Note: After several days of holding fast, WCAX quietly removed the story from its website. News Director Roger Garrity told Seven Days, “We are now working with LGBTQ advocates on a message to the community acknowledging the harm that was caused.” About damn time.
The First Amendment is a powerful tool. It can inspire needed reforms, or uncover wrongdoing at the highest level. It can also wreak havoc on unfortunate bystanders.
Enter Roger Garrity, news director at WCAX-TV, an outlet that seems to be trending in the Fox News direction. On September 28, the station ran an irresponsibly one-sided story about a “locker room dispute” at Randolph High School. It extensively quoted a single member of the volleyball team who’s upset about sharing a locker room with a transgender student. She expressed the usual claptrap about “biological males” and at one point said, curiously, “My mom wants me to do this interview.”
See, in real journalism that’s the beginning of the reporting. But WCAX had some hot video and they ran with it, not giving a good goddamn about the consequences. Which are, as VTDigger’s headline put it, a “wildfire of bigotry.”
“It’s been an absolute nightmare. Horrifying. My family is in constant pain from the lies and harassment,” said the mother of the 14-year-old trans student. The story went viral in the conservative media space, triggering the usual firestorm of outrage.
Garrity, having allowed his news team to toss a metaphorical Molotov cocktail into a crowded room, floated the Tucker Carlson excuse: We were reporting the controversy, not the incident itself.Continue reading