Reporter Slammed For 'Both Sides' Tweet On Man Who Carries AR-15 At School Bus Stop
A Maryland reporter got scolded Thursday on social media for soft-pedaling his story about a local man who routinely carries an AR-15-style rifle near a school bus stop in Severn.
“Tonight on @wbaltv11: A man with an AR-15 has been showing up for weeks to a school bus drop off for local elementary school students,” tweeted Tolly Taylor, a journalist for NBC affiliate WBAL-TV.
“Parents say their kids are afraid, the man says he’s protesting @GovWesMoore’s new gun control law,” Taylor added, using the Twitter handle for Democratic Gov. Wes Moore. “You’ll hear from both sides at 5+6pm.”
Tolly Taylor's tweet.
It was his “both sides” framing that rankled critics. The comment brought to mind former President Donald Trump’s remark about “very fine people on both sides” of a 2017 white supremacist rally in Virginia that was also attended by counterprotesters, one of whom was killed by a neo-Nazi.
It also wasn’t the best choice of words given the chilling sight of an aggrieved, gun-toting man parading around a bus stop amid a rash of school shootings nationwide.
“Nope…there are not two sides of bringing an assault weapon to an elementary school bus stop,” tweeted MSNBC’s Jen Psaki, the former White House press secretary for President Joe Biden.
“‘Both sides’? Seriously?” her MSNBC colleague Mehdi Hasan wrote. “I feel like I am losing my mind. STOP WITH THE BOTHSIDES-ISM!”
The man with the rifle, J’den McAdory, told WBAL-TV that he was asserting his legal right. Police in Anne Arundel County, where Severn is located, said he’s not violating the law.
One understandably freaked-out parent told Taylor that it could be “too late” if something is not done soon. And the school even changed its dismissal time Monday because of the issue.
Taylor reported that McAdory eventually agreed not to protest during school drop-off or pickup.
#NEW: A man with an AR-15 has shown up to an elementary school bus stop for weeks, and one parent tells the I-Team he’s afraid for his kids and worried about where it’ll lead.
"I think that lives could be lost (or) people could be harmed,” he said.
— Tolly Taylor (@TollyTaylor) May 19, 2023
HuffPost reached out to Taylor for comment. Twitter users, meanwhile, continued to chime in on his choice of words:
Side one: The kids are scared by a man with a gun.
Side two: A man with a gun is scaring the kids.
There you have it. Now we'll go to Scotty Sh*tstorm with the weather. 🙄
— Craig Rozniecki (@CraigRozniecki) May 19, 2023
Only one side to this chief
— Robert Littal BSO (@BSO) May 19, 2023
What is the other side of traumatizing children just because you can….
— Kimberly Chandler (@cozzmo73) May 19, 2023
A man is terrorizing parents & elementary school students at a bus stop with a fucking AR-15 and this fucking news station is going to have its audience “hear from both sides.” https://t.co/55vjBL8Vuk
— Scott Hechinger 🆓 (@ScottHech) May 19, 2023