My Coworker's Children are Being Targeted

There are days when it makes me sad to see how folks operate. I am going to try to avoid blanket statements but I think this tale is worthy of repeating.

I work in a tv news operation and DC. My coworker Andrea McCarren has been working on a hell of a series about underage drinking, the stores that supply the alcohol and the effects it has on families and others in the area. She and her crew have been working their asses off on this story, trying to actually work something new that affects people, not just copy a newspaper headline.

Well since it began, she started receiving a lot of hate mail, email, Facebook, etc. That’s to be expected. Then her children began to take the brunt of the abuse, either over the internet or in school.

Sadly she has had to react to that, as described in this Washington Post article.

I work in a world where I accept that my job sometimes has personal consequences. I can deal with that. But the nasty assaults being made on her children by other children and some adults is sickening, and though I generally keep an upbeat view of the world around me, my curtains have been drawn a little tighter, and the room a little dimmer because of this.

Yeah you can say it should be expected. In hindsight I suppose it was. In all candor people in local news have felt themselves being relegated to irrelevance for so long, we’re surprised anyone noticed we even did a story about the problem.

But between this story and the one I am covering now where a young man is on trial for murdering his girlfriend in a drunken rage at UVA, I am beginning to have a dim view of young people who come from good backgrounds who think they are allowed whatever they want. I don’t want to adopt this belief, but it’s getting hard.

Thank you for reading my rant.

That’s appalling.

It is appalling, the comment that she ruined the weekend for kids, because teens like to rebel and drink … they shouldn’t be drinking. Though I am going to burn in hell for thinking that ‘well, the teens should just smoke weed like we did in the 70s …’ sigh

I’m close to the situation so I am trying not to overreact, and I look back and realize my op gives little info, for which I apologize.

To pull a quote from the story so people don’t have to jump:

*At first, the comments from viewers were just nasty. No problem. Andrea McCarren, a veteran TV reporter, could handle that.

But then the response to McCarren’s reports about underage drinking on WUSA (Channel 9) took a darker, more threatening turn. Specifically, her two teenage children were harassed at school by peers and on Facebook by “friends.”

The volume and intensity of the backlash became so overwhelming last week that McCarren and WUSA decided on an extraordinary step: She would pull herself off the air and hand her latest teen-drinking story to her colleague, anchor Derek McGinty, to present her work Tuesday night.

“My kids were targeted,” McCarren said. “That’s where I drew the line.”

The episode began after McCarren’s Feb. 1 report about Town Square Market, a liquor store in Northwest Washington that allegedly sold alcohol to minors as young as 14. McCarren and WUSA news photographer Dave Satchell collected footage of teens carrying out 12-packs of beer. The news crew recorded statements, using hidden microphones, from the minors about how easy it was to buy booze at the store.

The report drew e-mail and Facebook denunciations of McCarren from young people apparently angered that she had exposed an easy supply of illicit alcohol.

“Way to go! Not,” wrote one self-described college student in a profanity-laced posting. “You are now probably the MOST hated woman in the D.C. area. Yay you! What was the point really of doing that story? No one finds it interesting (well that’s obvious anyways because its channel 9 news), but you also just ruined weekends for all kids underage.”*

Anyway, it bugs me and I thank people for giving it a read.

Where are the parents of these idiot kids? Are they all pissed off because now they’ll have to buy the beer for the teens’ parties??

I’m guessing the school isn’t doing anything about the name-calling and other crap her kids are being subjected to?

Idiots - there are too many of them.

That really is appalling. I will never understand some people. How can they think harassing the reported and her children, for goodness’ sake, is the right thing to do?

They are in no way concerned w/ ‘right’ in this instance; their only concern is their personal want and nothing should supersede it w/o their express permission. The harassers are vile, selfish people w/ more money than brains and more time on their hands than productive work. Ironically, the free speech they’re exercising is the same right this reporter is getting attacked for.

I think a better route to have taken would have been if she showed up on the doorstep the parents of the FB haters with a cameraman, holding a copy of their child’s post and then asked the parents to comment.

I’m sorry your friend has had to endure this, on her own behalf as well as her children’s.

I can’t quite wrap my head around people targeting her kids. It’s illogical and reprehensible and quite frankly bizarre—how do these people would imagine it’s going to be effective?

I disagree with minimum drinking ages. I think it’s part of the problem (alcohol=“forbidden fruit”) and contributes to unhealthy drinking practices. I’m only posting that to let you know that the people who hold this position aren’t all like these morons. There are a great many reasons to disagree with the current law, but “teens should rebel” isn’t one of them, and none of them excuse this kind of behavior.

That would make a great follow-up!

I get the impression it’s teens targeting her kids and saying “teens should rebel.” Logical and excusable are not always hallmarks of teens who feel they’re being denied.

What I don’t get is the twice-repeated assertion it’s wealthy teens behind this. Is there something I’ve missed indicating this nastiness is coming from some elite?

Though I work here I am not fully up on the regional intel other than to say I believe the areas where the store is and where the teen party was busted on camera are some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in America, and these children are the children of the DC elite. So that adds a little class warfare twist to the story, not entirely undeserved I might add.

You’re entirely correct on this point. The store is in Georgetown and the school (Walt Whitman) is very well-heeled. There was a huge flap a few years ago over the (lack of) punishment for the “Whitman 5”.

I’ve taken the liberty of forwarding the stories to a radio personality in St. Louis (formerly of WARW and others).