Andrea McCarren Backs off in Face of Teen Bullying
Teen Harassment Forces Andrea McCarren Off the Air
WUSA Channel 9 reporter Andrea McCarren finally met the force that can take her off the air: teenagers.
Andrea McCarren was working on a series of stories about teenage drinking for the Washington D.C.-area news program.
The first segment of the story aired on February 1, in which Andrea McCarren and photographer Dave Satchell visited Town Square Market, a liquor store in Northwest Washington D.C. that allegedly sold alcohol to teens as young as 14. Satchell's footage showd teenagers carrying beer out of the store, and McCarren left with recorded statements from the teens about how easy it was to buy at the store.
Then things got nasty. Teens found Andrea McCarren's Facebook page and left mean and threatening messages. The second installment of McCarren's series focused on a police bust at at local teenage party.
The Facebook haterade continued to pour. That would not have bothered a grown-up too much, but then they went after McCarren's kids.
Andrea McCarren's teenage children found themselves targeted by classmates, both online and in real life. That's when Andrea McCarren backed away, and handed the third segment over to Derek McGinty. That segment, which aired on February 14, focused on "pre-gaming", i.e. drinking at home before going out to parties or events.
The problem here is that the horse has fled the barn: the teens understand that Andrea McCarren is the one behind the teenage drinking stories. How will having Derek McGinty present the stories make any difference?
Another issue is the age-old fact that rewarded behavior is repeated.
WUSA news director Fred D'Aambrosi defended the decision to have Andrea McCarren sit out the rest of the series:
“This is about the story, not the individual reporter,” he said. “I believe content is king. As long as the information we report is accurate, that’s the point.”
Unfortunately, this episode has created a whole new story. Will McCarren's kids still be harassed if McGuiny is presenting? Unfortunately, we see no reason why not.