News & Politics

Portland TV Station Cancels News for One Day to Deal With 'Stress.' Did Anyone Notice?

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Maybe it was the cognitive dissonance between normal news and gaslighting by local leaders that caused the mental collapse at this Portland TV news station.

Maybe it was a day of re-education to get their minds right in a corporately imposed struggle session.

Whatever the reason, a Portland, Oregon, TV news station canceled the news part of Monday in order to give their reporters a day to deal with their trauma.

What trauma? The trauma of having a job and telling people the first draft of history perhaps?

ABC TV affiliate, KATU News, canceled “the morning and afternoon” news shows on Monday while the “entire news team” attended a “seminar to help deal with on-the-job stress and trauma.”

The author of the above tweet, Mike Warner, is a longtime photographer with the local news and has done more than his fair share of dealing with serious news, antifa, and anarchist rioters over the years. Give him a day off. But canceling the news to indulge the children in a mental health day?

How dysfunctional is this place and its employees?

To be clear, the news department has one job. 

MSN, which picked up the story probably because the writer supported mental health days for reporters, gave us a clue.

Throughout the tech and media industries, the topic of burnout has been getting hotter. Last week, the Online News Association published its findings about media work culture in 2021, known as the year of the “Great Resignation.” The ONA reported that journalists and media workers are leaving the field entirely, creating a talent gap. The 2021 Online News Association Conference took a new approach to the issue, suggesting that stress is individual, but burnout is systemic — meaning news organizations need to support workers instead of relying on them to undertake the necessary self-care.

Oddly, the “online news” portion of KATU, the very people the Online News Association — whatever that is — highlighted in its “findings,” was actually working the whole day. I checked their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

KATU, if your MAC-spackled hot house flowers can’t cut telling the real news of Portland’s descent into anarchy without feeling as if they need a corporately imposed struggle session, then you’re you’re doing it wrong. Hire more and better people and put Ted Lasso’s psychologist on retainer.

Good grief, this isn’t hard.

Now, I recognize people may not miss KATU’s news programs. This is a distinct possibility. I can’t help with that problem except to say do your jobs better.

However, I’m offended by the need to cancel news shows in order for an entire news team to get a day off because their work is too stressful.

My old station took a day for a team building exercise years ago. I literally had to walk in somebody else’s shoes. It was dumb, but we didn’t cancel the news! We did it on a Saturday and didn’t get paid. But, guess what? People were back running the station. They were the lucky ones. The rest of us just lost a day rolling our eyes at each other.

We didn’t cancel the news on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Labor Day,  Valentine’s Day, or any union-approved “holiday,” either.

If you need that waste of time to make you feel better, then get out of this business now. Leave. You’re not tough enough. Come back when you’re grown up. You’ll know.

If you need a de-stresser, go to the gym or spa, bake cookies, do wood working, or have a little me time. Get a psychologist to talk to.

Don’t cancel the news.

My first real reporting opportunity was the day of the nation’s first modern mass shooting — yes, that’s how long I’ve been around. I came in early to help, dried my tears, and got to work. After covering that story for hours for the anchors and reporters, I got the nod from the boss to go cover another big local story, the subject of which told me to — and this is a direct quote — “eat shit” when I left.

Rather than shrivel in trauma, I took it as a sign that I’d done a good job.

I interviewed a gang leader who dealt crack out of  the back window of grandma’s house. I talked to Grandma in her living room where the local narcotics cops had just destroyed her furniture with box cutters and found nothing.

Grandma, bless her heart, wanted to talk. She took my microphone and held it up to her ear to answer my questions. That’s when I knew her grandson, Andre, was definitely dealing crack out the back window and she, ahem, had no clue. I needed to get the hell out of there.

There was the time I interviewed a father who hired a hitman to kill his young son.

What happened to Kyron Horman by the way? I spent hours asking and researching. Who killed that kid?

I went to Occupy Portland every single day and interviewed those anti-Semitic crack pots. That’s when I learned that this charade was bought and paid for by the unions. I did that on my own time. I talked about it on my Portland talk show. Every single day.

I’ve covered antifa’s earliest days in Portland, uncovered their fraud, and the city’s complicity.

I did that on my own time.

I’ve never had a job in my professional life where I got a lunch break. We grabbed food and ate at our desk between stories, unless we were out covering on a story. Doesn’t everybody?

News ain’t beanball. If you can’t hack it, get out.

Maybe KATU used their day of “stress” and “trauma” to find out who the wimps are.

But who’s going to tell the story about the 16 shootings over the weekend? Who’s going to confront Ted Wheeler over the mistreatment of the cops and the willful destruction of the rule of law there?

It won’t be these traumatized children.

Worse, maybe Portlanders won’t even notice they were gone.