Roman Cintula, former CEO of GT-Tech, speaks at the ÒSave Small BusinessÓ rally about mask exemptions at Courthouse Park in downtown Calgary on April 11, 2021. Cintula is part of Freedom4Canada, otherwise known as Freedom Corp., which is directed by Rebecca Ingram, and the corporation collects donations and membership fees for use with lawsuits they have filled against the Alberta Government for claims they made regarding inhumane practices and acts against humanity, along with helping to pay for legal fees of business owners that have defied public health orders. They are not a charity, but an Alberta corporation; however, there are no financial records to collect at a corporate registry for Freedom Corp. (Photo by Alejandro Melgar/SAIT)

Man rants about media and all things COVID

I was ranted at by a man that hates the media on Friday.

The man called at around 8 p.m. Friday night, which is when I finish work, shut my laptop off, and toss my brain into the freezer for a few hours.

However, this man called a couple times, and it rang and rang. I fumbled with the phone as they are connected to headsets and mics for the radio anchors and reporters.

On the second call, I finally wrangled the phone with a headset, and I heard a man on the other side. He asked for my name, which I gave.

Then he asked me about the COVID-19 numbers being reported. I told him I wasn’t sure what he meant. I haven’t written any copy that day on COVID, nor have I looked at any numbers or watched the show.

But he didn’t care.

The media, I learned quickly, is an enigma and a hivemind, according to this man. All is one, and one is all.

I got lectured about how irresponsible the media is for not accurately reporting the numbers, and he said we need to include the people that have died from the various vaccines.

The questions I was asked were more rhetorical, and he never intended to let me have a word in, because as soon as I tried, he just talked over me and continued his tirade. So, I listened.

I was reprimanded, told to be better, and to do my job properly.

It was funny. I was incredibly busy that day, and I was struggling to get anything on the web.

My day consists of me putting together stories chased by other reporters. The problem is I don’t know that much about what they are working on since I don’t do the chasing, so I need to research and do my background before I can even start, taking up precious time.

So, this was very amusing.

The “conversation” went from the media inaccurately reporting on COVID-19 to it being complicit to a genocide of women, and a genocide of children with the recently announced vaccines for children ages five and up.

With women, it was reporting on Pride and any issues regarding the 2SLGBTQ+ community.

I endured a rant about all of humanity being precious, and that it was an honour to be human. Subsequently, I was told that I was soulless and that I need to go die, that the whole lot of us should go die.

My colleague saw that I was sitting back and listening, and realized what was going on. He laughed a little, and wagged his finger, as if to say I should not have answered. I smiled back. He must have heard this guy multiple times.

It was amusing for sure, but my peer-support training told me to let the guy say what he wants and just listen.

He talked about what he dealt with when he was younger. Abuse from school, and from home. He talked about how he found a way to deal with hardship, and that made him stronger.

He said he didn’t need anyone to help him, and he could fight his own fights, that he took a few punches and bounced back stronger.

I said good for you, and that I was happy for him.

Then he turned onto me and said I was spineless, and that I would probably call the police when threatened or confronted at the station or outside the station. He added that I would curl up into a ball in the corner hoping for the police to do something.

It was quite amusing. If he only knew what my life was like, he may realize we have some similarities.

Humanity is but Pidgeon-holed in his eyes, and some are exempt from life.

He went on about Klaus Schwab, Bill Gates, the World Economic Forum, Alberta Health Services, Justin Trudeau, Liberals, CBC, CTV, and Anthony Fauci.

It was the greatest hits of the Calgary Freedom Central crowd, a crowd I have followed since I got into journalism, but also because I saw some old friends spout the same things.

After continuing to tell me how to be a reporter, the man then said, “I can’t even get through to my mom anymore because of you guys.” That’s when I realized something.

He was probably hurting.

Maybe his thoughts and ideas have isolated him from his family, and his friends are now of that crowd.

If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know I have gone to many rallies and reported on events with photos and some point-of-view storytelling.

A person holds a sign in a march with Calgary Freedom Central on 17 Avenue SW on the Beltline in Calgary

A person holds a sign in a march with Calgary Freedom Central (CFC) on 17 Avenue SW on the Beltline in Calgary on Saturday, March 5, 2022.  Alberta mandates have been lifted, but CFC organizer Ryan Audet said that they will keep marching everyday until all mandates around the country are lifted. CFC has been around for the past two years, and they have continued to protest vaccines, mandates, and AHS. (Photo by Alejandro Melgar)

The conversations I’ve heard aren’t exactly lively. They are normally about the same topics, with finger pointing at those that have caused their problems.

I was reminded of a friend that shared potentially working at Rebel News. And you know, there might be something to that as the harassment is probably non-existent. It could very well just be tweets and socials media comments, which are easy to ignore.

But that’s easy to say, they may get an equal amount of harassment from other people with calls.

One of my managers from Vancouver said to never engage with outlets like Rebel News, with regards to covering what they cover, or dispelling something they have reported. He said it only feeds into their content creation stream, and it reinforces that they “got to us,” or some such. So, engaging is the worst thing we can do.

In the same way the man says the media is an enigma that oozes from one overarching blob, Rebel’s view of us is the same.

After a gap appeared after nearly 20 minutes, I thanked him for his words of advice and said I must go. He said I was an asshole. Guess he had to get the last word in.

Afterwards, my colleague laughed and said I shouldn’t have taken the call. And sure enough, he told me he receives calls from him all the time, because he calls every Friday at the same time.

I actually want to talk with him again, and sure enough, because of his consistency, I’ll get my chance.

Though, I guess listening would be more like it.

Still, it would be interesting. Who knows? With enough empathy thrown his way, maybe I’ll get a word in. Or maybe it will be fruitless and I’m only giving him what he wants, along with me banging my head on the desk.

However, with everything I’ve learned through peer support, it’s good practice to engage in listening and practices of compassion.

I guess now I can say that happened. And if my classes have taught me one thing, it’s that I should wear that experience with a badge of honour since journalists are always condemned by readers and judged harshly.

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