I watch the same news channel every morning. Ok, I’ll admit I took a break during the summer when I didn’t have to get up at the butt crack of dawn to get the kids off some place, but as of now, I switch on the TV at 5:45-6:00 am and listen to the news as I either snooze a little or am up getting people ready to start their days. EVERY SINGLE MORNING I put on the WFSB morning show. I love this news station. Irene O’Connor, Eric Parker, Olessa Stepanova and Scot Haney usually start my day off right and get me prepared for the day but lately I’ve been noticing a trend of some not so nice behavior and it’s bugging me. A lot. And it’s bugging my kids, too.
There’s an intern, Nick Uhlman who’s been part of the show in the morning lately. Admittedly, he’s rather green to the TV scene, or so it seems. He bumbles a bit learning his way around. He has also been the butt of jokes, derisive comments and snarky remarks by the News Team, and by Scot in particular. Nick seems to be taking it all in stride, even laughing with those who are laughing at him, but it still bothers me. It’s been bugging me. Apparently it’s been bugging a few viewers because they keep saying on the show, Oh, it’s all in fun, Nick’s ok with it, we’re only playing. That’s what they said to me this morning when I tweeted them about all the mean comments lately on the show.
Here’s the thing: Saying you’re “just joking” when you say something mean and hurtful doesn’t negate the hurtfulness of your works or actions. I learned this the hard way from dealing with my child who battled depression from constant bullying. Those comments that everyone laughed at – even when she laughed at them herself to fit in – they still hurt her. Even when she said it was ok, it wasn’t Sometimes it made her stronger,as she wrote about it on her blog, LoserGurl, but many times it had her coming home in tears wondering if she had what it takes to reach for her dreams. So when she and her 10 year old brother wonder why Nick is being bullied, how do I answer? It’s ok, because they say they are just kidding? I asked them if they thought that Nick was really laughing and ok with it, and they said they thought he probably wasn’t, but just smiled and laughed to fit in. I don’t allow my kids to “just kid” with people in that manner- we don’t find humor in belittling someone else.
Scot Haney- I love you. I really enjoy watching in the mornings for the most part, and you crack me up with your singing and your comments about running for governor and even how you mess up on peoples names when you wish them Happy Birthday. I ADORE how you love animals and you always, ALWAYS champion them and I especially love that you give back so much to the community around you. You are ALWAYS out and about raising funds and awareness of important issues around you. You give so much of yourself, and you’ve shared with us that you’ve been bullied and made fun of and had some pretty mean stuff happen to you. So come on, cut it out, and stop being mean to Nick, even if you are just kidding around. It’s not cool, and it’s not funny. And for the rest of the team, Irene, Eric,and Odessa, stop laughing at it. I get you aren’t going to say anything on the air, but how about not laughing at it? How about a word to cut it out?
And Nick, don’t let anyone make you the butt of their jokes. You’re working hard in college to be a fantastic Meteorologist someday. Everyone is new at things at least once, and you will totally find your own way. It’s not ok for people to make fun of you, especially on the air,even if they are “joking” . And Kansas or wherever, even if they only have one tooth, will be lucky to have you.
I can’t say why this is bugging me so much, maybe because Nick reminds me of myself a little, or hearing other laugh at his expense bothers me because I can’t help but think of people laughing at those I love and it upsets me. And I think of the words my child wrote:
We all need to find the time to say GOOD things to other people and help them feel GOOD about themselves, not tear them down.
So Nick, you’re getting there. I don’t give you a D+, I give you a C,and you’re making great progress! I can’t wait to see more! (and hopefully see some changes from my favorite morning team).