Jana Shortal, a KARE 11 news anchor in Minneapolis, Minnesota, appeared on television on Sept. 6 to report on the last minutes of 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling, who was molested and murdered in 1989. Instead she was judged on her choice of clothing.
The shameless attack came Wednesday evening by Star Tribune gossip columnist C.J. (who never uses her real name, coward that she is), who criticized the anchor for wearing a pair of skinny jeans.
The article, which has been taken off from the site, focused on Shortal’s apparel rather than the horrific tragedy that befell the Wetterling family decades ago and which was scratched anew by the account of the boy’s murderer in court this year.
“She looked great from the waist up in a polka-dot shirt and cool blazer, but the skinny jeans did not work. I was among a number of media types who found them inappropriate and, given the gravity of the day’s subject matter, downright jarring,” C.J. wrote.
The columnist said Shortal’s clothing was “jarring” and distracted from the “gravity” of the situation, implying her jeans were disrespectful to the grieving family. But she failed to realize that her focus on such mundane things like a news anchor’s clothing rather than the horrific tragedy was much more appalling.
C.J. attributed way too much meaning to Shortal’s innocuous trousers and suggested the anchor chose to look “hip “over wearing clothes that would imply more seriousness —never mind the fact that wearing skinny jeans is Shortal’s usual clothing style.
To double down on her attack, the callous columnist tweeted Shortal about her choice of apparel.
. @DishCentral IDK what my clothing has to do with covering the tragedy of Jacob's death. My only 'wish' on Tuesday was for Jacob's family.— janashortal (@janashortal) September 7, 2016
In response, an understandably upset Shortal posted an emotional message on Facebook calling out C.J. for trying to switch people's attention from one of the saddest tragedies to a meaningless argument about what clothes women should wear when reporting serious news.
“You wrote about clothes in the darkest moment of Minnesota news history. You wrote about jeans,” said the post. “You took the life out of what was meant to be a tribute to a life lost. I won't let you do that to me.
I'm going to create joy. I'm going to help my neighbor. I'm going to go turn my porch light on now. And remember why I did that show the way I did it. And I promise you, what I won't remember, was the cut of my jeans.”
After the debacle, many people swarmed the social media to support Shortal.
I am so sorry, everyone. Jacob Wetterling deserved better than the gossip page and so did @janashortal— Jennifer Brooks (@stribrooks) September 8, 2016
I wasted one of my 10 free articles a month on the Strib site reading about that clown writing about a pair of pants. 😤— Glen Perkins (@glenperkins) September 8, 2016
Star Tribune has also issued an apology to its readers.