Cameron Harper called a man a ‘chump’ live and on the air during the UPN 9pm broadcast tonight.
I didn’t see the full story but it was about claims that builders caused some of the problems with the floodwaters in Southaven on Friday.
In the story, Craig Bell confronted workers in and around the area of Greenbrook about who’s responsible for the problem. The builders didn’t answer his questions and he pursued them. The builders told Bell they weren’t responsible and they didn’t know what caused the flooding.
Bell says while he was asking the questions the folks from C&H Construction sent a water truck to spray him and his videographer.
Watching the story on the 24 website, it seems that Cameron ad-libbed a followup saying “we don’t shut off our cameras because some fool doesn’t like the question”. But then during the 9pm broadcast with the same story it seemed that Cameron scripted the follow-up “here’s the deal. We don’t shut off our cameras just because some chump doesn’t like the questions.”
He also made a point to rename the construction company “in case the lawyers are watching”.
I know 24 is shaking things up a bit in the market doing stories that other stations don’t do (Road Rebels), and they’ve given the anchors the freedom to be candid and say what they want to say, but it seems a bit of a stretch to me for the news anchor to go name-calling during a newscast. Not once…but twice.
I don’t know if anyone knows for sure that this construction company is to blame for the flooding. It’s possible, sure. But until engineers look closely at the problem no one knows who’s to blame.
Isn’t it irresponsible to call someone a fool and a chump just because they don’t want to talk to a reporter? I doubt the folks who were approached have the authority from their employer to go and talk to the news media.
Maybe the lawyers were watching.