The note from Actor Morgan Freeman first appeared on my Facebook page Saturday.
Later, Freeman’s publicist would declare it a hoax. But at that moment it didn’t matter. With this posting, a sense of guilt now mixed with my grief.
The letter said the Newtown shooting was “because of the way the media reports it.” Calling the media “sensationalist” and urging everyone to “turn off the TV.”
When tragedy happens we look for someone or something to blame; often it is the media. As a television anchor, I am not just “the media.” I am a wife and mom, a sister, neighbor and friend. Along with my desire to get the story, I strive to get it right. I consider my job an awesome responsibility and an important service.
Journalists are not just about headlines and deadlines. We are about serving our community.
As the true horror of what happened in Newtown seeped in to our newsroom Friday, it brought with it an incredibly sad silence.
Our newsroom, one of the biggest (and often one of the loudest!) in the nation was subdued. This was a story that nobody wanted to tell. And yet, it was too big to ignore.
For four hours, I was live on set in the studio. My journalist’s composure, hiding the broken heart of a mom.
When the president wiped away a tear, my entire body shuddered with sadness for what I was witnessing.
I wanted to curl up in the corner and cry. I wanted to grab my car keys and fly down the freeway to my own daughter’s elementary school.
But as journalists, we can not turn away from what is happening in our world. When there is danger, my colleagues run to it, immersing themselves in mass shootings, brush fires, earthquakes and hurricanes. It is our way of trying to make sense of the senseless, and it is our job.
We are not just the media, we are working parents. Everyday there are obligations and we try to fulfill them with integrity.
So if you are one of the those who responded to the posting with “Well said Mr. Freeman!” or “Why is the media glorifying the gunman?” I’m sorry you feel that way. But this is not about the media.
This is about the innocent lives lost in Newtown.
And, what if instead of blaming, we did our best to make this a better world? What if once a week, we all did something kind in honor of the 20 precious Newtown school children.
Take a tray of warm brownies to the night shift nurses at your local hospital and tell them “This is from Newtown’s Noah.” Leave a grocery store gift card on the doorstep of the struggling single dad down the street, with a note: “To honor Newtown’s Olivia. Pay the bill for the elderly woman eating alone at the next table. Ask the waiter to write across the bill: “In memory of Jack from Newtown.” What if each of us, everyday carried a part of these precious angels inside each of us?
Keep the memory of the Newtown children alive. Make the world a better place for the children still among us.
Because as parents, isn’t that what we all want?
I ask this not as a member of the media, but as a mom.