Thursday, March 22, 2012

Schmuck Alert: Sight of the Gun!

Bumpkin WIth a Gun

TV News: the only profession where you place yourself in volatile situations, then wheeze like a banshee when trouble erupts. That said, there is ABSOLUTELY no excuse for pulling a gun you don't plan to use, let alone menacing a news crew with it. But there's no denying that's exactly what happened in Joiner, Arkansas the other day, thanks to the magic of video...
"Excuse me, Cameraman? Yes, you - the one I'm threatening with bodily harm and a firearm... you're not recording this, are you? 'Cause if you're, I'd be be pretty thick to keep whipping out my piece like this. Maybe I'll just hold it by my side and walk away like I have to pee. You keep rolling while your lady friend goes all Isiah Carey up in this joint..."
Okay, so it's easy to poke fun, but if someone pulled a heater on ME, whatever audio that followed would be so draped in profanity, Ozzy Osbourne's kids would file a complaint with the FCC. Truth is, reporter April Thompson and photographer Ben Short did a lot of things correctly when an angry young man pulled up and broke out his best Boomhauer. Thompson remained chill and got out of the camera's way, Short kept rolling and centered his lens on their surprise guest. It was all rather textbook until Dude smacks the camera, then runs back to his pick-up for more than a little ordnance. At that point, mere hindrance turned criminal.

Critics can fault WREG for pimping the incident out of proportion and they may have a point, but the fact remains that jack-ass brandished a weapon in front of an innocent news crew and no matter the showboating that followed, that shit ain't cool. So ease up on the Monday morning quarterbacking, fellow media members! I've seen a few of you soil your action slacks whenever a bug flies into the car. Who knows what dialect you may affect once somebody pulls a hand-cannon on you! Me - I'd reach for a word understandable in any language...


(By the way, the subtitle of this particular Schmuck Alert is a lame attempt to salute David Carr's The Night of the Gun, quite possibly the finest junkie memoir you'd ever want to read. A Lenslinger Library Favorite!) 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Attack of the Hardhat!

Wrestle Hardhat
If the list of reporters honored by The Lenslinger Institute was any shorter, we might get around to writing it down. At the moment though, only one name echoes down these hallowed halls: Stormin' Bob Norman. He's the Miami reporter who didn't let a dude in a plastic hat get away with manhandling his partner Mario Alonso. The back-story is a bit dense; something about garbage company contracts. But what's important here is that the journalists were well within their rights when they set up on a public street to shoot video of a recycling plant in Pompano Beach. Enter one furious foreman. "You can't take pictures of the plant!" he barked as Mario trained the camera on him instead. That's when the foreman got all grabby with the glass, prompting reporter Bob Norman to give the smaller man a friendly SHOVE! A tussle ensued, until the apoplectic hardhat scooped up the crew's wireless microphone and stormed off with it, (presumably to launch his own TV network centered around short, angry men in safety gear). This doesn't sit well with our new buddy Bob, who demanded the microphone be returned, then waited calmly while the foreman called 9-1-1.
"Hello, Police? I just attacked an innocent news crew and stole their microphone. Can you come out here and remind me what a bitch move that was?"
Okay so the foreman probably worded it differently but it doesn't really matter because once authorities did arrive, they listened to both sides, watched the video and suggested Mr. Ass-hat return what was never his to begin with. In the end, the foreman even shook hands with the WPLG crew and at last check all seemed rosy in the Sunshine State. Normally, this is where we step in and issue an official Schmuck Alert for crimes against the camera. That we're happy to do (Schmuck!), but it's what Bob Norman did during and after the episode that has this esteemed panel awkwardly trying to high-five itself. Norman didn't have to push the man away, but he did. The investigative reporter explained why in a wry slide show that appeared on his station's website shortly after the incident.

Reach"Mario is completely vulnerable at this moment and the camera itself, which is ridiculously expensive, is also in jeopardy."

Hardhat Hand
"In defense of man and property, I push him back. As you can see his hand is still on the camera."

"I'm thinking, he's short, but he's pretty strong ... and it looks like we're going to go at it. Space is my friend with this little bull."

Norman's station could have saturated the airwaves with looped footage of the whole goofy affair, but for a while they held their fire. The slide show and its more than apt captions drew a few eyeballs without mangling the mission at hand. Norman's eventual piece wisely centered on all that he uncovered and treated the attack of the hardhat as the mere curiosity it was. Well played, Bob Norman. Well played. As for that other guy...


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Schmuck Alert: Bachmann's Mob

Bachmann Mob
I have an aching distaste for politicians. They remind me of small market news anchors with coke problems: paranoid, grandiose, willing to gab all night with total strangers - as long as another blast of adulation was coming back their way. Perhaps I'm projecting. On second thought, no. I've stood through enough city council meetings, governor's huddles and Presidential pit stops to know the only thing more maniacal than your average incumbent is the person currently working so furiously to unseat them.Which brings me to Michelle Bachmann, aka the poor man's Sarah Palin. Lately she's been making all the right noises as she crisscrosses the country in an effort to make Barack Obama a community organizer again. That's cool! Depending on your views, she's either the GOP's latest great white hope or a headstrong wretch whose husband wants to pray Barney Frank back to lumberjack status. None of which concerns me.

What does concern me, however, is the way Michele Bachmann handles her business. In the eight weeks that she's been a Presidential candidate, her sycophants have manhandled members of the press; shoving, pushing and threatening reporters as they attempted to make her a viable choice for leader of the free world by hanging on her every heavily scripted soundbite. It's happened five times. Five times! It's flippin' systemic! Much of the roughhousing has happened in the scrum, when membes of the Fourth Estate close in on a candidate and pepper them with questions. It's an American tradition that dates back to the American Revolution  -  though I can't ever remember George Washington getting his knickers in a twist whenever some scribe wanted to fixate on his wooden teeth. Even Sarah Palin herself manages to plow though a far angrier press mob without drawing blood (and looking like a million bucks, might I add).

