Huffpost DC

Andrea McCarren, WUSA-TV Reporter, Faces Big Backlash Over Underage Drinking Report

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WUSA-TV's Andrea McCarren
WUSA-TV's Andrea McCarren

WASHINGTON -- A veteran D.C.-area broadcast journalist, WUSA-TV's Andrea McCarren, has pulled herself from local airwaves after a recent investigative report on underage drinking prompted intense backlash and bullying of her children at school.

As The Washington Post reports:

McCarren chose to back away when her children told her that some of their high school classmates were making insulting and threatening comments, in person and electronically, as a result of her reports. She said she and WUSA news director Fred D'Ambrosi agreed that she would stay off the air for a week while [Derek] McGinty "put his face and voice" on her work.

As a result of the bullying, one of McCarren’s children stayed home from school last week. She said both children are back in class, and "only minor name-calling continues."

McCarren's report targeted a market in Foxhall Village, which she documented selling alcohol to underage customers.

While Washington City Paper initially poked fun at McCarren's report, the alt-weekly's Shani Hilton said it was regrettable that the situation has led to McCarren disappearing from the airwaves and her reporting work being voiced over by a male colleague Derek McGinty:

I fully respect McCarren's decision to put her kids first and step back and don't really see a better solution for dealing with this kind of cruelty. But it's troubling that a woman's work is being appropriated by a male colleague in order to protect her, especially given the dearth of female investigative reporters out there. That McCarren is planning to change the scope of reporting she does— according to the Post, she'll shift her focus away from teens and toward their parents—is a disappointing result, too.

Again, it's hard to come up with a better resolution to the issue McCarren is facing other than for her to lay low. But on the larger scale, it's a shame to see a professional silenced by the fact that not just she, but her children, have been subject to bullying.