Washington, D.C. reporter Andrea McCarren stepped off the air for a week after her children were “harassed” over her reports, the Washington Post reported.
McCarren had been reporting on air since Feb. 1 about underage drinking for WUSA-9. In response, “her two teenage children were harassed at school by peers and on Facebook by ‘friends,'” according to the Washington Post. McCarren also received “e-mail and Facebook denunciations” over her reports exposing “how easy it was to buy booze” underage and on teenagers being busted for underage drinking.
See here WUSA’s special report “Wasted: Young and Using.”
So, McCarren’s next report, on pre-gaming, was broadcast by Derek McGinty and her children “stayed home from school.” On Feb. 5, McGinty told viewers about the response to the reports. McGinty explained that some viewers “have been enraged” even though McCarren didn’t “make a mistake” or “report something untrue.” He said: “They’re mad because Andrea McCarren told the truth about some of our kids boozing it up way too young, and now she’s on the bad end of some nasty emails and worse. Now as for the angry teenagers, I get it.”
McCarren even contacted the police over the reaction to her reporting because of a Facebook post that ” asserted that a teen-drinking party was to take place at her house,” the Washington Post noted.
According to the Washington Post, the station manager, D’Ambrosi, explained that the story is more important than the “individual reporter” and the concern over “the treatment of McCarren’s children.”
McCarren is quoted as telling CBS News that “At first I was frightened and then I became angry. It felt like an orchestrated Facebook and Twitter campaign of hate. People put my home address on the internet. There were calls for revenge and retaliation against my family. I’m now in about my 27th year as a reporter and I have never seen anything like this.”
The Washington City Paper wrote that it agreed with McCarren’s call to “lay low” since her children are involved. However, the City Paper wrote: “On the larger scale, it’s a shame to see a professional silenced by the fact that not just she, but her children, have been subject to bullying.”
McCarren provided a few reasons why she and the station are following the underage drinking story. For example, she noted that “two months before we confronted that liquor store owner that has been selling for years to minors as young as 14 in plain sight, we brought this to the attention of D.C. Police as well as the Control Board, yet they did nothing and continue not to (take) any action.”
We wrote in December 2011 when WUSA apologized for and unpublished a story from its website that lifted from the Washington Post.