Film camera

Back to No Style: A journalistic low point from PowNed

4 minutes to read
Column
Roeline Machiels
09/05/2017

Dear PowNed,

Recently, I came across a video from PowNews that was reposted by the page ‘Internet Gekkies’. It appeared in my newsfeed after one of my internet buddies reacted to it. The clip showed one of your interviewers being hit by a woman at the anti-Trump demonstration in The Netherlands. Since it was such a short clip, I spent my time searching for the bigger picture. But even in your original video, there isn’t any.

 

To be clear, I am against violence at all times. But to me, her action is nothing compared to yours. Even in the short clip you can see—and hear—clearly that the woman does not want to be filmed. She says this repeatedly, whilst holding her daughter, but the interviewer and cameraman just do not give a damn.

Either it is all show and she’s getting a fat cheque, or your ethics are lacking.

On your website, you state that Pownews is not biased, unfounded or unnecessarily hurtful; it is just raw, provocative, intelligent and uncensored. While I do not agree that all of the latter description applies to this particular video, I will not argue that you are indeed uncensored. And that is the first issue.

In the journalistic field, it is generally known that when someone (who is not considered a public figure) does not agree to being filmed and the material can cause them harm, it cannot be aired. So, either it is all show and she’s getting a fat cheque, or your ethics are lacking. At least, the video should have been anonymized, but you did not even make the effort of blurring faces—not even of the child. The child is not only a minor who cannot agree to being filmed, but she is also not even involved in the interview.

It is difficult to understand why this sensational piece is even in the video. For the clicks? But that can't be, since you are part of a publicly funded channel. You do not have to play these cheap tricks in order to make some quick bucks. Then it must be because it is an addition to the provocative and intelligent discussion. I get that being provocative is the goal, but this is not what it means. Being provocative is not being a pushy interviewer that starts an argument with someone on personal matters when the interviewee is not interested in discussing the topic. This is not thought-provoking, nor contributory to a discussion. This is a clip about an interviewer bullying someone till sensational material rolls out. And he did not stop there.

This clip is an example of the horrible contemporary ‘snippet’ media.

The interviewer commented on the video: “This mom did not think I was very nice. But to make it up.. I will now make sure that you will be on television. Kiss.” What kind of vindictive rhetoric is this? When one does not want to cooperate and things get out of hand, you will make them pay for it by publicly humiliating them? Is this Powned's take on being provocative and ‘lightly’ making fun of people?

Reaction Pownews journalist

Besides that, this clip is an example of the horrible contemporary ‘snippet’ media. As viewers we fall into the story at the time where the woman is already red from anger. We have no clue for how long the interviewer had been ‘provoking’ her already. Yet, all we see on social media are viewers attacking her and calling her names. People are judging her based on this video, which is obviously cut and without a doubt in the benefit of the interviewer.

It is not an illogical assumption that this clip impacts the life of the woman negatively. The video was reposted by the Facebook-page 'Internet Gekkies' [red. 'Internet Fools'], which does not only make fun of the woman more, but also broadens the audience. With all the experience from GeenStijl, you must be aware of the impact this has on the interviewee. Yet, you chose to take her down, and her kid, fully recognizable, with it. These kind of clips on social media are everlasting, haunting for those in them. Did you know that offenders can get a reduced sentence when online vigilante justice has impacted them to a certain extent? This woman is literally being punished for her deed already, yet in the most immeasurable and unfair way. If the interviewer feels assaulted, he can file a claim. Do not make her pay like this, that is not how our society works.

How can a news medium, that is so internet-orientated, be so irresponsible with the power of media? This is a journalistic low point, especially coming from a public funded channel that’s supposed to exist for society. PowNed is supposed to educate and inform society; it is not funded to make fun of citizens. NPO should really reconsider your part within the channel.

With kind regards,

Roeline Machiels