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The ABC/Melissa Lawrence incident » CounterPunch

June 8, 2013

via CounterPunch
 
Written by BP Markus
 

 
A television news crew crossed the line from simply reporting the news to becoming predatory on the public, and their actions had terrible consequences for someone they initially hoped to interview. Providence resident Melissa Lawrence’s teenaged daughter Ny’asia was shot in the back on Sunday. This week as the girl recovered from the bullet wound, the alleged shooter turned himself in. A team from local ABC affiliate WLNE went to interview Lawrence about it. But the ugliness that unfolded on camera provides a pretty clear picture of how news reporting in the United States is devolving from a public service into a self-serving cesspool of sensationalism, and leaving carnage along the way.
 
In video footage of the incident that went viral (see above), WLNE reporter Abbey Niezgoda can be seen approaching Lawrence in her front yard and asking her a very original question, “how do you feel about that?” But Lawrence didn’t want to be interviewed. At one point, Lawrence threw a rock at the cameraman and missed, but the interactions leading up to that moment are edited out. The brilliantly observant Niezgoda then asks into her mic, “Are you gonna throw rocks?” The team still didn’t leave. Lawrence goes in search of a bat. A smirk can be seen spreading over Niezgoda’s face as Lawrence goes inside.
 
It’s hard to tell what exactly went down, because the footage is heavily edited. What’s clear is although Ms. Lawrence made it abundantly obvious she didn’t want to talk, the news team refused to go.
When Lawrence emerges with a bat, Niezgoda implores, again into the mic, “Why are you attacking us, ma’ame,” as Lawrence desperately shouts, “Get away from me!” For the record, Lawrence wasn’t attacking them with the bat. She never raised it. Instead she held it at her side. She was trying to convince them to, you guessed it, get away from her.
 
Apparently the rocks and bat didn’t give this crew the hint they needed, so Lawrence ordered her two pit bull terriers to go after them. I’ve seen it described in news reports they “attacked” Niezgoda. They didn’t, actually. Instinctively, two or more dogs that mean to attack will surround first, then do harm. All Lawrence’s dogs did was herd a waddling, ridiculous 24-year-old reporter away from their home. If they were out to hurt her, they would have brought her down like a limping wildebeest. I’m no Cesar Millan but I know enough about dogs to know that.
 
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