Last week, I had an article written about my perspective on the tragic alligator incident at Walt Disney World. It appeared in People Magazine.
While the majority of the quotes that I had given the reporter were spot on, there were quotes taken out of context which I feared during our interview. She had a job to do, which was getting the best (is it really the best story when such a tragedy happens?) possible story and getting it published quickly.
The questions that were asked of me indicated that she was looking for something more. I heard “Did you see anyone drop their sunglasses in the lagoon and quickly jump back from retrieving them after seeing an alligator?” Ummm…No. “How did you feel learning that the little boy died?” Is that really a question? I felt heartbroken for the family.
Here is what I had happen after the article published. I was inundated with phone calls.
The story went live on People’s website at 7:20 am, at 8:50 my phone rang. It was an interviewer with Inside Edition. They had gotten ahold of my cell phone number and were asking for a Skype interview with me for later that day. A request that I turned down.
Next, the calls started coming on my work phone. These people had found out where I worked. I received calls from: The NBC Nightly News, CNN, CNN Headline News with Dr. Drew, I got a Facebook friend request from a local news anchor and then a subsequent message from her. I had a message request from a TV station located in Brazil. I received a phone call and an email from Fox and Friends.
For a very brief period of time I felt the irritation of what it must be like to be someone that is hounded by the media day in and day out. I sympathized with people who eventually got worn down by the constant ringing of the phone, and let phrasing slip and come out differently than what they had ever intended it to.
Words get spun. Hello the name of the article in People was “It could have been us”
What’s worse is these news organizations are too busy trying to spin Disney in to a big bad monster and we forget about the very real tragedy that is unfolding right before our eyes.
A family has lost a child, in an accident that will likely haunt their dreams and be present in their waking thoughts. The mother and father will never ever be the same. Yet the news media pushes on, looking for the best sound byte. It doesn’t matter anymore what could have or should have been done at Disney. Let’s look for ways to build up this family that is going to need more support than we can ever begin to imagine.
In fact their church is accepting cards and is passing them along to the family. If you wish to do that you can see the information here.