Back in my TV days, it always worried me that the station could be targeted by a nut. We kept the place locked down pretty well, but now and then somebody would show up in the lobby with a messy folder stuffed with paper and demand to see a reporter. The receptionist had a panic button to push in case of trouble, but honestly I wouldn’t have wanted to be the one sitting out there.
I don’t remember anything like this:
A bomb threat was called into our newsroom Sunday morning. Our studios have been evacuated. Police are investigating.
— WNYT NewsChannel 13 (@WNYT) October 28, 2018
Bomb threats are usually bullshit, right? But today, our president is telling his nutjob followers that the media is the enemy of the people — and some of these nutjobs are listening closely.
In 2001 after the 9/11 attacks, there was a spate of incidents where media outlets and politicians started receiving letters containing anthrax. This was no prank; people died and businesses were disrupted as their contaminated buildings were cleaned up. The best defense against an anthrax letter was to keep it isolated and away from the facility.
That’s when we got the anthrax shed.
It sat at the edge of the parking lot and looked like the shed behind your house, but this was where the mail would be sorted and opened before coming inside. Was it some highly trained specialist checking the incoming letters? Nah, they just gave the maintenance guy some dust masks and a letter opener and wished him good luck. Nice.
In a strange way, it was a more innocent time. The pain and trauma of 9/11 was still fresh, and the fear was very real. And we all felt something that today is all but forgotten. We stood together.