Spineless wimps at WCBS-TV

I wasn’t going to comment about this, but I just can’t keep my mouth shut. If you haven’t heard by now, WCBS-TV in New York fired a reporter yesterday for an utterance of that most awful of words on the air. According to the New York Post and the industry gossip zines, reporter Arthur Chi’en was accosted by pranksters with a sign promoting radio shock jocks Opie & Anthony. This is apparently a fairly common occurrence in New York, and Chi’en apparently handled it well during his live shot. The two intruders even gave Chi’en’s camera the finger, but he kept his cool.

When the live shot was finished, however, Chi’en turned around and said, “What the f*ck is your problem, man?” He didn’t know he was still on the air.

WCBS-TV fired Chi’en, which is, of course, their prerogative. It is, however, the single most spineless act I’ve ever heard of involving a news organization. We assign people to meaningless, predictable live performances in places where they’re sitting ducks. In New York, these poor folks are fair game for every conceivable form of mischief — from getting soaked with a bucket of water to intruders promoting their own causes. Do we really expect that things like this won’t happen? Frankly, I think the guy deserved a pay raise, certainly not getting fired.

To the people in charge of WCBS-TV, what the f*ck is your problem, man? Get a spine!


  1. Tom Tucker says

    Terry, generally I agree with much of what you write. But I disagree a bit with you here. Shouldn’t we expect a little more from a broadcast journalist when it comes to maintaining some standards on air? Yeah, I’m sure he was in a tough position, but a reporter, especially one in the biggest and most sophisticated media market in the world should know better. (By the way, I am a broadcaster myself who just today was live out in the field.) How would you like it if your 6 or 7 year old was at home watching when the reporter dropped his F bomb? I don’t know if the guy should be fired, but he certainly doesn’t deserve a raise.

  2. What ever happened to procedures? When I worked in news, you were on the air until the studio said you were clear. You held your shot until told you were finished, even if they forgot.

  3. Passing Through says

    Holy poop!!!…only in this tushy backwards country would the entire problem be overlooked. Repeat after me…THE PROBLEM WAS NOT THE REPORTER!…he was doing his job…the people who CBS should be harasing are the ones who were actually HARASSING THEIR EMPLOYEE!!!.. when did we get to this point in this country???!!!!

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