Following his unexpected on-air comments about “young black men growing up without fathers,” veteran reporter Sean Bergin says his now-former employer News 12 made him an “offer I had to refuse.” The news company slapped him with the equivalent of a “demotion,” significantly slashing his pay and allowing him to work just one day a week in Long Island.
“They offered me one day of work a week doing only light features, and no hard news,” Bergin told TheBlaze. “It was only about $300-a-week — who can survive on that?” As a contracted employee, Bergin reportedly made $1,300-a-week working on stories in areas of New Jersey, Long Island and Westchester County.
In a new interview, Bergin admitted that he “broke the rules” by editorializing during his reaction to a story surrounding the tragic murder of Jersey City police officer Melvin Santiago, who was shot in the head as he sat in his patrol car with a fellow officer at around 4 a.m. on Sunday. However, he also explained why his emotions got the better of him after he spoke to the killer’s wife and other members of her community.
As first reported by TheBlaze, Bergin found himself in hot water after he stunned his superiors with unexpected commentary about the “anti-cop mentality that has so contaminated America’s inner cities.” He went on to say that the “sick, perverse line of thinking” is seen everywhere from “Jersey City, to Newark and Patterson to Trenton.”
“It has made the police officer’s job impossible and it has got to stop,” he added. “The underlying cause of all of this, of course: young black men growing up without fathers. Unfortunately, no one in the news media has the courage to touch that subject.”
Before going on the air, Bergin had listened to the wife of cop killer Lawrence Campbell say her husband should have killed more police officers before they took him out. He said the “pure hatred for the police” was shocking.
The reporter had also been fielding calls all day from furious law enforcement officials who didn’t want News 12, a network of news stations covering mostly areas in New York and New Jersey, to run Bergin’s report on the street memorial that had been erected for Campbell, which included an interview with the killer’s widow. Bergin said his report was intended to shine light on the “real problem” facing many police officers in inner cities across America.
“I broke the rules, but I broke the rules because I was doing the right thing,” he told TheBlaze. “You can’t fix a problem if you don’t talk about the problem. The truth is, 73 percent of African-American children grow up without fathers. It’s a topic that needs to be handled delicately — and really, this situation could have been used as a way to explore that.”
But no one in the news media wants to touch the subject, Bergin argued.
“I’m in these housing projects all the time, and it’s all for the same thing: black men slaughtering each other in the streets. Why is this happening?” he continued, adding that it’s nearly impossible to cover the issue in-depth and accurately when surrounded by “stark raving liberals who masquerade as journalists.”
After he was initially suspended, Bergin said he was told by News 12 not to talk to anyone about the suspension or his on-air comments about the black community.
This isn’t the first time that News 12 Networks has been in the news rather than just covering it. Immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, News 12 Long Island News Director Pat Dolan made national headlines when he banned the display of all American flags because he didn’t want people to think they weren’t being objective in their coverage. Bergin said all American flags were taken out of the newsroom and reporters weren’t allowed to wear flag pins out in the field.
Following intense public outcry, Dolan delivered an on-air apology. He still the news director at News 12 Long Island and is also the president of News 12 Networks.