Don't get me wrong. Certain reporter types CAN be assholes (Don't make me draw up a list). But if you're aching to lead the planet's last superpower into the Twenty-teens, you're simply going to have to deal with it. And telling your goons to let loose with the elbows and retorts is only going to make you look bad - especially in an age where a candidate's every wet fart is tweeted, Facebooked and blogged before those late night comedians even come into the office.  That's why we've taken unprecedented steps here at the Lenslinger Institute. We're issuing our first ever STANDING Schmuck Alert on Michelle Bachmann, not because we think she has a prayer of gaining office, but because of the fatwa she has apparently declared on the working media. That Mickey Mouse shit won't get you to the White House, lady, but it WILL get you top billing every night on TMZ. Here's hoping you enjoy the view.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Schmuck ALERT: Just Go Away!

Sergeant SchmuckCalling All Cars! Calling All Cars! Proceed to Sycamore Avenue. Sergeant Pornstache has skipped his meds again and is now accosting a photog. Witnesses say he pushed the cameraman back a block, ranted about his thirty year career and threatened to go viral. The camera's red light glowing. Repeat, the red light is glowing! Apprehend immediately! The repeated use of tasers HAS been authorized...

Sadly, that dispatch came too late. Before reason could be restored to Suffolk County, a member of the local media got locked up and a veteran cop proved himself a complete tool. It started where it ended: Long Island. A photog named Phillip from responded to a police chase turned car crash and quickly fell out of favor with the force. It's unclear if any officers were injured in the wreck, but judging from the pulse of one Sergeant, Robocop himself was pinned under a couple of Hummers and the TV truck had just backed over the jaws of life. "GO AWAY!" yells Sarge - the first of thirteen times. Phillip does so, slowly - all the while being told his just being there threatened a perfectly good investigation. It's hard not to notice kids ambling by the crash scene as the credentialed photog is forced back a block. Near the end of the inevitable Youtube clip, we see the angry officer swooping in by squad car, whereupon arrests Phiilip the photog for obstructing an investigation some distance away... Can't we all just get along? Apparently not. Ya know, it only makes so much sense to argue with a guy who's packin' heat, but I would like to ask Sergeant Neckvein there just what America looks like on his watch. From where I stand on a public street, it doesn't seem to matter whether I'm holding a fancycam or a dandelion. long as I stay out of the way. As a guy who finds himself at just such occasions, I dread the day I come across a deputy so bedeviled by my presence. Schmuck!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Schmuck Alert: Bashing the Flash

School Official goes Schmuck!

When last we saw Joey Flash, the former El Ocho photog was settling into new digs down in Georgia's capital. Since then, he's navigated the mean streets of Atlanta with his trademark aplomb, processing froth and atrocity into bite-size nuggets while maintaining his goofball status. Which is why it's so disturbing to see him and his camera slapped about by some addled school administrator. But that's what happened just yesterday as Joey and reporter Tony McNary asked parents their opinions about a local sexting case involving a principal. A principal! DeKalb County school administrator Dr. Grace Anderson must have been equally outraged, for she stomped off campus and promptly batted about Joey's lens. Now, THAT'S leadership! The clip in question, which can be floating around Facebook but NOT on the station website, clearly shows the assault. However, a police officer on-scene must have missed the whole thing, for he shooed away the apoplectic administrator without so much as a dirty look. Let's see... a principal with sex organs on his phone, an administrator who acts like a thug, a cop who does nothing and a TV station that doesn't share the footage with their viewers... No wonder Atlanta has such a shitty rep!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Schmuck Alert: Memphis Melee

Photog Down
You know, nothing sucks the fun out of a Schmuck Alert like video of an injured colleague. Nonetheless, we here at The Lenslinger Institute have been gravely reviewing the stretcher-side soundbites of one Mike Moore, an award winning photographer/producer working out of Memphis, Tennessee. Seems he and FOX13 reporter Lauren Johnson were working on a story about boys and teen pregnancy Wednesday night when a passing group of youth embraced barbarity. That's a fancy way of saying a bunch of young thugs attacked Moore, pelting him from eventually every angle...
"One kid would draw my attention and before I knew it, it was like kids hitting me from every side and I don't know where the hits are coming from..."
Moore sought care at Methodist Central Hospital being released. Memphis Police charged two teens with Simple Assault and Vandalism over $500. The accused duo are students at Northwest Prep Academy, an alternative school for kids with behavioral issues, where apparently these reprobates are earning their keep. Hmmm, with Emmys and years of experience under his belt, Mike Moore sounds like the kind of guy any troubled young student could learn a lot from. Instead, you attacked him for seemingly no reason. Schmucks!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Schmuck Alert: Pole Dancer

