When Fred Wheeler was acting commissioner, and again when Donald Austin was named commissioner of the Detroit Fire Department, I outlined some suggestions on how to handle their Charlie Leduff problem. I sensed then, and it has been confirmed by the video above, that no one in charge reads STATter911.com, or, if they do, they don’t believe I know a thing after 38 years covering the fire service as a radio and TV reporter.
Deputy Commissioner Wheeler, who has been chased after by WJBK-TV’s Leduff for quite some time, has looked foolish after many of these ambush interviews. None more so than what you will witness above when he slaps the microphone out of Leduff’s hands and apparently lets loose with a couple of expletives (unless Leduff is just taking after Jimmy Kimmel and doing some unnecessary censorship). Fred Wheeler then opens up his tablet and appears to start taking video of Charlie Leduff.
Leduff was trying to get some answers after touring a number of city fire stations and putting on quite a show as he encountered what he described rather graphically, and with a lot of coughing and gagging, numerous cases of raw sewage inside and coming from the firehouses. The reporter/advocate contrasts this with the city spending $60 million on a new public safety building.
If you are in a position of authority such as Wheeler, please make sure you don’t let this happen to you. In the first place, giving the reporter the chance to make you look weak and on the run as you avoid the camera, means you’ve already lost this battle. And if you make it worse by letting your ego and anger take over as Wheeler did, you’ve probably lost the war.
Deputy Fire Commissioner Fred Wheeler erupts in anger in front of Fox 2 cameras. All of this happening the same day Detroit breaks ground on the new headquarters for police and fire. While the top brass get new diggs, firefighters are forced to work in filthy conditions.
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Also on STATter911 …
- Mobile sign in Detroit says TV’s Charlie LeDuff lied. Former Dep. Fire Commissioner Fred Wheeler’s name on press release announcing campaign.against reporter. – October 25, 2012
- Update: Detroit’s mayor investigates Deputy Fire Commissioner Fred Wheeler’s confrontation with TV reporter Charlie Leduff. – May 31, 2012
- UPDATE: Detroit Deputy Fire Commissioner Fred Wheeler gone. Mayor Dave Bing swings axe after confrontation with reporter Charlie LeDuff. Commisioner Austin answers the questions Wheeler wouldn’t. – May 31, 2012
- Detroit TV reporter says state now investigating firehouses. Charlie LeDuff sounds off on what real story is after confrontation with fire official. – June 2, 2012
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