I was highly perplexed to watch this two-day report from CBS 21 News in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Yesterday, Ewa Roman reported on a “Bug Infested Building” in a boardinghouse over the Tara Station bar on 4th St. in Harrisburg, near the Pennsylvania State Capital building:
Bugs on the ceilings and walls. Insects are taking over the building above the Tara Station Bar on 4th Street in Harrisburg.
I was very troubled to discover that while the photo accompanying the article and video clearly shows a bed bug, and the video itself shows clear footage of bed bugs crawling on walls, the reporter repeatedly refers only to “bugs” and “bug infestation:”
But one man did show us bug bite marks on his arms and neck. He even had some bugs on his sweatshirt.
What kind of bug might be biting this man? Hmmm.
There are also fairly obvious shots of extensive fecal spotting in the area where bed bugs are crawling on the walls and ceiling. And yet “bugs” are mentioned six times in the text of the article; bed bugs: not once.
Here, you can watch video of the episode from Monday: “Bug Infested Building.” (I did not embed the video because it is set to automatically play, which can be quite annoying for people who land on the website.)
And then, Tuesday, the same news station apparently caught up with Walley Mowi, the landlord, to ask why tenants were living under these conditions. He claims that tenants are responsible for the infestation because they have messy and cluttered rooms; in fact, bed bugs are not bred of clutter, or attracted to old food, vomit, or dirt.
Any one person could have brought them into the building, and they could even have walked over from an adjoining building. The hotel offices and the pub downstairs should be carefully inspected as they could also be affected.
Remarkably, once more, the reporter (this time Ben Russell) again makes no mention of bed bugs. Just “bugs” (which are mentioned seven times).
You can watch Tuesday’s update “Bug Infested Building: ‘It’s not my fault'” here. As with the previous story, this reel contains bed bug footage, mention of bug bites, and this time, of dried blood stains on a pillow.
I am dismayed that these reporters are either unaware that bed bugs exist, or are avoiding mentioning them for some bizarre reason. I do not think this is responsible journalism.
Just yesterday I reported how health officials in both Abilene, Texas and Davenport, Iowa believed their cities currently had no bed bug problems, because they were receiving no reports of them. My response: if you live there, tell the health department you have bed bugs.
The people of Harrisburg need to know about bed bugs and how prevalent they are. The bed bugs in this boardinghouse have (according to the news report) been a problem for over a year. And this is not the only incidence of bed bugs in Harrisburg.
If we do not all admit bed bugs are a problem, where we all live, then we will not take action to halt their spread.
If you pretend bed bugs are not there, they will not go away.