make WWAY your homepage  Become a fan on facebook  Follow us on twitter  Receive RSS Newsfeeds  MEMBERS: Register | Login

Berger reacts to controversy

READ MORE: Berger reacts to controversy
brianberger300.jpg

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY)-- New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger made headlines this week as reports surfaced that he may have tried to commit suicide. Berger has since denied those claims and accused police of wrongdoing.

New Hanover County Commissioners met Thursday for an agenda briefing at the New Hanover County Government Center. Following that meeting we got reaction from Berger about his controversial week.

County Commissioners will have another formal meeting Tuesday.

For our interview, please click on video icon.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

»

When Berger resigns, his antics will no longer be news!

That's all it will take for Berger to reclaim his personal life, just step down from the board. Our NHC Republican Party and our local Tea Party folks should be pushing him to make this proper decision. Then and only then will NHC and Berger be able to heal....

To Scott:

Wrong is wrong. You are wrong and you know it. If anyone should resign it should be you.

Very out of line, ambush journalism WWAY.

You're dealing with a man that very recently tried to kill himself. He is a public official and has screwed up quite a bit lately and deserves to be held accountable for his actions but that does not mean he deserves to be ambushed in this way and further humiliated. Very poor judgement on your part whoever it was chasing Brian with the mic.

Real classsy WWAY

Look, I'm no fan of Berger and think he should resign for his own good and the good of the county but this video was vile and unprofessional. Your news organization's shrill and sensationalistic tone is more suited to a tabloid then a legitimate news organization. In this case Berger has destroyed his own reputation and continuing to go after him seems like kicking a man when he's down. I do not think anyone is questioning WWAY's ability to do investigative reporting, but rather the tone of that reporting.

No excuses WWAY

I agree that when you're an elected official you're under more scrutiny than the average person. And I agree that there have been numerous problems with Commissioner Berger in the last few months.

But that doesn't excuse the nasty, in-your-face rude manner in which Mr. Berger was interviewed by the "news" director, Scott "Tabloid" Pickey.

Anyone who watched the interview on TV can see the pain and anguish in Mr. Berger's eyes. My heart breaks for this young man because it's obvious he needs help. Perhaps you should have sent Asha or another young lady to interview him.

Ever heard the expression "it's not what you say, it's how you say it"? That's how it is with WWAY. While other local news outlets will run one story on this WWAY's MO is to run numerous stories on Brian Berger with sensationalist headlines that all but jump off the screen.

There has been more than one occasion where, in an effort to be "first on 3" WWAY has misrepresented the facts. Last night, when Brian was on time for the meeting, is one example. The other news outlets both stated that he was on time yet your newscast and web site said he was late. In June you sent a reporter and camera man to a local meeting and then reported here that Brian was "late", when in fact he was 10 minutes early to the actual meeting, which was a county meeting where no one has to attend if they don't want to. Other commissioners never even show up.

I do not disagree that this situation needs to be addressed among the commissioners and Mr. Berger needs to make some tough choices, but the feeling that I got from that ambush interview last night was that Scott Pickey would kick a wounded animal if he found one. And I will stand by that opinion!

Follow-Up Comment from Scott Pickey, WWAY News Director

We've been getting a lot of feedback on our interview Thursday afternoon with New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger and wanted to take a moment to address it.

I understand that many of our viewers thought the interview unprofessional and that we were harassing Mr. Berger.

First of all let me be clear that I was the one interviewing Mr. Berger, not our reporter Cliff Pyron. Cliff only reported on the story in our newscasts.

Now, here's my take on the whole situation as News Director. Mr. Berger chose to run for elected office. In doing so, he placed himself in a world where people have certain expectations of him and, right or wrong, hold him to a higher standard than that of an average private citizen.

Mr. Berger has been nothing but a distraction since he took office late last year. The police have been called to his house at least three times now. He has been arrested and charged with domestic violence (those charges were later dropped.) He has a difficult time being punctual. He has accused another commissioner of stealing. He has accused all of the commissioners of conspiring against him. He has come close to being censured. Security has been beefed up at meetings because other commissioners don't feel safe when he's in the room. And now he's been forced to go to the hospital because he took a razor and starting slicing his arm to get his ex-girlfriend to feel sorry for him.

