A congressman threatens a NY1 Reporter saying “I’ll break you in half. Like a boy.” A great news headline if I’ve ever heard one.
Now as a journalist with aspirations to get into the political spectrum, I understand how intimidating it can be to speak with politicians. That’s why it’s so shocking (and exciting) when one of these well-rehearsed politicians slips up publically. That’s why people love Rob Ford so much — because the controversy surrounding him is a hot mess.
So when I heard about Rep. Michael Grimm, a Republican New York Congressman already dealing with an investigation into possible campaign finance violations, and saw the video of him threatening a reporter, it brought up a whole mess of emotions in me.
For those of you who have not seen the NY1 video, a fresh-out-of-college-looking reporter, Michael Scotto, asks Congressman Grimm about the ongoing investigation of his finances at the recent State of the Union address. Grimm, instead of the usual “no comment” response, got noticeably angry and walked away. But once the reporter signed off, he came back for an encore.
At one point Grimm said, “Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f—–g balcony.”
So on one hand there’s the complete unprofessionality of the comments by the Congressman and outright abuse of power. On the other hand, he did not know the camera was rolling, so it begs the question of how often this actually happens in the world of politics.
The Staten Island Congressman later apologized for his threats, although not initially, trying to mend his image, the smart move to make. However just because he had to appoligize does not mean the origin of the issue magically goes away with an “I’m sorry.”
It is a problem when politics are reduced to threats, because of so called “cheap shots” by reporters, instead of transparency within the institution. This reporter was just one example of a journalist trying to watch the watcher, and this video is proof of the need for reporters who are not afraid to ask tough questions. This “boy” did the right thing. He did his job.