Monday, August 21, 2006

Loving Father? Or Sexual Predator!

An amusing (but true) story.

Recently took twins to nearby park. They play on swings and slides. I read a book. A local tv news crew arrives. They begin shooting b-roll of all the kids doing their park playin' thing. I wonder what news story is, but assume its a 'having fun in the summertime' piece. My son frantically runs around trying to get in background of the camera shots. For the most part, it's a losing battle.

My daughter comes over and sits beside me on the bench. Asks whether we will be on the news tonight. I know how tv works so direct her to pretend she and I are talking about something interesting as I see camera pan our way. We do some 'acting'. Camera rolls (flashing green light). Soon therafter, the reporter does her standup. Then crew wraps out and heads off. I find myself still wondering why they didn't come ask us if it was okay to film us, but whatever.

Its dinnertime. Everyone gathers around the tv for local newscast. And lead story is about a known sex offender who had abducted a couple of kids a few hundred miles north of us and was finally apprehended. Abducted kids seemed unharmed. A happy ending, all things considered.

And then the next story is about keeping children safe from sexual predators. And they go to footage of the park! And as the reporter talks about how danger lurks everywhere and kids need to be careful, we see shots of my children and other children frolicking around the playground...unattended. Hmmmm...

Now I'm sitting up straight...really beginning to worry where this news story is heading. And then they cut to me and my daughter sitting on the bench, the reporter voiceover says something along the lines of... "Sexual predators can be anyone and will prey on the innocence of children. It's up to us as parents to educate and inform our kids of the dangers out there and how to be safe."

Now, I know they were trying to portray us all in a positive light --- but depending on whether a viewer was paying attention or not, I could be perceived as the loving educating father...or the stalking sexual predator! I almost flipped a table and threatened to call the station to complain...but was talked down by my kids who were just so thrilled to be on tv, regardless of what was said.

Look, we all know that media plays with the pictures to tell the story they want to tell. Nevertheless, I still think they should have informed me what the report was about and asked permission to use us on camera.

Don't you?


Crashdummie said...

Omg that was freaky! And yes, I totally agree they should have asked you for permission. If I’m not totally mistaken, you need that in Far Side. Cuz the shot of you could have totally been misunderstood. But then again, the kiddies where thrilled, and that’s great!

PS. You got twins? Wicked! Just out of curiosity, how old are they?

Fall Guy said...

Actually, the news crew should have asked permission to shoot the kids. I think FOIP rules stipulate that media can't show photos or video of kids without getting parental permission first. The news crew should know that rule; if not, a helpful reminder might steer them away from future lawsuits.

Chopped Nuts said...

Yeah, I think they should have asked permission. That's pretty sleazy. Now you're in the category of those actors who have performed on America's Most Wanted and keep getting arrested.

Kelly J. Compeau said...

I used to be a print news & radio news journalist, and worked as a reporters assistant at a CHUM TV station, so I know for a fact that NO ONE can shoot photos or video of minor children without written parental consent.

Dude, I really think you should raise a stink about this. What they did was not only bad for the kids but it casts a negative shadow on you as well.

Unknown Screenwriter said...



DMc said...

That's ridiculous and off the charts. I did that job for years.

1) You don't shoot kids in a playground so they're recognizable without permission.

2)In a story talking about "sex offenders" you do NOT show anyone identifiable, unless they are convicted of the crime in question in a court of law.

that wasn't just lazy shooting or producing. That is actionable. It's sleazy, and irresponsible journalism.

If it was me, I would call the news director this afternoon. I would.

wcdixon said...

okay, so maybe it wasn't amusing as much as stupid...but I'm certainly getting pushed enough to register some sort of complaint. So I will, and let you know if anything comes of it.

Crashdummie said...

Yupp, do keep us update will!