Four women in the news recently—two of them exhibiting class, and two no class. First up Karen Handel. With a very slim margin between them, Handel conceded defeat to Nathan Deal in the GOP gubernatorial primary runoff. She could have called for a recount. But instead she issued a statement which stated in part, “We are four-tenths of a percentage point behind Nathan Deal with absentee ballots and overseas military votes yet to be counted. We certainly have the option of requesting the automatic statewide recount. But we are not going to do that. The best thing for our party is to rally around Congressman Deal as our nominee in the fight against Roy Barnes.”
So for the greater good and looking ahead to November, Handel did not want to further split the party after a bruising primary and bitter runoff. That makes Handel a class act.
Another class act on the Democratic side is Angela Moore. She made an impressive run in the primary for secretary of state but did not make the runoff. It was Georganna Sinkfield and Gail Buckner with Sinkfield soundly defeating Buckner even with Moore trying to marshal her 60,000-plus voters for Buckner. Sinkfield, a well-respected 28-year veteran legislator, faces Brian Kemp, the current secretary of state, this fall.
While Moore initially supported Buckner in the runoff, following Sinkfield’s win, Moore immediately sent out messages of congratulations and offers of support to Sinkfield. Moore said she did so in the spirit of a “true Democrat and party unity.” Some may view her actions as too little too late. But this writer thinks if class act awards were being handed out, Karen Handel and Angela Moore should be at the front of the line.
Not even in line, showing no class recently are CBS 46 Reporter Wendy Saltzman and DeKalb County School Board member Zepora Roberts. Both women acted in a base and less than professional manner. News reporters are often aggressive and persistent in getting their stories. It is fine to “ask the tough questions.” It is not OK to ambush people, jump in front of them blocking their path or get in their personal space shoving a microphone in their faces.
I vividly recall a colleague from a competing station in Chicago who was beaten and hospitalized after he refused a mobster’s orders to “get that f***ing camera out of here.” The camera was smashed to bits. Saltzman crosses the line and perpetuates the disdain and lack of respect many have for the news media. She is fortunate this is 2010 in Atlanta with government officials and not the ‘70s in Chicago with the likes of “Big Tuna” Accardo’s boys.
While Saltzman crossed the line, Roberts was out of line. Someone gave her some good advice and she rightfully issued a public apology to Saltzman for threatening to slug her. Roberts must rein in the rhetoric and exercise more self control. Public figures are human and perhaps get pushed to the limit, but the fleas come with the dog. Professionals are expected to set a proper example by comporting themselves at all times with the civility and dignity due their stations in life. It grieves me to criticize a member of the fourth estate (press) and a dedicated community servant. But Saltzman and Roberts in this instance, no class!
Steen Miles, The Newslady, is a retired journalist and former Georgia state senator. Contact Steen Milies at Steen@dekalbchamp.com.