So You Think You Can Cover A Violent Protest?

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CNN’s Don Lemon (L) and Chris Cuomo (R) deal with uninvited guests (center) in their Ferguson, MO live shot. Vine screen grab courtesy Tim Burke. 11-24-14.

Don Lemon of CNN’s such a douchebag. He’s so douchey he’s trending on Atlanta Twitter, and not in a good way. Mostly he’s trending for being too white-ish and jabbering on-air about smelling weed burning in Ferguson, MO last night, 11-24-14, as the non-indictment of Officer Darren Wilson news broke. Everyone loves to hate on Don Lemon. Me too!

That said about Lemon’s douchiness, as an aspiring cub news producer I once got caught-up in the midst of a downtown Atlanta protest that turned violent. Blacks were angry (Maria Saporta reminded me of what sparked the outburst) and were massing, yelling, marching, and breaking windows along Peachtree Street, and assaulting, brutally, innocent people who just happened to be near the protest and thus convenient targets.

When it became crystal clear there was no one around to protect me (I don’t think I ever saw a single cop in the mix), and after having had someone I thought was a friend scream ugly things in my face (she was part of the protesting crowd; I was news media covering the event; that’s what unnerved me the most), and my crew concentrating solely on getting the shot and not giving a rat’s ass if I was attacked, I immediately dropped my assignment like a scalding hot potato, ran to the edge of the protest, hailed a cab, and beat a swifty retreat back to the newsroom.

Never again would I put my own life in danger just to “get the shot.” I clearly got culled from any future potential war correspondent herd that day. Whew!

In other words, a violent protest in America is a very scary place to be in the middle of. Kudos to anyone in news who lasted through the night in Ferguson. (Including His Douchiness, Don Lemon.) They’re a hell of a lot braver than I’ll ever be.

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