Reporters Distort 4-Year-Old's Gun Comments to Make Him Sound Like a Gangster (VIDEO)

4 Year Old gangsterParents beware! The next time a TV crew wants to talk to your kid about an issue in your neighborhood, you might want to say "thanks but no thanks." A Chicago CBS affiliate accused of editing comments about guns made by a 4-year-old bystander to make him sound like a gangster in the making is a pretty shocking look at what some adults think of little kids. 

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The 4-year-old appeared in a June 29 news broadcast about a shooting of two teens, and he was intro'd by former CBS2 anchor Steve Bartelstein (who was mysteriously fired days later) who referred to the boy's "disturbing reaction" to watching the incident on his neighborhood streets. Indeed, the words coming out of the boy's mouth are disturbing.

"I'm not scared of nothing," he says. Then, when asked if he'll stay away from guns when he gets older, the 4-year-old says, "No ... I'm gonna have me a gun." Just watch:

Freaked? According to a full clip of the interview, the little boy plans to have a gun because he wants to be a member of the Chicago police force. Not so "disturbing" anymore, is it?

The station is getting heat for its complete lack of journalist ethics and its racially-charged motives. The complaints are valid. But what's equally disturbing is that they chose a child to shape the story they wanted.

As a reporter who spent more than a decade in community journalism, I've tread the path of the journalist faced with chatting up a little kid for information. It's not often easy to get out of them what you really need to know. Some are too shy in the face of a stranger. Some are just kids, they don't speak in full sentences, they have no concept of what "sounds" good. But what you get from a source is what you get -- even from a kid. It's better to leave a crappy interview out entirely than mangle it to suit your own purposes.

I have to wonder why they made this blatant change. Did they think no one would notice because he was 4 and he probably wouldn't still be awake during the nighttime news to watch? Did they not care, figuring the kid was JUST a kid, and therefore wouldn't remember what he'd said? Or did they figure it was their word as adults against this 4-year-old kid, a kid they obviously thought so little of that they'd cast him as a wannabe hoodlum?

What these "journalists" forgot is that kids are people too. They deserve the same respect as an adult interview subject. They deserve the right to tell their own story, not be treated like a puppet for adults.

Have you encountered adults who treat your kids like this? What do you think this station should do for this child?

 

Image via YouTube

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