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When is a nosepick not just a nosepick?

Fascinating journalism scandal brewing at the Orange County Register. Here's the Cliffs Notes version:

--Last week, Orange County Register front-page editor CP Smith was caught on camera picking his nose while Register reporter John Gittelsohn gave an interview to KOCE, the local PBS affiliate.

--Kevin Roderick of LA Observed interpreted the nose-pick as a kind of guerilla protest ("running layoffs [are] hacking at morale," he wrote, adding that Smith recently applied for a buyout). He also obtained a memo from KOCE news director Michael Taylor in which Taylor accuses Smith of repeatedly misbehaving when the KOCE cameras are rolling.

--Top Register editor Ken Brusic then writes his own memo asserting that Smith's pick was misconstrued and accusing the misconstruers of bad journalism. ("Somehow in this fast-moving post-it-now and move-on world, some people forgot to check the facts. They didn't ask the person involved for his side of the story. And someone was hurt.")

Brusic may be right, but I wonder. Take a look at this screen grab:




Then consider this background detail from Taylor's memo:
I've spoken with Register Broadcast Engineer Don Nebel about this individual. Don has stated that when the lights for the camera go on and we begin interview segments, this individual makes it a point to be loud, disruptive, and perform antics for the camera. Don has "waived him off" on numerous occasions, however he continues to disrupt our segments and has now escalated his attempts to embarrass both KOCE and the Register.
Then consider Taylor's description of the event in question:
During an interview... another Register employee walked over to the interview area, intentionally stood behind John, faced the camera, picked his nose, and wiped it on his shirt. [emph. added]
A bit fishy, that. [Via Romenesko]

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