The Fairness of New Media, or The Power of Jim Hummel’s Pinky

Not too long ago, public figures — beleaguered school superintendents, for example — could leverage print media and law enforcement procedures in order to manipulate public understanding of confrontations, much as North Kingstown Superintendent James M. Halley is doing in this Projo report:

Halley filed a complaint with the police Thursday alleging that Hummel, a senior reporter with ABC’s local affiliate, WLNE, struck him in the chest and tried to block him from entering the high school auditorium. The report was forwarded to Town Solicitor Terrence Simpson, who is expected to decide early next week what criminal charges, if any, grew out of the confrontation, Capt. Charles Brennan said. …
In the complaint, Halley claims Hummel “jumped in front of him, bumping him and blocking his access to the door.” He says the newsman “put up his left forearm and pushed against him, striking his chest and arm area” while holding his foot to the bottom of the door to block his entrance.
In the report, Halley also tells the police that he “advised [Hummel] that he was not authorized to be on stage.” He said he wished to press charges, though he was not injured.

In the world of new media, also provided by the Projo, Internet-connected citizens can observe for themselves why it is an injustice even to deem it necessary to note that Superintendent Halley “was not injured.” At most, Hummel’s pinky lightly brushed Halley’s jacket, a moment after Halley had attempted to push past the reporter, who asked, “you gonna knock me over?”
In the not too distant future, it won’t only be reporters who wield the power of the archive, but any citizen with a video-capturing cell phone.

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17 years ago

Glad to have seen the video. Halley’s complaint to the police is unwarranted, though his behavior that night towards Hummel is a wonderful example of exactly what not to do when dealing with the press. I hope I remember it when I get caught stealing … er, when $250,000 of my taxpayer budget is – what was the weasel word? oh yeah – “disallowed”.

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