Such was Friday, when I reported on how Camden County authorities broke up a pregnant prostitute ring near Lake Ozark. An unscripted comment I made at the end of the piece, referring to the potential effects on "a fetus" or "potentially a child," drew a good amount of criticism from our viewers. (You can WATCH IT HERE.)
As the words were ad-libbing out of my mouth, I knew I was entering dangerous waters, but such is live television. My attempt was to phrase my sentence in a way that would not offend either side of the abortion debate. (For instance one of the women is just 2 months pregnant, while another is 8 months along.) But the tape shows the way it came out of my mouth . . . and in came the fire.
Here's some the "greatest hits" of mail I've been going through:
This is from viewer Dorothy Mueller:
"You would think this story itself was disgusting enough, but the final comment by David Catanese was totally asinine! Lisa Rose made the comment of whether the women could be charged with endangering the welfare of a child and Catanese response said something like, “right now it’s a fetus and potentially a child”. POTENTIALLY A CHILD – ask any OB/GYN if the fetus is POTENTIALLY A CHILD. I fail to see how such an incompetent statement could be made. Catanese needs to look at the ultrasound of the unborn child. I don’t know about him, but I feel quite certain that the two of you know for certain that a fetus is not just POTENTIALLY A CHILD. Only an idiot could make such a statement and words don’t express the disgust I feel right now."
Then there's this from Cheri Cappella:
"David Catanese’s response “ that would be something for the courts down the road to decide if something happened to that child, which is now a fetus, but potentially a child. . .” Both my husband and I immediately thought his statement was completely said in poor taste. The whole news piece was focused on the fact that these suspected prostitutes were pregnant, which is completely despicable and endangers the lives of the babies they are carrying. So the intentional “clarification” in his answer was just unnecessary and wrong. There are many people who believe differently than Mr. Catanese and he should keep his opinions to himself when delivering the news in the future."
And this from Kristen Waterman in Lebanon:
"I'm writing to make David Catanese's superiors aware that his liberal comments on air tonight were offensive. I thought that newscasts were supposed to remain neutral on issues, but tonight David was not. Clearly he has no regard for a child's life by his comment about a baby 8 months in the womb being "only a fetus", which he quickly jumped to clarify to Lisa Rose. David has obviously never experienced the wonder of life by having a child of his own, or surely he couldn't feel this way. As a long-time viewer of KY3, I am disappointed and I hope that this type of pro-choice, liberal personal opinion does not continue. If so, it looks as if my family will be switching stations."
I bring this to the blogosphere because I am curious to know what you think about it -- and this is where I can get feedback for the future. So watch it, and then tell me your take.