We started this blog a few years ago to provide news and commentary in the style and tradition of Edward R. Murrow. We have tried to keep to Mr. Murrow's ideas of journalistic integrity and fairness. And we celebrate any blogger or journalist who also adhere to these ideals.
As many of you are aware, last Thursday there was a fatal shooting near the OccupyOakland encampment in downtown Oakland (we will comment on this and on OccupyOakland in another post). A candlelight vigil was held later in the evening for the victim.
However, there was allegedly an incident where a network reporter knocked over some candles during the vigil. And here is where the trouble begins.
Someone with the Twitter account @OccupyOakland (note I say Twitter account and not hashtag) tweeted the following:
Tonight Kristen Sze of Channel 7 ABC news kicked over a bunch of vigil candles and then assaulted a person lighting them. Just Saying #OO
As you can imagine, tweets were coming all over the place stating that there should be a boycott of ABC7 and that Sze should be punished. The problem with this accusation? Sze was not there -- she was home asleep (Sze anchors the early morning news on ABC7 and is on the air at 4:30 a.m.). Sze tweeted that she went to bed at 8:00 p.m. (about the time that the vigil started).
There was a major outcry from many people, including The Shadow, asking them to retract this statement.
Now enter Janelle Wang, former ABC7 reporter and now NBC Bay Area news anchor. Wang defended Sze tweeting that "She never works nights. She sleeps at 7:30pm and goes into work at 3am"
So what does @OccupyOakland do. They issue the following tweet hours later:
Correction - it was Janelle Wang who pushed the protester last night after kicking over candles. #OccupyOakland #OWS Sorry Kristen Sze.
The problem with this new accusation -- Wang was not there either. Wang's response to the accusation:
I support you @occupyoakland but please get your info straight. It wasn't me either. I also don't work nights.
So now @OccupyOakland falsely accuses two news anchors (again, note I say NEWS ANCHORS and not FIELD REPORTERS) of disrupting this vigil. And we wonder why.
(Photo courtesy ABC7)
(Photo courtesy NBC Bay Area)
Could it be the fact that both women are Asian as the deciding factor in making this accusation? So who will the next Asian person be?
The Shadow has spoken to several reputable sources and we believe we know the identity of the reporter involved and that this entire incident was accidental. However, because this is only speculation and for her safety, we will not release her name in this blog.
Bottom line here -- Occupy Oakland owes both Sze and Wang a public apology. Also, because of these false accusations and the reaction that it caused on Twitter for both Sze and Wang, The Shadow will no longer rely on tweets from Occupy Oakland as a news source. They have now lost all credibility with us.
The Shadow will give @OcuppyOakland a chance to respond to this post. People are welcome to respond in the comments section below or you can email us directly at this link.
We will respond to all comments.
Freedom of the press is an important right in the United States. But it is also the duty of anyone who reports news or gives commentary, and that includes The Shadow, to make sure that it is accurate. We hope that this never happens again.
Good night and good luck.