Cruise Control

This is a story you did not see on our newscast tonight. 


See whether you would have made the same judgment call:


This much we know to be true: a woman from Jacksonville has filed a lawsuit against a cruise line.  She alleges a fellow passenger raped her on the ship, alleges lack of security, and wants the cruise line to pay.


We know about the lawsuit because the attorney (who you’ve likely seen in one of her countless national television appearances) called a news conference to announce it. She brought in the woman, who was clearly on an emotional bubble, yet willing to go public. 


The attorney read a statement:  woman on the cruise with a friend; they’re in the disco; she orders a glass of water from the bar, she gulps it and realizes immediately it’s something other than water; friend had gone to the bathroom; a fellow cruise passenger at the disco offers to help find her; instead, he gets the woman alone, becomes forceful and assaults her.


The woman then read from a short statement (after news crews waited for the attorney to move her chair in up close to the woman and put her arm around her, thereby ensuring she would be in the camera shot).   The woman read about her emotional and physical pain; how her marriage has suffered; how her emotional state has confused her children; how she is financially crushed under the medical bills.


Questions, anyone?  Yes, plenty.


The woman cannot say what she drank, but she knew it didn’t taste like water.  She says she positively identified the offending passenger.  She said ship security came to her cabin after the incident.  What, if any contact did she have with the male passenger prior to the incident?  The attorney does not allow that answer.  She ends the news conference.  Just like that.


Another attorney, an expert on cruise ship crime, talks more broadly about lack of security on ships, statistically high numbers of crimes, lack of prosecutions, cover-ups.


So, does the story of the lawsuit air?


The attorney seems confident it will.  After all, she called a news conference.  We showed up.


Cruise ship crime and passenger safety are certainly legitimate concerns and deserves attention and action.   Alleged sex crime on a cruise ship is certainly what they call a sexy news story.   


I explained to the attorney I felt it would be unfair to air allegations against a cruise line without more vetting, details, facts and events that can be corroborated.   


I received a lecture about the hundreds of news conferences she has conducted, her work advocating for women.  “Fine, don’t air it,” she said.


By late in the afternoon, I learn there are no charges filed against that male passenger, no arrests.  The FBI will only acknowledge a “complaint”.


The cruise line says the woman did not report the incident while she was on the ship.  (Didn’t the woman say ship security came to her cabin after?)


The bigger question: Why call the cameras to make an allegation public?  Why not see the case through, then call in the cameras for the outcome, after facts, evidence and rulings are issued?


Maybe bad publicity is good for settlement chances? 




2 Responses

  1. Thanks to Ms. Milberg for placing journalistic ethics above the media’s ever growing thirst for coverage of any inane “news story” that comes along. Clearly, Channel 10 will not succomb to the pandering antics of buffoonish plaintiff’s lawyers. Wish that others would follow this example of newsroom integrity and perhaps reverse the trend that is plaguing the news industry. Just my two cents.

  2. You are living in a fantasy world of make believe if you are surprised the reporter called you in the first place; that’s the very fodder that drives and fuels you newshounds and your “larger than life itself” ratings numbers games each nite at six and eleven. You just did not fall for it this time around..

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