Fox reporter Leland Vittert went all Geraldo Rivera as he got in the face of Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, while she was accompanied by Rev. Al Sharpton. Vittert hectored them until a security guard pushed him aside – and then Vittert blamed Sharpton for shoving him.
If you’ve watched even a minute of Fox News’ coverage of the Baltimore violence, you’ve almost certainly seen attacks on the African American mayor. Sharpton, of course, along with President Obama and Eric Holder, are the network’s perennial racial punching bags.
Yesterday, Vittert didn’t hide the edge in his voice when he “asked” Sharpton, “So, why can’t we ask questions? We can’t ask questions of a public official? I can ask questions and you will answer them? You’ll answer our questions then?”
“Yes, at the press conference,” Sharpton told him.
A security guard said, “Excuse us, excuse us, excuse us.” It was clearly he who pushed Vittert out of the way.
“Whoa, whoa,” Vittert said, making the most of what was really a non-incident.
Later, Vittert acknowledged it was a security guard, not Sharpton who pushed him.
In an opinion piece, I praised you for handling very loaded questions from opinionated colleagues (most notably Sean Hannity) with aplomb. You had a way of translating these slightly antagonistic questions from your in-studio colleagues into very relatable, open-ended questions for residents on the street…
You realize over time that if you’re dealing with Israelis or Palestinians or the Libyan rebels or a failed suicide bomber [Yes, Vittert has actually spoken to one], being antagonistic or being hostile is not helpful.
As my grandfather used to say, ‘Never treat pressure with pressure.’ It doesn’t work. You can ask anything, but ask it in a way that is respectful or thoughtful. Let them say their piece. And if you treat people with dignity and respect, they are smart enough to realize that you have a reasonable question and they’ll go ahead and give you an answer.
Do you think Vittert treated Rawlings-Blake and Sharpton with respect and dignity?
Crossposted from Newshounds.us