In a manic race to bump the fear and get the people of Virginia in line, local CBS affiliate WTVR Channel 6 News, based in Richmond Virginia, decided to hold a staged, commercial photoshoot. Except… these were not regular fashion models and the photos were not to sell shoes or purses, or even scrubs, but instead orchestrated to sell sympathy, fear and panic.
The fake photoshoot orchestrated and reported on by Shannon Lilly and Brendan King of WTVR would have gone on as many have around the country with protesters pitted against healthcare workers if it wasn't for the tenacity and relentless audacity of a local pitbull, Jess Lynne Black.
The above video was captured by Black while she was participating in the protest, as a protester. Once she locked on to the media scam, she made it her mission to be there and call them out every chance she could.
The same day, in the same city, on the same block as the WTVR scam, was a husband/wife pair wearing white medical coats followed around by Daniel Sangjib and Alexa Welch Edlund of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
While it's true the male “healthcare worker” was really a Surgeon as reported, the media that has circulated this story around the nation conveniently left out Dr. Erich Bruhn is, in fact, a retired Colon and Rectal Surgeon. His wife, Christine M. Bruhn, is a retired UC Davis professor that was a Consumer Food Marketing Specialist who studied consumer attitudes toward food safety and quality.
Both are a far cry from the front-line COVID-19 warriors that the mere omission of who they actually are would lead the average reader to believe.
Look. If someone wants to protest the protesters, have at it! If they want to play dress-up for effect, or for perceived power, have at it! It's when media organizations exploit their costumes (because that's all they were for the Bruhns) to portray them as “health care workers” is where irresponsible journalism leans more towards fraud, especially given the climate of the world we live in now.
I liken a retired doctor showing up in a medical uniform and using that uniform as fuel for media propaganda, to a police officer wearing his uniform on his day off… just to get free food at McDonald's. Not only was it was out of the ordinary for Bruhn, or his wife, to wear doctor coats, they took it a step further and used those coats to portray something that they aren't.
They could have simply stated the facts: the couple are concerned citizens wanting to exercise their right to protest the protest – because, in the end, that's all the validity that a retired Colon and Rectal Surgeon and his retired University Professor brings to this argument.
I think it's interesting that WTVR repeatedly refers to Bruhn as “doctor” and “surgeon” in their coverage, but when referencing their guy, it was only “a man in scrubs”. Plausible deniability
You really cant believe anything anymore, especially when all “local” news sources are owned by a handful of media companies. But that's a whole other story entirely.
One that we're working on right now.