Back on October 10th, one of our local news channels ran a story about a “shocking” Halloween display in Woodstock, Georgia. As the story aired, I watched as WSB-TV tried to portray Melissa Neese, the woman responsible for creating the display, as a racist because her Halloween display depicted John McCain and Barack Obama with a skeleton standing behind Mr. Obama.
At the time, I felt that Ashley Hayes, the reporter covering the story, should have told the whole story. She should have remained objective, but fell far short. She could have emphasized the fact that Mrs. Neese was not yet finished with the display, but she didn’t. It was Mrs. Neese who said, “I was gunna put Hillary up but I hadn’t got to her yet”, but Hayes didn’t address that truth until the end of the report when most peoples perception of Mrs. Neese had already been made.
Ashley Hayes is a seasoned journalist with a good reputation covering general news stories and investigative pieces, so why would she attempt to portray Mrs. Neese in this light?
As I said before, she could have been more objective, but instead, she introduced the story by saying, “Joke, prank, political statement, however you interpret this, depending on who you talk too, it is a frightful sight attracting attention”.
A Frightful sight? Hardly. It was hilarious, and obviously not finished. Granted, the proximity of the skeleton to Mr. Obama may lead some to believe Mrs. Neese’s actions were nefarious, but the display was not finished. She made it clear it was not her intention to offend anyone, she was simply combining elements of Halloween and the upcoming Presidential election.
But Hayes did not stop there, she continued by saying, “Viewers haunted by the images contacted our station but so far no one has approached the Neese’s about the depiction and the possible insinuations behind it”.
They were haunted by it? Seriously? It’s a Halloween display. I’d like to know how many people actually called WSB-TV saying they were “haunted” by the display.
I always find it interesting when people pull the race card. In my experience, however, the people quickest to pull the race card are usually the ones who have race issues of their own.
As I watched the report, I was shocked. I was not shocked at the display. I was not shocked at the woman who was putting the display together. I was shocked that the media attempted to portray Mrs. Neese as a run of the mill typical redneck racist.
Tonight, I received an email from Melissa Neese. Apparently she has been sending out emails trying to set the record straight, so I thought I would share some thoughts on the email and the pictures she sent of her finished display.
Her email contains several spelling and grammatical errors, but I won’t hold those against her. She begins her email with an apology.
Well I’am disapointed that I do not see the new updated news on my diplay and my apology that the good people of woodstock and Atlanta diserve to hear.
It’s clear, to me, that she never intended to cause such a stir, and she is trying hard to make amends for any misconception people may have had about the display. Of course, she has now finished the display.
It’s a nice display, but something was lost in sanitizing it, don’t you think? I’m sure you notice the skeleton is completely out of the picture now and giant inflatable pumpkins have replaced him. I’m sure she tossed the skeleton to avoid any further charges of racism or anti-pumpkinism. Here is the rest of her email.
FIRST OF ALL I WOULD LIKE TO SAY SORRY TO ANY ONE THAT WAS OFFENDED BY MY DISPLAY .
YOUR RIGHT IT WAS DONE IN BAD TASTE AND WITH OUT FOR-THOUGHT.
THE REASON FOR THIS IS NOT WHAT YOU THINK .
I SIMPLY DID NOT AND WAS NOT THINKING OF MR. OBAMA AS A BLACK MAN AND THAT IT WOULD BE LOOKED AT IN A RACIST WAY .
I WAS NOT EVEN DONE WITH THE DISPLAY WHEN THE NEWS MAN CAME BY
I WAS GOING TO MIX HALLOWEEN AND THE ELECTION , WITH THE INTENTIONS TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO VOTE FOR WHO THEY WANTED AND MAKE THERE VOICE HEARD .
SINCE THIS HAS AIRED ,I HAVE CHANGED MY DISPLAY AND IN MUCH MORE TASTE-FULL FASHION .
SO NOW THAT I HAVE BEEN MARKED AS A RACIST AND GOD KNOWS WHAT ELSE BY PEOPLE THAT DO NOT EVEN KNOW ME,
BY THE WAY MARTIN LUTHER KING IS ONE OF MY HEROES OF ALL TIME .
BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT MY POINT IS .
FOR IF ANY THING WILL COME OUT OF THIS ,PEOPLE WILL GO OUT AND VOTE ON NOVEMBER 4TH THEN MAYBE THIS WILL NOT HAVE ALL BEEN FOR NOTHING AT MY EXPENSE .
IT WILL HAVE BEEN WORTH IT FOR EVERY ONE HAS SEEN THE OLD DISPLAY AND MY NAME IS TARNISHED FOREVER AND THE NEWS PROBABLY WONT COME BY AND FILM THE NEW DISPLAY AND THEY ARE NOT INTERESTED IN MAKING A WRONG RIGHT .
I ASK ,YOU THAT KNOW ME AND KNOW THAT I AM NOT A RACIST TO FORWARD THIS TO ANY ONE THAT WILL LISTEN AND THAT MY APOLOGIES WILL BE HEARD
THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS ALL
If it were me, I would have put the “shadow of death” skeleton in that display right between Barack Obama and John McCain. Whoever wins this election is going to face some of the most difficult challenges any President has had to face.
With the election just 16 days away, we are facing one of the most critical times in our nation’s history. We should be asking questions, hard questions, and our media should be out there finding the answers to those hard questions we need answered. Instead, they are focusing on silly Halloween displays in Woodstock and attacking the reputation of plumbers who simply step up and ask those questions themselves.
In time, the story of Mrs. Neese and her Halloween display will fade into obscurity. In a matter of days there will be another “Mrs. Neese” and a whole other “controversy” to throw your way. But remember one thing, no matter what you think about Mrs. Neese or Joe the Plumber, their stories highlight everything wrong with our media today.