Rape/Sexual Abuse Victims
If you turned on your tv today, you probably saw the interview WAGA-TV out of Atlanta did with one of Bishop Eddie Long's accusers. Four men are suing Long accusing him of sexually abusing them. Long has denied the allegations. The interview with the alleged victim is now being aired on news outlets across the country. It certainly got my attention.
I have several problems with this interview. For one, many news organizations don't publish or air the names of alleged victims. This goes for cases of sexual abuse and rape. You could argue the four men have filed a lawsuit and therefore are publicly coming forward. Fine.
Here's my big issue with the interview and I base this only on what actually aired since I don't know the inner workings of WAGA's newsroom. From what I saw from their story, it's obvious they ambushed the alleged victim. They flew to Colorado and caught up with the accuser as he walked out of a grocery store, cameras rolling. The reporter approached the accuser and just started asking him questions. From the video, the accuser looked surprised. WAGA made clear in its report the accuser didn't want to talk at first but eventually changed his mind. Why couldn't the station just approach him outside of the grocery store and ask him for an interview. Why did they have to do it with cameras rolling. That is an ambush and I think that is wrong. The station will probably justify it by saying he eventually agreed to do the interview. That still doesn't make it right.
I asked News 7's managing editor whether we would ever do something like that. Mike Redding told me probably not. Redding told me the only justification for it would be if law enforcement gave us a strong indication that an accuser was lying and the accusations were false.
Shame on these national news organizations for now airing the ambush interview. They should know better since they themselves probably would never do it. I am sure they would argue that someone else did the interview. I say you are condoning this inappropriate practice by now airing it yourself.