CBS Chicago found itself swarmed with criticism—mostly from other journalists—after the outlet aired a full segment on Thursday night profiling a local ice cream truck driver who broke “COVID-19 protocol.”
The segment, featuring CBS Chicago assignment editor and journalist Greg Kelly, added that the driver was “breaking the law” for being in a part of town that bars ice cream trucks—a fact they didn’t learn until well after Kelly harassed the driver on camera.
The segment included a video of Kelly rebuking “Mr. Freeze” for selling ice cream in spite of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order and a plea for viewers to call 911 if they see “that ice cream man.”
“No gloves? No Mask? No problem,” CBS Chicago anchor Brad Edwards said in a tweet sharing the video clip. “This ice cream man is not only ignoring COVID-19 protocol, but he’s breaking the law. Such trucks are forbidden [in] Hoffman Estates. The Village Manager says if you see him, call 9-1-1.”
“Here’s Mr. Freeze (not his name), unmasked, ungloved, taking cash for cones,” Edwards says as the camera closes in on the driver’s face and the chyron reads, “Ice Cream Truck Driver Not Practicing Social Distancing In Hoffman Estates.”
“That’s when CBS assignment editor Greg Kelly said, wait a minute,” Edwards continues.
“Why are you trying to take ice cream out of the hands of children?” the driver asked Kelly. “Are you sick? … I’m not sick either, so why are they quarantining healthy people?”
“He drove off after the questioning of our assignment, desk editor, dad, biker, and journalist Greg Kelly,” said Edwards, “but this all happened at Hoffman Estates, and tonight we’ve learned ice cream trucks there are banned, have been for years.”
No gloves? No Mask? No problem. This ice cream man is not only ignoring COVID-19 protocol, but he's breaking the law. Such trucks are forbidden Hoffman Estates. The Village Manager says if you see him, call 9-1-1. @cbschicago pic.twitter.com/ebQftLpCUD
— Brad Edwards (@tvbrad) May 8, 2020
Unsurprisingly, Edwards was taken to the woodshed—largely by his fellow journalists—for the report.
“He’s trying to make an honest living. Call 911? What the hell is wrong with you?” said foreign policy journalist Jordan Schachtel.
He's trying to make an honest living. Call 911? What the hell is wrong with you?
— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) May 8, 2020
“If we arrest the ice cream man for selling pre-packaged treats to the least vulnerable population group in America (namely, children), that’ll probably fix things,” said Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro.
If we arrest the ice cream man for selling pre-packaged treats to the least vulnerable population group in America (namely, children), that'll probably fix things https://t.co/2qrUJON0wp
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) May 8, 2020
“Calling 911 on the ice cream man? Just when you think journalism can’t sink any lower. But when you are a ratings-challenged station I guess anything goes,” posted meteorologist Kevin Williams.
Calling 911 on the ice cream man? Just when you think journalism can't sink any lower. But when you are a ratings-challenged station I guess anything goes.
— Kevin Williams (@wxbywilliams) May 8, 2020
Edwards defended the segment in the face of the massive backlash, reiterating that ice cream trucks are not allowed in the area.
Ice cream trucks aren’t allowed in Hoffman Estates.
— Brad Edwards (@tvbrad) May 8, 2020
Still, Kelly harassed the ice cream truck driver before becoming aware of that detail.
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