BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - It's been about a month since the controversial White Lives Matter rally was scheduled at Texas A&M, then cancelled by the University for a number of reasons as we've outlined on KBTX.
It is once again a slippery slope on which we find ourselves.
Many saying, "don't cover the event plans, ignore them and they will go away." Some accusing KBTX of inciting hate, some saying we are simply sensationalizing this story, saying its all about ratings, or – KBTX is doing this in hopes there will be violence. I've heard some really absurd comments, but that one? Beyond ludicrous.
We received this note, followed by - I guess what I would describe – as a response from the true heart of KBTX. This is hard to read, harder to understand, some of it is sarcasm, but this one came to KBTX from J-D:
"Can you please let us know when the next BLM rally will be held? There are absolutely zero safety concerns with the WLM rally, unless antifa (anti-facist) Black Lives Matter, splc (Southern Poverty Law Center), communists, & every other hate group were to show up.
This has absolutely nothing to do with safety. They will be in a building with security. What are the fears? White Lives Matter will show up armed to the teeth and start killing all of the students. This is BS Propaganda,& everyone knows it. Really happy you put a Black female reporter on the story. Talk about inciting hate. Double-Standards all day long nation-wide!"
J'D's reference was to News 3's Whitney Miller, for those of you keeping tabs of such things. News 3's Rusty Surette responded to each question. With regard to the next Black Lives Matter Rally, Rusty responds:
"There is no BLM rally currently planned anywhere in the Brazos Valley that we are aware of."
About this having nothing to do with safety:
"RUSTY: Texas A&M says it has no issue with free speech. That's why Spencer was allowed to hold his event on campus last year. This time it is a safety concern, according to the school. J-D claims they would be in a building with Security. Rusty responds:
"That's incorrect. The upcoming rally that was planned would have been outdoors and there was no security detail planned since the organizer didn't go through the proper channels for this." And Rusty continues his responses to other questions, including to reply to the comment about KBTX reporter, Whitney Miller. Remember – J-D says we were inciting hate by having a "black" reporter on the story. Rusty writes:
"We're also happy Whitney Miller is back from vacation and on this story. She's one of the most fair and trusted reporters we have. Reach out anytime. We may not be able to respond to every message you send, but we always value the feedback of our viewers." As for the responses I read sent to Rusty from two members of our newsroom including Whitney, here are just two sentences, two that summarize what I love, respect and admire about the staff at THIS MOMENT at KBTX News 3:
"Rusty-you are a true gentleman. Your response was respectful and accurate. I believe the best thing we can do is respond like Rusty did tonight. We have to let these people who are trying to stir the pot know we are here to report the facts and move on with our day!"
And THAT is a culture no one can teach. Be in touch, we respect your opinions, and – each other.