Skip to content

OPINION: Misplaced anger brings 'fear factor' to working in health care, media

Columnist Wendy King wishes people would dial down the rage toward people who are just doing their job
2022-02-14 Disheartened doctor
Stock photo

There is just so much chatter. So much information coming at us every day, all day, and I wonder if we are really taking it all in.

In the current environment, surely you have heard about people in certain occupations being threatened and harassed.

Just consider that. Here, in Canada, some of our neighbours are afraid to go to work.

It has always been true that some jobs come with a degree of danger, such as law enforcement or firefighters. 

What is happening now is entirely different. It has been especially evident in the medical field — the very people trying to keep us all healthy. And, of course, the media.

Doctors and nurses, in some areas, have been advised not to wear their scrubs or identification tags when in public. They are told to be vigilant going from the parking lot to the hospital. Some get security to escort them daily.

Why? Who knows? Nurses and doctors could be harassed for administering COVID vaccinations or because of mask mandates. People don’t like waiting. They don’t like rules. They think they are sicker than the next patient. Pick an issue.

Would you have ever believed health-care providers, especially in a pandemic, would be considered the bad guys?

It is not just going to and from the job but the abuse continues on the job. We have all heard horror stories about the verbal and physical abuse going on in hospitals. I have also recently heard from various media colleagues, in both the print and broadcast fields, who have been told not to wear branded clothing.

Some media outlets are going as far as to have their call letters removed from their station vehicles while others have been told not to use the vehicles with the branding on them. 

It's shocking. As you might imagine, branding and marketing are crucial to all businesses not the least of which is the communications business. Can you even imagine being the face/voice of the public and having to hide?

I have been a reporter for 40 years and we were always encouraged to wear station gear. You wanted the public to know where you worked. You wanted to engage with the public. There was never a time I was afraid to do that. I was always proud of my profession and the job entrusted to me.

The thought that management is concerned enough to tell employees not to be too visible is incredible to me.

Some media outlets have shut down their public comment section on social media as it has become too toxic.

There are too many accusations, too much name-calling and even death threats.

Let that sink in.

People who don’t like to hear news about vaccinations or updated COVID numbers are threatening to harm the announcer.

Other reporters have been told they are not required to take angry phone calls. If they do get them, don’t engage with the caller.

This is so contrary to the way the media has always worked with the public. It has always been a back and forth. We encouraged dialogue. Talk and listen. That is what we do or did.

Why are these threats coming? Because the media is doing its job, reporting on what is happening locally and around the globe.

Your anger is so misplaced. The media is telling your story. To silence journalists is to silence yourself.

I am just so disheartened that there is now a fear factor to the work as well. Neither the health-care profession nor your media outlets are your enemy.

Reader Feedback

About the Author: Wendy King

Wendy King writes about all kinds of things from nutrition to the job search from cats to clowns — anything and everything — from the ridiculous to the sublime. Watch for Wendy's column weekly.
Read more