When Jana Shortal of KARE 11 news station in Minneapolis woke up on Tuesday, she probably wasn’t thinking much about her fashion choices. Admittedly, Shortal was thinking about Jacob Wetterling, an 11-year-old boy who went missing in Minnesota in 1989, whose remains were only just found this week.
The Wetterling case has haunted Minnesotans — and much of America — for decades, so when people were watching Shortal deliver the news of Wetterling’s fate, they probably weren’t thinking much about Shortal’s fashion choices either.
That is, except for one person.
C.J., a columnist for the Minnesota Star Tribune, wrote a scathing piece on Shortal’s report, but her main focus wasn’t about the atrocities that befell Wetterling back in 1989. Instead, C.J. chose to dedicate her work that day to shaming Shortal’s skinny jeans.
“She looked great from the waist up in a polka-dot shirt and cool blazer, but the skinny jeans did not work. I was among a number of media types who found them inappropriate and, given the gravity of the day’s subject matter, downright jarring,” C.J. wrote, via Jezebel (C.J.’s original article was removed on Wednesday).
“Being hip in skintight pants while discussing this story was unseemly, perhaps disrespectful,” C.J. continued. “Many TV types keep a spare set of clothes around the station just in case what they are wearing isn’t appropriate for what they end up covering. Maybe Shortal doesn’t.”
How dare Shortal, right? Exactly what is the proper attire for reporting the death of a child? Formal wear? A suit skirt? It seems like what Shortal was wearing isn’t the real issue here — and she’s definitely not the one making light of the situation, as C.J. had accused her.
The public has rallied around Shortal, expressing support — and many have called for the removal of C.J. from the Star Tribune staff.
dang- disappointing that @DishCentral attempted to diminish another woman when our community should be coming together to mourn
— Alexandra Heide (@alexinthecity) September 8, 2016
Shortal, of course, was devastated that the columnist chose to home in on something so petty, trivializing Wetterling’s story.
The Star Tribune yanked the article and issued an apology after there was an uproar, but it seems a little too late. Have they no editors? Does C.J. have no checks and balances for the content that she publishes? It seems crazy that her ridiculous article ever made it to print on a reputable/non-tabloid news site.
C.J. herself has issued an apology statement, saying, “I want you to know that I’m sorry it hurt Jana Shortal and I have told her so,” but her Twitter activity doesn’t really point to regret. Not only did C.J. slam Shortal in her column, she also took her bullying to social media.
. @DishCentral IDK what my clothing has to do with covering the tragedy of Jacob's death. My only 'wish' on Tuesday was for Jacob's family.
— janashortal (@janashortal) September 7, 2016
What do you think of C.J.’s remarks about Shortal’s clothing?
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