Sigh. You know, just because took a solemn vow to to spotlight camerabuse everywhere doesn't mean I enjoy it. Not when such bad reactions are reaching epidemic levels. Okay, it's still a little early to use the "E-Word", but at this rate 2011 may very well go down as The Year of the Schmuck. Case in point: the latest crime against innocent recording equipment, this time on the streets of San Francisco. Stanley Roberts was the operator in question. Since 2006 the burly journalist has earned the admiration and ire of viewers by turning his lens on people behaving badly in a series he calls People Behaving Badly. With the entire Bay Area at his disposal, Stanley's rarely ever at a loss for victims, er viewers, er violators. Such was the case just the other day when a gentleman took exception with the KRON-TV lens pointing his way. Soooo, 25 year old Israel Marron Castro did what any lucid bystander would do to escape notice. He shoved two ski poles into the rolling camera and babbled something about being high - 'cause Hey, that's how you lay low in San Francisco! Or not. Soon, however, a cameo on the news was the least of Castro's problem as cops moved in and determined he had outstanding warrants - not to mention fresh new charges of assault with a deadly weapon, vandalism, battery, and resisting arrest. As for Stanley, he's fine - though like one Chris "Call the Law" Weaver, he's still scratching his head a bit.
"I really thought the guy would back off but he just kept coming ... had I gotten hold of one of those ski poles I would probably have been put in jail!"
Why bother, Stanley, when such esteemed organizations as the Lenslinger Institute are around to watch your back. Now if you'll excuse us we have an important message for Mr. Israel Marron Castro.... "SCHMUCK!"

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Schmuck Alert: Call the Law!

Since 2005, we here at The Lenslinger Institute have issued countless Schmuck Alerts: snide little jabs at ass-hats dumb enough to attacking a functioning fancycam. This one, however, is PERSONAL.

Crazed hillbillyHow could it NOT be, when founding member Chris Weaver is the victim of what can only be termed a felonious assault? Sadly, that's exactly what happened this afternoon when he and reporter Katie Nordeen found themselves on the side of the road in Davidson County. They were there following up on repeated claims of animal abuse; seems a local equine group noticed two horses they deemed malnourished. When a few phone calls didn't stir up much, Katie and Chris drove out to the address in question to have a look. Weaver was standing in the right of way of a public road, shooting video of the horses when a frothing crackpot straight out of a Stephen King novel rolled up and rolled up HARD.

"I knew when he jumped out of the car I may be in trouble....all I could think is...."Uh, Oh...this is gonna hurt."

Ya know, I though I'd met every type of unhappy customer there is. I don't remember ANY as unhinged as one Danny Kirkus, Jr. In his world, it's perfectly acceptable to attack a cameraman if you perceive him to be your land, to go after him with a stick, to rant, rave and threaten in a manner that makes those Mel Gibson phone rants sound like the sweetest of all booty calls. Really, Mr. Kirkus - what universe do you live in where acting like a cartoon character is permitted? Did you think such behavior would all the queries about your suspiciously skinny horses? Are you as inbred as you look? Or did the greasy mullet and demented spittle come with the hat? Either way, you've got a lot more problems on your unwashed plate than mere neglected equine. You Sir, are facing two (2) Felonies. That's big city talk for 'little gray room'. I certainly hope you get to explore every crack and crevice of one real soon, as not only are you an incoherent menace, but you appear to be a complete waste of flesh as well. Extinction: look into it.

"He swung a few times hitting me on the lower right leg calf muscle and then on my camera lens as he swung the stick higher."

Unlike the near-murderous Mr. Kirkus, Chris Weaver was the essence of restraint. When the room went stupid, he kept his cool and followed the most basic tenant of Cameramanthropology: "Always Be Rollin'". Not only did Weave keep the red light glowing, he kept his own temper in check. That's no easy feat when a camouflaged madman is attempting to go agricultural on yer ass. But then Weaver's a pro. He knew anything more than self-defense would only agitate the jackal. He knew "the law" was on his side (and hopefully, on the way). Most of all, he knew the camera was recording EVERYTHING and rather than have to explain any lopsided drop-kicks, he'd be better off forgoing the heroics. That said, it is a pure act of providence that Kirkus backed off when he did, for it is the nature of grown men and detached tripod handles to want to strike back. I wasn't there of course, but I can tell you with great confidence that the Chris Weaver I know wasn't going to take another lick of that stick.

"He left a mark on my leg...It's a nice bruise...but otherwise I'm fine."

That's a rather charitable, Chris. Others I know would have limped away, collapsed into a ditch and demanded at least few days off to grapple with the trauma of it all. Remind me to keep tabs on Kirkus' case as we make him the poster child for homicidal hillbillies the world over. Schmuck!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Schmuck Alert: OH N-O-O-O!!!

Schmuck Alerts were once reserved for crimes against the video community, but as technology grows so too must the wisdom and vigilance of the Lenslinger Institute. Thus, I submit the first ever Schmuck Alert issued solely for still photographer abuse...

Macon SchmuckWoody Marshall was doing what you might expect a newspaper photographer to do at the scene of a press conference: taking pictures. That was until a lumbering oaf took issue with his technique and tried to wrestle the camera from his hands. Or maybe 28 year old Malik Brown had another reason for rolling through the lobby of Macon, Georgia's City Hall like some evil Mr. Kool-Aid bent on ripple and vengeance. OH Y-E-A-H? Oh No. The evidence is on the tape. It begins with Malik Brown pinning the smaller Mr. Marshall against a wall, then attempting some kind of do-si-do maneuver before exiting the building with all the grace of a buffalo in his death throes. Once outside, Mr. brown grapples with another snapper, pushing and pulling the man while imploring him to relax. "Better calm down, better calm down..." the concerned citizen is heard advising. Hey, I got an idea. Keep your beefy meat-hooks off me and my pulse will slow. Until then, I'm gonna do everything to distract you until some bailiff decides to man up and hit you with his Taser. Or tranquilizer dart. Schmuck!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Schmuck Alert: Silent but Stupid

Hothead Coach 2.0
Audio be damned, I'm calling this one on looks alone. I mean, really, get a load of this guy! The beady eyes, the glowering scowl, that overly bowed-up posture... who wants to bet he's got a shiny Corvette waiting for him in the parking lot? But that's not fair... I don't even know the dude. Until now. For when Nebraska Defensive Coordinator Carl Pelini honed in on photog Brandon Jones, he clearly appeared on the Lenslinger Institute's internal radar and earned himself the right to be called a Schmuck on and off the field. Even if the evidence isn't entirely conclusive...

It happened Saturday, moments after Texas A&M handed Nebraska their cornhusked ass. The score was 9-6, but judging from judging from some folks' reaction, it was a crippling defeat. Not for Brandon Jones, though. He took to the field with a fancycam of sorts. As co-owner of, he was out to capture all the post-game action for his website. Boy, did he! No sonner had he made it about mid-field, Jones captured footage of little man Carl Pelini seemingly berating a man. I say 'seemingly' because Mr. Jones neglected to attach the microphone before running onto the field. Thus, everything he recorded from then on out was devoid of noise. Silent. Nada audio. Hey, it happens.

What followed is a classic case of pantomimed testosterone. Little Carl notices the opponent's camera pointing his way. Turning on the proverbial dime, the Defensive Coordinator makes a bee-line for the lens, with straight up offense in his eyes. At this point, cameraman Jones makes another tactical error: He lowers the camera to his side. Thus, the alleged attack was not properly documented. All we see is a jostling as the frame goes out of focus. According to Jones, though, what happened next was clearly uncool.

“There’s this awkward moment where we’re eye-to-eye with each other,” Jones told me. “And I say, ‘What are you doing?’

It was then Jones claimed the diminutive coach tried to wrestle the camera from his grip. Not able to best the absent-minded cameraman, Lil Carl then breaks the eyepiece in several pieces, throws them into the surrounding crowd and storms off (no doubt to berate the nearest waterboy for some imagined slight). The viedo - while strikingly quiet - is avail;able on the web in glorious slow-mo.

I've watched it several times now and have come away rather convinced it happened just the way Brandon Jones said it did. There's simply no other explanation. Neither is there any good reason for an almost fully-grown man in a polyester uniform to act like such a child. A pox on you, Carl Pelini. You took a simple loss on the gridiron and turned it into a showcase of your own shortcomings. Is that what you teach all those corn-fed youth? No wonder you lost.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Schmuck Alert: Just Spray It!

Just when the Schmuck Alert was growing passé, some tool in Connecticut breaks out the bug spray. Meet Sean P. Quail, loving husband, t-shirt enthusiast, irrational dill-weed. How else do you describe a guy who grabs a can of insecticide out of his handy-dandy dashboard insecticide-holder and aims straight for the Fourth Estate? Oh, I know - SCHMUCK! NOt to mention Defendant, as this sensible gent now faces reckless endangerment, third-degree assault, and a few other charges. It all started when Quail and his beloved exited an Enfield Courthouse after she faced charges of receiving stolen beer. A waiting scrum gave chase; what happened next would be hard to believe, were it not captured on videotape.
(But that's the funny thing about camera crews: they tend to record stuff. Bear that in mind the next time you reach for the RAID, America.)
Reporter George Colli and photographer Alan Chaniewski caught the worst of the wasp and hornet spray. While they rushed next door for first aid, police pursued the would-be Exterminator, arresting him a short time later. It's unclear whether Quail will be rewarded with his own reality show, but we here at the Lenslinger Institute wouldn't be all that surprised. We're just glad members of the media escaped serious injury, for no matter how annoying that logo'd lens might be. no one deserves a face full of distilled bug-death, except maybe Sean P. Quail - who remains a danger to his community and a most repugnant schmuck.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Schmuck Alert: Paper Goon!

Paper GoonProving you don't have to break a sweat to get charged with assault, a mustachioed brute went all 'periodical' on a Texas photog and came away with a court date. It happened in El Paso. KFOX photographer Rudy Reyes was hunched over his camera outside a federal courthouse when the father of an accused judge walked by with an unidentified family friend. Apparently, the swarthier of the two men took offense at being videotaped, for as he passed Reyes' lens, he swatted the photog on the head with a rolled up magazine! Apparently, this bruiser takes more than fashion tips from those old Sopranos reruns. If only he'd caught the show in its initial run, he'd know that even the most conflicted goon wouldn't strike a cameraman with a rolled up copy of Playgirl. Damn those basic cable edits!

To make matters worse, the heavy in question totally blew his HBO audition with a badly acted denial of the videotaped wallop. Chances are Reyes will recover, but it doesn't change the fact that the veteran photographer was within his every right to record the duo waddling up the courthouse steps. No doubt the still-unidentified man thought he saw a mosquito on Reyes' dome - or else he figured a harmless thwack from his dog-eared issue of Playgirl would be received as a show of respect or at the very most, an unrequited love tap. Not so, Asshole! Shortly after the son of the man he accompanied to court was convicted of corruption, police moved in and arrested the well-read troglodyte. It's impossible to know if the assault charge will stick, but I for one hope this thug pulls actual time - if only so he'll have to tell his new cellie how a magazine full of shirtless Chippendale dancers landed him in the poky. Say it with me...


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Schmuck Alert: Tripodicide!

Tripod Daddy

Hey, wasn't there a Stephen King movie where all the old people turned into homicidal whack-jobs? If not there should have been - for it's a highly cinematic scenario. Just ask Jim Morrison. No, not the allegedly dead Lizard King - the Univision photojournalist who was recently accosted by a deranged maintenance man outside an Albuquerque warehouse. Apparently, the elderly fellow didn't want his picture taken (lest the lens steal his soul). How can I be so sure? Morrison's video clearly shows the unidentified man expressing his rancor with a flagrantly displayed middle digit - before taking issue with the sticks. Look out! He's got a collapsible camera stand and he's not afraid to use it! Sorry, I just get a little jumpy whenever someone mistreats a three-legged beast. Which is just what this apoplectic elder proceeded to do: first slamming Morrison's tripod on the ground and then running it over with his pick-up truck. C'mon, Gramps! Someone slip a steroid in your Metamucil? Wheel of Fortune get pre-empted by another Obama presser? Still pissed about the whole horseless carriage thing? Whatever the reason for your rage, one would think a man of your vintage would maintain some level of decorum - or at the very least act like you got some damn sense. Instead, you display the kind of behavior that would send a fifth grader to Detention. That's no way to treat the media, Sir. Nor is it a proper example to set for the younger generation of custodial engineers who don't yet decide how they feel about passing camera crews.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Schmuck Alert: Heene Circus Ruckus

With the media circus camped out in front of Heene's house the roads are packed with News Cars, Live Trucks, Sat Trucks and bodies with Cameras moving to and fro gathering the footage that the housecats desire.

But that's no excuse for what happened today when a "neighbor" tried to get past the gaggle of media and jumped out bitchin' and moaning and groaning about the parked cars and pedestrians endangering HIM! Gimme a break!

With umpteen cameras rolling he decides to get out and challenge one of the news guys in front of the rest of the pack.

Another apparant news guy jumps the neighbor when the neigbor looks like he's getting ready to deck the first news guy. (It was quite the takedown - I give it a 10)

They went round and round, the 2nd news guy asked for others to help him out, but the neighbor got the upper hand, popping the news guy in the face a few times before they broke apart and got up.

One thing that bothers me about this scene is some of the audio in the video where some people are saying for people to stop filming the event. What?!

I can understand if they're just asking for people to help the guy out but it sounded like they wanted to not have footage of the news guy engaging the neigbor. Not a good idea.

Still, this neighbor acted like a jackass and is probably just doing it for the show!



Thursday, October 15, 2009

Schmuck Alert: Who's the Loser Now?

No one likes shooting weather video. It's rather boring, often intemperate and always inconvenient. But rarely do you have to worry about jackholes crawling out of the woodwork. Until now. KATU photographer Bob Bullock appeared to be minding his own business while his camera rolled on a rainy day outside Laurelhurst School in Southeast Portland, when a man approached him and came undone. First, Peter Fournier pressed his back against Bullock's camera, blocking its view. Then he accelerated his ire: cursing the hapless photog, calling him a "loser reporter" and finally, taking a few swipes. Video aired by KATU shows the ensuing struggle, including footage of Fournier manhandling the camera as well as some unfortunate off-screen 'sounds of distress'.

Reportedly, Peter Fournier was upset that Bullock was shooting video of children. It's unclear if he was, though the KATU photog was within his legal right to do so from his public property perch. Harrassing kids seems to a special concern of Fournier, as he's previously been excluded from Laurelhurst Park for using a stun gun on a minor. For his latest vigilante efforts, Fournier was arrested for assault, malicious mischief and impersonating an officer (having waved a badge, assumedly coated in cereal dust, at the KATU photog.) As for Bullock, he suffered cuts and bruises in the melee but now has a great cocktail party story to tell about the day 'that whackjob accosted him in the park'. The lesson here kids? Always Be Rollin'. You never when some delusional superhero is gonna pop out of the bushes and declare war on your lens...


Friday, August 28, 2009

Schmuck Alert: Ma and Pa Crazy

Holy Hemorrhoid! I blow out of town for a few days and the nation's elderly goes bat-shit crazy! Isn't there a Stephen King book where old folks begins lopping off the heads of everyone under fifty? If not, there should be - for the maniacal glee displayed by a certain two seniors rivals anything dished out by a homicidal clown...

We begin in Florida, where two not so nervous news crews climbed the porch of a troubled teen's home with fancycams shouldered and rolling. But before either reporter in tow could ask the first vexing question, an aged woman in an even older housecoat appears, unleashing a brand of profanity that makes even an ex-sailor like myself tense up. If that weren't vulgar enough, the Granny then emerges with a freakin' hoe in hand. But she's not on her way to the garden! Rather, she's there to whup ass first and scrape dirt later. The ensuing moments have to be seen to be believed and while there's no excuse for violence, we at the Lenslinger Institute wince at the situation that sparked it. Simply put, on-camera door-knocks are dangerous, unneeded and generally suggested by those who never leave the newsroom. I've done it myself more times than I wish and while I've never had a grandmother try to cleave my head in two with a digging implement, I've imagined even worse as a door creaked open before me. End On-Camera Door-Knocks NOW!

Gramps Hates CamsNext we head North to Doylestown, Pennsylvania, where an idling pack of TV cameramen waited outside the sentencing of a woman accused of staging a fake abduction. Sure, it's lousy duty - but it's nothing any of us haven't done a hundred times before. Which is why it was so surprising when the father of the accused - no spring chicken himself - bursts from the courtroom and bum-rushes the awaiting scrum. First he clubs the nearest lenser with arthritic fury before turning on another photog who had the audacity to intervene. By then Gramps was operating on pure adrenaline and administers a rest-home beatdown once only seen on certain rap videos. It may have gone on forever (or at least until the old guy was winded) had it not been for the actions of photog number 3 - who manages to grapple the patriarch with his one free meat-hook. By then, others peel the old man off the Fourth Estate and he's soon shuffled away by a rather girlish deputy. AT press time, charges had yet to be pressed.

So what drove these seniors to act like savages? Is there a bad batch of Geritol going around Are there violent subliminal messages in all those Lawrence Welk reruns? Is it just built-up angst now that Bob Barker's stopped feeling up his lovelies every day at eleven? Ya got me - but one thing's for damn sure. I'm keeping a close eye on Granny the next time I'm forced to film a family reunion. Schmucks!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Schmuck Alert: Spit and Rinse!

Dr. SpitHey, what's worse than being stuck in a live truck with a gassy engineer? Getting SPIT ON down at the courthouse. That's what happened to WCBS photog Don Collins recently, when a man accused of practicing illegal dentistry dug deep and flung lung-butter on him. Now, I don't know how that plays in Jersey City, but down here in the South we consider that Justified Ass Whoopin' in the First Degree. Of course we're not advocating violence. We here at the Lenslinger Institute for Better Camera Management are far too droll (and cowardly) for that. We're just saying what a shame it would be if Dr. Spit and Rinse there woke up to find his New Jersey co-op flooded with the guts of the Port-A-Pottie fleet leftover from outside Neverland. Maybe then he'd learn to keep his felonious DNA to himself. Schmuck!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Schmuck Alert: Charlotte's Finest

NOTE: Apocalyptic weather notwithstanding, Team 'Slinger remains committed to exposing gross acts of grab-ass involving TV news cameras - if for no other reason to bring shame to that overpaid choad Kenny Rogers...

Dateline: Charlotte. A couple of TV News photogs from competing stations respond to the scene of a fatal accident, eventually finding a perch on a nearby embankment. Very soon two officers with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department began ordering WBTV photographer Travis Washington to stop shooting. Washington, a credentialed news-gatherer on public property dared to question "WHY?" - a brazen move that brought about the full fury of one particular female officer. Demanding he stop recording, Officer Midol tried to wrestle the camera from Washington's hand, thus causing the delicate tool to drop unceremoniously to the ground. "You're not showing proper respect to people in the accident", admonished the constable before cuffing and stuffing the paid station employee in the back of her police cruiser. There Washington sat for about an hour, before being released without charges. He then sought treatment for a minor back injury related to the confrontation. The camera itself sustained about $1,000 in damage and WBTV plans to ask police to pay for those repairs.

To which we here at the Lenslinger Institute ask "WHAT THE F*DGE?" Police officers ARE in charge of emergency scenes; it's quite common (if not particularly legal) for them to corral photographers behind imaginary lines only they can see. In the Queen City however, law enforcers are also cinematographers, civil rights attorneys, judges and juries. When they attained this lofty status is still unclear, but we assume it happened to them shortly before city officials deemed them Omnipotent Overlords of the Fourth Estate. That looks damn spiffy on a business card, but it ain't worth the taxpayer provided paper it's printed on. And why did Channel 3's cameraman get manhandled while Channel 9's lenser was left alone enough to videotape the whole damn thing? And what's with this trend of shoving a pesky photog in the back of a cop car, only to release him (or her) 120 minutes later with no charges. If I pulled shit like that, I rightly be called a kidnapper, yet some Testicle with a basic law enforcement course under his (or her) gunbelt is free to rewrite the constitution on the spot. WTF?

Washington is on vacation this week. His station, Channel 3, is weighing their lack of options while the Charlotte -Mecklenburg Police Department launches an internal investigation. Channel 9 - which apparently has video of the whole enchilada - is sitting on their tape for the time being. I respect that, I guess; they could make great ratings hay of running that puppy on a loop throughout their every newscast. Still, a little sunshine's powerful disinfectant and releasing said outrage sure would make it easier on armchair pundits like the ones at Schmuck Alert Central. Speaking of which, we're surprisingly law and order around here. I know LOTS of cops and even more news photogs. With a few glaring exceptions, their all folks I'd have over for a bar-b-cue. At breaking news scenes, the attending press is about as thrilled to be there as the cops - who would no doubt prefer parking in clusters just off the interstate. That's cool - I just wish the men and women in blue would educate their junior colleagues a abit better, for far too often it's the rookie cop that loses his effin' mind when lenses gather on the edge of calamity. Seems they should cover the basic rights of the press at the Academy. Hell, I'd be willing to go hold a seminar, provided they' wouldn't go all Abu Ghraib on my tired ass.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

El Paso Schmuck

A News Crew at the ABC affiliate in El Paso was yelled at, ruffed up, handcuffed and detained while covering an accident in El Paso. Stand by for more information...but here's the raw video...

It's hard to know what set off this Texas lawman: his midday assignment, that glowing orb in the sky, the troublesome chafe of his polyester tunic. Whatever it was, it caused the veteran cop to lose his freakin' mind. Press PLAY on the video above and see a constable unglued... he jumps over a barrier, demands an ABC-7 news crew leave public property and eventually detains the two for boldly refusing to resist. I don't get it - and judging from the reaction of reporter Darren Hunt and photojournalist Ric Dupont - neither do they. That's probably because they're used to covering news in the U.S. of A., where members of the media can go where looky-loos do and flipped-over semi-trucks DON'T cause seemingly rational police sergeants to come out of their skin. Big ups to the the shinier badges at the El Paso Police Department; they released the unoffensive news crew minutes after Sergeant Neck-Vain hauled them into the Westside Regional Command Center. Thus, we exclude much of the law enforcement community down there in the Lone Star State when he level the following charge... Schmuck!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Schmuck Alert: Like a Rock

