SEVERE WX : Flash Flood Watch - Flood Advisory - Flash Flood Warning View Alerts

Hannity criticized for Maryland shooting comments

Television and radio host Sean Hannity faced criticism for appearing to link comments made by Rep. Maxine Waters and a fatal shooting at an Annapolis, Maryland, newspaper.

Posted: Jun 30, 2018 8:27 AM
Updated: Jun 30, 2018 8:29 AM

Do you hate reporters? Or do you love them? As somebody whose newspaper career lasted long enough to get a second mortgage and run for the Senate, I assure you that both absolute attitudes are both absolutely wrong.

Which sounds like something a journalist would say, right? Right. But listen anyway:

Journalists are neither as heroic as they were once seen in the mid-1970s glow of post-Watergate glory nor as unscrupulous as they're often depicted on network TV crime dramas where "nosy reporters" come across as amoral creeps ruining the day of a public servant or, worse, a glamorous celebrity.

I spent 30-something years as a full-time newspaper person and I've been welcomed into people's living rooms and shoved out of them; infrequently from the same room within minutes. I've been hollered at, lied to, threatened, manipulated, insulted and ignored with extreme prejudice.

None of it mattered as long as I got my facts straight and could back them up whenever they were shaped into readable copy. I didn't expect to be loved or even appreciated for it. I just showed up for work wondering what would happen next and how I'd make it clear to others.

I didn't know journalists Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara and Wendi Winters. But I feel safe in saying they carried roughly similar expectations with them Thursday into the newsroom of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland. What they couldn't have expected was that they wouldn't leave the building alive.

The four journalists, along with sales associate Rebecca Smith, were shot dead at or near their desks Thursday afternoon by a man armed with a shotgun and smoke grenades. Authorities say the suspect, identified as Jarrod W. Ramos, had a grievance with the paper over a story published seven years before about a guilty plea in a harassment case. Apparently, he believed his privacy had been invaded -- by a story whose facts were available to anybody, reporter or not, with access to court records.

From the available information about the "offending" story, it's one that I would have routinely written without prejudice to its subject and with acknowledgment of the publicly available facts. In other words, I would have been doing my job, nothing more, nothing less.

This is, finally, what's so infuriating and chilling about what happened in Annapolis on Thursday: that simply carrying out one's obligation to tell the truth can get one murdered.

The grief and outrage still coursing throughout America over this act is, on some level, reassuring in that most of the nation, however its individual citizens may feel about journalists, doesn't believe they should be murdered for doing their jobs.

I wish, however, that I could feel more assured in an era where trolls now feel even more entitled by social media outlets and the internet to say all manner of ugly, horrific and violent things that are as dangerously, even willfully misinformed as the alleged motives behind yesterday's murders.

In a time when newspapers continue to contract, compress or go under entirely, forcing dedicated honest professionals to find the best ways to tell people what they need to know, the last thing -- the very last thing -- this emotionally battered republic needs is a free press that fears for its life for wishing to stay free.

Because I'm trained to be skeptical, even towards my own skepticism, I willing to concede I'm overreacting. And I would be -- if this were 40, 30 or even 20 years ago. I'm not so sanguine about it now.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2537823

Reported Deaths: 56270
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings33533010862
Queens31620210308
Suffolk2406933616
Nassau2150853300
Bronx2081546756
New York1687034643
Westchester1439382344
Erie1073581959
Richmond893051939
Monroe851201189
Orange57824920
Rockland53317779
Onondaga52624765
Dutchess35811500
Albany31130390
Oneida28916592
Broome24801409
Niagara24280398
Saratoga20545205
Ulster17373280
Schenectady16970229
Rensselaer15006170
Chautauqua12556175
Putnam1255098
Oswego11868115
Chemung11069158
St. Lawrence10742128
Steuben10304174
Ontario9467111
Jefferson903578
Cayuga8745107
Sullivan854183
Wayne830685
Cattaraugus7863118
Genesee7120132
Herkimer6890129
Clinton683740
Tompkins658059
Fulton6465104
Madison6288102
Montgomery6063143
Livingston581171
Warren559484
Cortland541380
Tioga519472
Columbia5053111
Chenango474688
Allegany471598
Washington471468
Otsego462655
Wyoming443458
Greene442587
Orleans441089
Franklin436422
Lewis365338
Delaware360348
Seneca276763
Essex237533
Schoharie233723
Yates167728
Schuyler155817
Hamilton4393
Unassigned14123
Out of NY0319
Utica
Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 54°
Oneonta
Cloudy
49° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 44°
Herkimer
Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 54°
Old Forge
Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 54°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Game Day Deals - New Deals Each Week
Chapter Aesthetic October Giveaway
Cool To Be Kind 2021
Looking for work or looking to hire? Check out the WKTV Job Fair!
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve