In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation of Houston, ABC News chief national correspondent Tom Llamas suffered massive backlash after notifying police of “looting” taking place. On Twitter, Llamas tweeted “We informed police of the looting and Coast Guard is flying overhead. Multiple officers now on the scene.”
Llamas had reportedly already been in contact with police and mentioned that he saw people with faces covered going into a nearby supermarket. The backlash on Twitter was swift. One user said “What did you imagine the hungry people were taking from the grocery store? Big-screen TVs?” Another said “Your NYC reporter whose family is safe thought cops should protect property instead of rescuing human beings.”
When covering a news event, what are a reporter’s obligations? Should he or she simply stick to reporting? Or do they have some obligation to report what they believe may be a crime taking place? Of course, as Brian Flood pointed out on The Wrap, there may be “a difference between ‘looting’ and grabbing food and supplies to survive a devastating emergency.” What do you think?
Sources: The Wrap via Yahoo.com