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Chicago reporter hassles ice cream man about social distancing; anchor says residents should call 911 on him

Investigative journalism

Image source WBBM-TV video screenshot

A local news segment in Chicago featured a journalist approaching and chastising an ice cream man who was continuing to serve a neighborhood despite the local coronavirus stay-at-home orders.

The segment aired on WBBM-TV, a CBS affiliate in Chicago. The segment concluded with an anchor encouraging residents of that neighborhood to call 911 if they saw the ice cream man in the future.

"No gloves? No Mask? No problem," anchor Brad Edwards said as he narrated the segment. "This ice cream man is not only ignoring COVID-19 protocol, but he's breaking the law. Such trucks are forbidden [in] Hoffman Estates."

During the segment, a WBBM journalist named Greg Kelly approached the ice cream man on a bike and began asking him about permits and the stay-at-home order. The ice cream man, who the station referred to repeatedly as "Mr. Freeze," claimed he had permits for the work and asked Kelly to leave him alone.

"Why are you trying to take ice cream out of the hands of children?" The ice cream man asked Kelly. He later questioned the wisdom of the COVID-19 measures, saying "I'm not sick either, so why are they quarantining healthy people?"

WBBM reported that the neighborhood, Hoffman Estates, did not allow ice cream trucks. Even if that's true, however, the reporters did not know that at the time they confronted him—which is why the confrontation focused on the coronavirus aspect of the issue, and the neighborhood rules were only brought up by the anchor.

As of Friday morning, the local segment about the ice cream man posted by Edwards on Twitter had drawn more than 480,000 views and 8,000 replies, many of them from people angry or incredulous that a news station was focusing so much attention on putting an ice cream man out of business.

"He's trying to make an honest living," wrote journalist Jordan Schachtel. "Call 911? What the hell is wrong with you?"

(H/T The Daily Wire)

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