This journalism job thing occasionally has some dangers, but more often than not, the worst that will happen is you’ll sit in a room with a bunch of people angry at someone or some entity that they believe is screwing them over. Maybe someone will yell and get feisty or even get in someone’s face or say, “Don’t touch me!” but I’m not sure if I’ve ever been present where violence erupted. I usually get there after the violence is over (for instance, a homicide story).
But a reporter in Greensboro, N.C., wasn’t so lucky.
The man began to say something about how of course I was interviewing the Obama people when suddenly, from behind us, the sound of a pro-Obama rap song came blaring out of the windows of a dorm building. We all turned our heads to see Obama signs in the windows.
This was met with curses, screams and chants of “U.S.A” by McCain-Palin folks who crowded under the windows trying to drown it out and yell at the person playing the stereo.
It was a moment of levity in an otherwise very tense situation and so I let out a gentle chuckle and shook my head.
“Oh, you think that ‘s funny?! ” the large bearded man said. His face was turning red. “Yeah, that ‘s real funny…” he said.
And then he kicked the back of leg, buckling my right knee and sending me sprawling onto the ground.
Yes well, sir, we prefer to write the police reports, not be a victim in them. The bearded guy apparently got off without anyone seeing what happened, which is even more disgusting.
To play Armchair Psychologist Journalist for a minute, I’m guessing the assaulter was angry at how things are shaping up, and when the journalist laughed, he just snapped.
It is not always easy to be a journalist (and I speak for myself on this, not for any media organization or any paper or anyone else), especially when there are some people who hear “reporter” and automatically think “liberal media.” But we knew the deal going on, and we can handle it.
But if you see laughing as a sign of our liberal elitism, well then, that’s all on you. Don’t kick us for it. We prefer to avoid being kicked unless, of course, we’re doing a first-person feature on judo.