Quad Cities News Director Fired From Job
"DON'T THROW STONES AT YOUR NEIGHBORS', IF YOUR OWN WINDOWS ARE GLASS" - BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
The following does not reflect the opinion or beliefs of TownSquare Media, employees of TownSquare Media, ESPN, or ESPN 1170AM....
I don't take pleasure in writing the following. In fact, I have wrestled over the decision to publish this op-ed for over 48 hours since I was first made aware of the allegations placed upon a Quad Cities television news director, who has been fired from his position.
One might think that I would take some sort of comfort to be able to write these words about a person who, less than two years ago, used his position of power to manufacture a false story about a local high school coach. That same manipulated narrative, based on fallacies and hearsay, ended a 30 year legacy of molding student athletes and educated citizens. The news director created the fabricated story, pushed it upon his reporters to air, and encouraged other Quad City media to promote the story as fact.
I strongly took offense to the terrible, false, and misrepresented story and even had one of his reporters on our Don't Hassle Us We're Local radio show. Heck, I even had arguments with 2 very good friends, who were employed under the news director, about why they even aired the story.
I don't take any comfort in sharing this with you. Because these allegations placed upon the former news director are scary and sad.
These allegations involve a person who has been reporting and directing news for over 20 years in the Quad Cities. This person also has been publishing a family news magazine that circulates to more than 30,000 Quad City area residents-- including reaching more than 65 schools, daycare centers, and preschools in more than 13 counties in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois.
I am not going to name any names. The former news director, by his previous malicious stories, has taught me that it does not do any good to do that to a person, that person's reputation, that person's previous employers reputation, that person's family, and that person's circle of friends.
As I share this story with you, I want you to remember a few things...
* OUR LOCAL MEDIA IS VERY HARD WORKING AND VERY GOOD AT WHAT THEY DO.
* ALTHOUGH THE PEN MAY BE MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD, THE PERSON HOLDING THAT * PEN MAY HAVE AN AGENDA THAT ONLY BENEFITS THEMSELVES, NOT OUR COMMUNITY.
* WE HAVE GOT TO BE BETTER AS A COMMUNITY RECOGNIZING FALSE STORIES AND PERSONAL AGENDAS BEFORE WE START TAKING OUR LOCAL REPORTING JOURNALISM AS FACT.
* AGAIN, 99% OF OUR LOCAL MEDIA IS FANTASTIC AND THEY ARE DOING A TREMENDOUS JOB AND NOT BOLD FACE LYING TO YOU.
Where Am I Going With This?
The former news director has allegedly groomed more than 5 young men to perform "workouts" in his locked office. The young men were in their 20's and employed in the newsroom. The scheduled workouts had nothing to do with job performance, although he told them that the workouts did and that there would be a monetary reward if the individuals achieved certain levels of workout performance. Those levels included workout performances like body curling the news director himself, and also doing squats and lunges, while the news director was on the young person's back.
Each individual was led to believe they were the only person doing this for the news director. Did they feel awkward? Of course. And maybe, possibly, even ashamed and embarrassed. These victims should not feel ashamed because they were coerced by someone who should have helped guide and mentor their young journalistic careers.
Instead the news director used his position of power to make them feel like their employment at the news station would be in jeopardy if they said anything. Sometimes, the news director would take the news reporter to a local watering hole during office hours and have some cocktails and conversation to make it seem as though they had a special bond that only the two of them knew about.
But it wasn't just only the two of them. He did it multiple times to multiple individuals. So many times, that I do not believe that the number of people he has lured into his "work mandatory feats of physical strengths" has plateaued at 5 former employees.
What Do We Know?
It was not until a television news employee told the news director that they did not feel comfortable doing closed door push-ups, sit-ups, "body" curls, and "buddy" squats that this story started to unravel. The employee reached out to other male employees and asked if the workout request was a "normal" request. From there, more male newsroom workers began to share similar stories with each other.
We know that as of Wednesday, April 7th, local authorities had been made aware of the inappropriate requests made from the former news director upon the employees. The local authorities were also given text messages sent from the former news director to the employees about scheduled workouts and more.
On Wednesday, April 14th, the former television news director was escorted out of the building and then was officially terminated and was scrubbed from the station's website on Friday, April 16th.
What You Need To Know...
This news is not being reported to you by people certain people in the media. Reporters that we are used to writing stories and op-eds defending victims and giving eye opening journalistic views about troubling stories in the Quad Cities are turning a blind eye to this scary situation.
Certain reporters that we have become accustomed to share their strong opinions about what they feel is right or wrong over topics like personal COVID-19 mask regulations in Iowa versus Illinois, school district parents learning from their children, Davenport's riverfront baseball stadium, and high school recruiting "flaps".
We even look forward to the reporters, with such strong opinions, trading barbs with readers on social media.
But when I reached out to a reporter asking if the local print media was looking into this story, I received no reply. Nothing.
And that is what you have received as well, Quad Cities.
If this story does not get reported and you have something to share, please reach out to me. I will continue to share stories that are not making headlines, stories that are purposely kept away from you because of personal agendas, or stories that are being conveniently swept under the rug.
You see. People talk. And I want to listen. I used to feel awkward about even thinking of publishing these types of things but now knowing that the people who have thrown the biggest and heaviest of stones live in houses made of the most fragile and brittle of glass-- it's time to get the word out.
I LOVE YOU QUAD CITIES. LET'S TAKE CARE OF EACH OTHER.