Guest View: Latest news with Lauer breaches the TV-smashing point

By Kate Hayden,

I am ready to smash a TV.

As much as I like Savannah Guthrie, I am ready to lovingly sharpen an axe and carefully, forcefully aim it straight down the center of my boyfriend’s practically bought, often-used and relatively humble flat screen. I will take it off of the entertainment center so as not to risk harming his turntable, situated a shelf below.

Reporter Kate Hayden
Reporter Kate Hayden

I would like to see every fiberglass pixel shatter across the hardwood floors, never to be recovered by human hands and only sought out by the vrrrrrrrrrr of my Shark cordless vacuum, which I will gladly transport from my apartment to his because the sweep of a broom will not be satisfying enough. It will break my vacuum. I will climb the stairs and ask to borrow the neighbor’s.

I could smash my own TV, but it wouldn’t be nearly as satisfying as I have never hooked it up. For two years, it has sat in the spare bedroom with carefully preserved cathode ray tubes that probably have not seen action since 2003. I only begrudgingly accepted it from a relative who was surprised to hear I did not plan to purchase any television set.

No, no, his TV will have to do, although I am not sure he will love that idea. He may walk in from the kitchen after hearing an unusual noise and see me standing over my handiwork, calmly flicking the microscopic remains out of my bourbon Old Fashioned. He will either sigh heavily, or call the police.

When Cedar Falls’ finest law enforcement arrive, I can tell them all about former NBC reporter Matt Lauer’s desk, the one with the door-locking mechanism. I will tell them how I hate the days I watched national morning newscasts, because even when the reporters do it well the stories are short, lacking in nuance and delivered by industry stars in an industry that should have no star power.

I will tell the police how frustrating it is to explain to male friends and even some female friends that flirting should never be appropriate in an office or industry environment. I will say it is even more exasperating to explain that gently cupping a person’s butt is NOT flirting, even outside an office environment, and is harassment because that person did not consent to you touching their body.

Touching a person’s body without permission is not flirting. Flirting is not a political correctness issue. Touching a person’s body without permission is not flirting.

I might swear. I’ve been prone to do that lately.

I am glad all these reports are coming out, because my friends in TV news are feeling less crazy about their lives. I invite more of these reports; I want accountability for every man (and woman) who abused these positions of power in a field I feel so damn passionate about.

Journalism is broken, although not in the ways other citizens believe it to be. It is broken because the interns, the reporters, the producers and the fact-checkers aren’t believed or valued, aren’t supported by Company Leadership & Star Employees. They are laid off, then re-hired, then laid off and offered a limited freelancing contract because of the budget.

Of course, there’s also limited protection in radio, newspapers, online journalism, sports journalism, Congress, Hollywood, the Iowa Legislature, screenwriter’s workshops, college campuses, high school hallways, town streets, locker rooms, photography workshops, Twitter, revenge porn websites, anonymous email-generating websites, trade schools, the U.S. military and maybe a few other spots I might have missed in this list.

There are plenty of tools on which I could take out my frustration, but I feel nothing encapsulates it as much as an ordinary, run-of-the-mill TV that spews out voices and unchecked streams of data at me. At least my laptop allows me the satisfying TAPTAPTAPTAPTAP as I write and revise and write and write and read.  

I wish Matt Lauer would show up in Charles City today so I could scream at him and a stationary TV all at once.

I don’t know why it was Matt Lauer who really kicked my anger in gear this fall. I just imagine being a female NBC staff member who goes to his office, and then suddenly finds the door locked behind me as he gets up from his desk.

If I had the wherewithal in that moment, I would smash his TV.