reply #72 on: October 04, 2012, 04:57:38 PM »
Then again maybe I'm bitter because I tune into TV news expecting actual big, newsy events and the nightly half hour is increasingly this kind of stuff.

Maybe one day we will live in a society where "It is not okay to put others down because of their weight" will no longer be news for anyone. Where teaching people that they are allowed to be happy in their skin is no longer necessary. Where respecting others will be a given.

Until that day, I will support anyone who makes an effort to bring it people's attention.

You can't bring everything to everyone's attention.  It actually comes to a point where saturation is reached and no one pays attention anymore.   Doing things like this is not going to create a utopian society where no one is insulted for how they look.  It's certainly not going to stop letter writing trolls.

Do you really think that the guy who sent that letter doesn't know that what he's doing is wrong?  Of course he does!  That's why he did it!

I agree totally with jmarvellous.

He may know that he's doing wrong, but the message is that those who are on the receiving end of such behaviour don't have to put up with it in silence.

Saturation? Let's get fed up with bullying, not with the protests of the targets.

Fleur

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Re: Handing it to a bully on live TV
« Reply #73 on: October 04, 2012, 05:02:04 PM »
Then again maybe I'm bitter because I tune into TV news expecting actual big, newsy events and the nightly half hour is increasingly this kind of stuff.

Maybe one day we will live in a society where "It is not okay to put others down because of their weight" will no longer be news for anyone. Where teaching people that they are allowed to be happy in their skin is no longer necessary. Where respecting others will be a given.

Until that day, I will support anyone who makes an effort to bring it people's attention.

You can't bring everything to everyone's attention.  It actually comes to a point where saturation is reached and no one pays attention anymore.   Doing things like this is not going to create a utopian society where no one is insulted for how they look.  It's certainly not going to stop letter writing trolls.

Do you really think that the guy who sent that letter doesn't know that what he's doing is wrong?  Of course he does!  That's why he did it!

I agree totally with jmarvellous.

He may know that he's doing wrong, but the message is that those who are on the receiving end of such behaviour don't have to put up with it in silence.

Saturation? Let's get fed up with bullying, not with the protests of the targets.

I could not agree more with the bolded. Why should bullying and cruelty be swept under the carpet? I hate this 'take it on the chin and toughen up' attitude, I don't think it helps anyone.

Moray

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Re: Handing it to a bully on live TV
« Reply #74 on: October 04, 2012, 05:04:13 PM »
Then again maybe I'm bitter because I tune into TV news expecting actual big, newsy events and the nightly half hour is increasingly this kind of stuff.

Maybe one day we will live in a society where "It is not okay to put others down because of their weight" will no longer be news for anyone. Where teaching people that they are allowed to be happy in their skin is no longer necessary. Where respecting others will be a given.

Until that day, I will support anyone who makes an effort to bring it people's attention.

You can't bring everything to everyone's attention.  It actually comes to a point where saturation is reached and no one pays attention anymore.   Doing things like this is not going to create a utopian society where no one is insulted for how they look.  It's certainly not going to stop letter writing trolls.

Do you really think that the guy who sent that letter doesn't know that what he's doing is wrong?  Of course he does!  That's why he did it!

I agree totally with jmarvellous.

He may know that he's doing wrong, but the message is that those who are on the receiving end of such behaviour don't have to put up with it in silence.

Saturation? Let's get fed up with bullying, not with the protests of the targets.

I could not agree more with the bolded. Why should bullying and cruelty be swept under the carpet? I hate this 'take it on the chin and toughen up' attitude, I don't think it helps anyone.

Agreed.
Utah