WCCO Frame GrabA camera was grabbed, so this technically qualifies as a Schmuck Alert, but I can't feel but so good about the lens-centered fisticuffs captured recently. A news crew had just arrived outside a Chevrolet dealership in Wayland, Michigan when they caught sight of some freshly fired employees knocking each other to the ground. It may be an unfortunate sign of the times, but whenever anybody is body-slammed on camera, an assignment editor get their wings. Thus, the intrepid news crew dug in on the perimeter and no doubt wondered if they'd be the next citizens tasting the sidewalk. They weren't, but the bruiser in the pink hat did come out and berate them while his buddy stuck his hands in the lens. People, people! How many times have we discussed this? In America members of the media CAN set up on public property and point their cameras just about anywhere. It may be a bit unsavory at times, but that whole 'freedom the press' thing really comes in handy when demonstrating democracy. No doubt there will be other businesses going under in this apocalyptic economy and sure as shootin' a news crew will scurry on over to get it all on tape. Wanna stay off the tee-vee when that happens? Don't shove your coworker into a trashcan in front of God or a photog! We tend to record those things and share them with the tri-county region. Now how's THAT going to look on your resumé? Schmucks...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Schmuck Alert: Run for the Border!

Courtesy: KNVO TVAs proven by that friend of yours who can never hold his liquor, there's a Schmuck in every bunch. That includes law enforcement, where the efforts and rep of a whole department can be sullied by one cop with too much caffeine on board. Just ask Victor Castillo, an Action 4 News reporter who got cuffed and stuffed while covering a police pursuit in the Rio Grande Valley. Seems a drug investigation ended in a case of bent-sheet metal, creating the kind of scene you might watch on the evening news. That's when our man Victor rolled up with gear in tow and caught sight of cops unloading bundles of marijuana from the freshly-wrecked vehicle. Momentarily confused as to which side of the border he was on, Victor set up his camera on public property and did what a free member of the American media has every right to do: he quietly recorded the unfolding events from a reasonable distance. On its face it all seems pretty innocent, but Victor must have passed gas or made one too many doughnut jokes: for one officer took suddenly decided the Constitution wasn't a good enough reason to let some pesky news photog document the confiscation in question.

After exchanging less than pleasantries, the camera-toting Castillo backed off more than he really had to, but Office Bogart still didn't dig it - so he arrested the young interloper for committing television right there in front of God and everybody. Why the nerve! Anyway, knowing outrage when he saw it, the very angry cop placed the brazen photojournalist under arrest and charged him with interfering with public duties. Considering he was a good deal away from the action and surrounded by members of the public when he was arrested, Victor Castillo shouldn't have too much to worry about. For now though, he's still facing a Class B misdemeanor punishable up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine - all for doing his job. What a country! Maybe someday all badge-wearing individuals will read the memo, brush up on the Fourth Estate or just get a freakin' clue! That way maybe we can avoid these predictable fits of testosterone. Until then, careful where you break out your camera; it just might win you a trip to the pokey. Schmuck!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Schmuck Alert: Here Comes the Boss!

Springsteen Slide
Not since a certain nipple-slip has one celebrity body part so dominated the Superbowl Halftime Show. I'm talking about The Boss's ill-advised power slide, an impromptu knee-ride that ended with a violent manhump right there in front of God and everybody. Those who missed it can watch it here, just understand if I avert my gaze out of professional courtesy -- LOOK OUT! That canned bombast may fly down at the Stone Pony, muscles, but this here's the big time! Try and act like you been there before! That includes keeping your top on and your junk off the glass, ya know. Otherwise you'll have to slip all future residuals from 'The River' to the cameraman in question, lest his neck seize up from that face full of millionare mid-section. And while you're at it, drop by my rec room and pick-up all this popcorn I spilled; you nearly bowled me out of the beanbag...SCHMUCK!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Schmuck Alert: Unnecessary Cuffness

"Where the public can go, the cameras can too." You'd think they'd print that on a card or something, stick it in the breast pocket of every deputy, rent-a-cop and baliff in the contiguous U.S. Not so, it seems - for why else would an Atlanta City Hall authority go all Walking Tall on a hapless news crew and slap cuffs on 'em? It all started when CBS 46 News photographer Jeff Thorn and reporter Renee Starzyk were working on a water rates story at Atlanta's City Hall. If that wasn't punishment enough, Officer E.R. Murray - who'd just let the news crew in - decided they couldn't use the shiny fancycam they'd brought along with them. When Thorn and Starzyk refused to leave, Murray got all 'hall monitor' on the workaday duo. Grabbing at their camera, he placed the two men in handcuffs, before thoroughly confusing his superiors with this inexplicable decision. When the higher-ups realized they shackled news crew was guilty of nothing (but missing lunch), they popped the lock and apologized. "Here, have a blank check and a key to the city!", they did not add. Soon after, Thorn and Starzyk managed to escape, baffled, behind schedule, but beyond certain that the cat working the courthouse lobby on Fridays is an easily flustered Schmuck!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Schmuck Alert: Oakland Death Grip

Just when we thought the world was safe for photogs everywhere, some dolt in Oakland up and loses his mind. ABC 7 photographer Dean Smith (not the legendary college basketball coach...who's no schmuck himself) was covering - GASP! -a protest, when a person of some derangement snuck up from behind and tried to rip the fancycam off his shoulder. Egads! The plucky Smith took exception to stranger's plans, and submitted to a first class melon-thumping while holding the high-dollar videocamera in a West Coast death-grip. Video of the ensuing struggle has yet to surface, but here's an interview with the cut and bloodied photog, who'd liek to remind everyone they didn't get his rig... Attaboy, Deano - your bosses owe you big ... good luck with that. As for the would be auteur who failed to score any glass, get yer own...SCHMUCK!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Schmuckin' Christmas!

