• Why Does This Columnist Behave Like He Hates the First Amendment?

    I’m not generally in the business of blasting reporters and columnists, unless of course they work for MSNBC. But in this case, Joe Concha really rubbed me the wrong way during his Sunday appearance on Fox News’ Media Buzz. Concha pens columns for Mediaite, a website generally filled with interesting takes on the news of the day and the inner workings of the media industry. Host Howie Kurtz invited Concha to appear on the show to discuss the riots in Ferguson, Missouri from the perspective of the way the media has been covering constantly changing events there.

    When asked about the reporters from The Washington Post and The Huffington Post who were arrested and borderline abused by Ferguson cops last week simply for doing their jobs, what was rather stunning to me was hearing Concha’s immediate rush to condemn those reporters. “This was clearly an action to provoke that officer,” Concha said. “How do you pack up equipment and batteries when you’re holding up a camera and pointing it at somebody? … Here’s how you know that this was all about Wes Lowery expanding his television career,” he added, while going on to slam the Washington Post reporter for tweeting about the incident and then doing just a select few media appearances at the behest of cable news. “This was a media tour, Howie, that was only rivaled by Hillary Clinton’s, all in the effort to give Wes Lowery’s byline a microphone and a future career, and nothing more.”

    Those are some mighty strong words coming from someone who’s attempting to expand his OWN career by doing Fox News appearances to slam other reporters, is it not? Hey, Pot! Meet Kettle!

    Joe went on to blast the arrested reporters for refusing to show ID to the cops — when actually, only one reporter refused. Funny, I always thought it was the cops who are supposed to ID themselves. Apparently it’s the other way around in ConchaWorld.

    Moments later, TheRoot.com correspondent Kelli Goff let Concha have it. “I’d hate to hear the kind of criticism he would have doled out about 60 or 50 years ago to reporters who may have been a little slow to pack up their gear when they were covering another crisis, which is known as the Civil Rights Movement,” said Goff. “This idea that reporters shouldn’t be documenting the behavior of people in authority, when people in authority are part of the story and their behavior has been questioned and that’s why the reporters are there, I think to criticize them for recording is a little odd, Joe.”

    After Concha insisted that we’re seeing “cheap and easy” coverage of the events in Ferguson from a media that has made a “cottage industry” out of doing so, Goff fired back once again. “You call it a cottage industry; those of us who have African-American men in our families consider it a crisis, Joe, and I think that must be nice to live and have an experience in this country where you can dismiss it as simply coverage. It’s not.”

    At this point, Mr. Concha completely flew off the handle and went in full defensive mode. “You don’t get to do that to me, Kelli! You’re calling me a racist on national television?!?

    Um, no. She actually never did that, Joe. She rightfully pointed out that your commentary bordered on insensitivity as it relates to a community with much deeper issues of racial tension than the average white guy can understand.

    But race issues aside, why would someone ever blast what the reporters on the ground are doing out there? Wes Lowery and Ryan Reilly had every right under the First Amendment to be sitting inside the McDonald’s that they were unceremoniously ejected from, before being arrested. It’s easy to sit here in our cushy chairs and cast stones, but just as Lowery told the Starbucks-sipping Joe Scarborough last week, perhaps some of these critics should head down to Ferguson and get a mouthful of tear gas and rubber bullets before acting like this is some vanity project for these guys. They’re doing tough work out there, and I, for one, salute them for it. After all, what’s the alternative? A media blackout? Sure, that would be great for everyone, wouldn’t it? Not quite. And if that were the case, then what on earth what Joe Concha have left to talk about?

    Joe did go on to issue a bit of a patronizing apology to Kelli for his outburst after the show, though interestingly, he didn’t do so on his own Twitter page, just hers. He was too busy doubling down on his criticism of Lowery and Reilly to bother with that. You’ll notice that 8 hours after his appearance, Concha was still tweeting about it and defending his position. Hey, that kinda sorta sounds like someone is trying to make the story all about him, does it not? Man, this irony is so sweet, it tastes like chicken.

    Matt Fox

    Senior Editor

    Fox has history in broadcasting that spans two decades. From his early days as an FM host and club DJ in the mid-90′s to his later experiences in political talk radio, he has always had a knack for combining topical news with his love for popular culture. Those experiences culminated in his position as executive producer for several radio shows featured in the TALKERS Heavy 100. Originally from New York, Fox has made the great pilgrimage down to sunny south Florida.

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