WE AIN'T DEAD! No matter that News Blues goon Mike James says! Rather, we're on holiday - breaking bread with our extended families as we rest up for the calendar flip. Yes, we expect 2009 to be Year of the Schmuck! Freshly shackled defendants, disgraced politicians, hell - even Paula Abdul could come out swingin'! You've seen American Idol ... that lady's KRA-ZEEEEE! So while we figure out how to re-gift last year's fruitcake, know that we're planning breathless coverage of every. single. case. of camera-related fisticuffs reported in the free world. Meanwhile, check the archives and get off our backs if we got a little slack - we're only photogs, for schmuck's sake!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Schmuck Alert: What's Your Trip?

Those of us studying camera semantics are well versed in SDL (Sudden Lens Response). After all, we're working TV News photogs. We'll referee an Easter Egg Hunt, stalk a politician through Capitol City and follow the PO-leece up a crackhouse porch - all within the course of a single shift. So when we say we've seen every kind of reaction to an unexpected fancycam, we ain't just blowin' smoke. (I myself have been spat at by shackled Grandmothers, nearly rundown by an enraged eighteen wheeler and held up as a God by the delusional crooners of countless American Idol auditions.) Still, even we're flummoxed by the tizzy on display in the following clip...Call it 'The Apoplectic Spaz'... Or don't - see if we care!

It's not often blowhards like us are rendered speechless, but that almost did it. Anyone know the whole story behind this camera-hating maroon? Hmm? Oh yeah ... Schmuck!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Schmuck Alert: Hallway Hooligan!

Just when we thought all schmucks were taking a break for the holidays, this bonehead in a bad 'fro goes postal on a girl. That ain't cool...

It happened outside a Syracuse courtroom and though cameras didn't fully capture the felonious act, the schmuckery is unobstructed...
It was a raucous affair at the arraignment for Valdessa Johnson Thursday afternoon. While members of the media and onlookers were awaiting the finish of the proceedings, an apparent supporter of the victim, Yeisha Howard, attacked News 10 Now reporter Joleene Des Rosiers while she was operating a television camera and shooting video of the hearing.

Action News reporter Jim Kenyon and photojournalist Andy Wolf witnessed the attack. Kenyon reports that the assailant was taken into custody by court security and everyone else in court was escorted from the building. According to court security the alleged assailant is a minor and his name has not been released. The case has been turned over to the Syracuse Police Department.

Ms. Des Rosiers was injured in the attack and was taken to a local hospital for treatment. There is not yet any word on the extent of her injuries. The camera she was operating was damaged. Joleene is a former employee of Action News, having worked here previous to her stint at News 10 Now.
The attacker is underage, so perhaps we should't cancel his Christmas. Still, we're hoping Santa plants a boot up his ass come late December. Schmuck!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Schmuck Alert: Strike a Pose!

Much love to Editor-at-Large Mike James for hipping us to the latest case of young schmucks in love! We just wish the IT geeks at CBS 2 would provide a lttle embed code (Hey, we're trying to launch an empire here!). But enough about us, we now take you to the streets of New York...
The young man with the hot modeling career was striking a pose as he smoked a cigarette in a third-floor window when CBS 2 HD saw him on Tuesday night. Josh Walter, 19, is the younger guy in a relationship scandal that got a city school teacher fired.

Walter explained to CBS 2 HD in somewhat graphic terms that didn't want to talk about it.

His live-in girlfriend is 37-year-old Gina Salamino, a former second-grade teacher. They now have a child together and she wants her old job back. The strain clearly showed on the handsome young model as he got physical with CBS 2 HD cameramen.

"Leave me alone. Understand that? Leave me alone," he shouted as he crossed the street.

He then decided to get up close and personal with our hardware.

Walter was apparently upset at all the attention he's received over the last few days....
Upset? Dude, that's the kind of tabloid dreck that launches multi-million dollar careers these days! Smoldering good looks, a 37 year old paramour, TV crews in hot pursuit? You coulda wormed your way onto The Hills! Now however, you're nuthin' but a Schmuck!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Schmuck Alert: Oh, Canada!

From somewhere North of the border, a case so outlandish, so farcical, so SCHMUCKTACULAR it has to be clicked on repeatedly to be believed!

Canadian Schmuck

Okay, so it's an 18 month old clip from Toronto - but when the research team foundthis clip we blew our java chip Frappucino all over the Lenslinger Institute's command module! That's like a six dollar drink! Anyhoo, after a little wipe-up we decided a belated Schmuck Alert be issued immediately for the outraged optician who decided to go snowball on CityNews' Peter Silverman and his intrepid crew. We're not sure what passes for entertainment up there, but down here in the States, that's some damn good cinema. Schmuck!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Schmuck Alert - Playing Catch Up...

So Many Old Schmucks, so little time.

Luckily no photogs have been harrassed in the past few days...that or you...dear reader...are letting us down.

Anyway...going back a few months...the latest update from WCBS, New York on a dentist with Road Rage. This guy's fit over a parking spot in November, 2007 made him an internet sensation (that almost sounds like a good thing) and he even garnered Dr. Phil's attention -and who wants that?

Here's the video in Raw Form from You Tube...however I do recommend the WCBS links to their stories to see this guy justify his actions.

Back in April a judge said, No Deal, scheduling the dentist for a trial slated for June.

But in August Dr. Road Rage was offered a plea deal designed to allow him to only serve probation. He rejected it....and his lawyer quit on him because of it.

WCBS reports that "Court documents show the dentist has a long record of being charged with harrassment or assault, pleading the charge down to a violation, and walking free. "