Mr. Berger also went on a radio station sympathetic to his cause and claimed that the Wilmington Police Department and the local media fabricated details about his suicide attempt. He claimed he didn't own a gun, which the police report said he did. And he was upset that the box on the form that said "drugs/alcohol involved" was checked. He then changed his story once the police report was released and admitted he did own a rifle, but that the report said he had a pistol and that was wrong. He also admitted to police that he was on an anti-depressants, which one can only assume that's why the officer checked the box. But he made a big deal that he hadn't had a "wine cooler" in more than a week and that he wasn't doing illegal drugs. He also claimed it wasn't a suicide attempt, even though the police later produced a picture of his bloody arm which he had cut with a razor, and texts he had sent to his ex-girlfriend that claimed she wouldn't have to worry about him after that night.

Folks, I understand Mr. Berger is a poster child for sympathy and empathy. But as a county commissioner, personal and/or mental issues don't give you a free pass when you make allegations that aren't true. Just because you may feel sorry for the man, or think he's not as "tough" as other local politicians, doesn't mean we're not going to ask him tough questions. If he chooses to throw the police department or us under the bus in public, then he needs to be able to back up his claims. When we politely ask him to sit down with us to help us understand his accusations better, but then ducks, dodges and hides, we then have every right and responsibility to try to get in front of him when the opportunity arises.

I hope Mr. Berger gets the help he needs and deserves. I also hope he takes some time this holiday weekend to assess the damage he's done both to his reputation and the county commission. Hopefully Mr. Berger will have an a-ha moment and decide to do the right thing.

sp

Scott Pickey
WWAY News Director

Mr. Pickey, I would like to

Mr. Pickey, I would like to address your statement:

"Mr. Berger has been nothing but a distraction since he took office late last year."

This is your personal opinion. Your job is to report the facts, not push your opinions. Because it is obvious that you cannot keep your personal opinions separate from your job, it calls into question the accuracy of the facts that you claim to present. As a result, I feel that you are not qualified to hold the position of news director. You no longer have any credibility or relevance.

For the record, I'm not a supporter of Mr. Berger, or any politician for that matter.

Hold on a minute...

"Mr. Berger has been nothing but a distraction since he took office late last year."

With all due respect, Mr. Pickey, but where do you get off editorializing the reasoning behind your reporting practices? Where did you go to school, anyway? You, sir, are a "journalist". No one needs your opinion on why WWAY is unprofessionally going after this guy. Your job is to report the news. No wonder WWAY has the reputation it has with you as captain of the ship. You told Berger to "man up" in your attempt to get your sound byte....are you going to man up when this guy goes off the deep end and really hurts himself as a consequence of the constant attacks of your station?

Speaking of poster-childs, WWAY has become one for the decline in journalistic standards and the rise in tabloid reporting. Stop trying to act like TMZ and start acting like a news station. Maybe you should take some time this weekend as well, Mr. Pickey to assess the damage to WWAY's reputation that YOU'VE done.

Thanks for visiting my comment! Keep reading! Ick...

Mr. Pickey, your Follow up

Mr. Pickey, your Follow up comment does nothing but rehash the story about Brian Berger. It does not address the unprofessional behavior of the reporter. It is a typical ploy to redirect the attention onto an emotional subject, but can only work so many times.

Mr. Berger's behavior and refusal to discuss issues is not an excuse for the lack of grace exhibited in the televised story that was presented. Personally, it made me feel quite uncomfortable, as if I was watching a barroom bully or something of that nature.

I applaud WWAY's attempts to report and address some of the issues that are not addressed by other news reporting entities in our area. However, I think it could often be done with more professionalism and grace and objectivity.

Ok then...Scott..."YOU"

Ok then...Scott..."YOU" acted unprofessionally on how you conducted yourself during that interview...News Director or not. If anyone should have done this interview better...the News Director should have.
Thanks for pointing the finger at yourself regardless of Berger's flaws in your eyes, or the public's eyes as you see it. Very unprofessional reporting just to get the wrestling fans reading and watching these post in an uproar.
Do you not think for a moment that when an individual is on antidepressants, and they are under a doctors care, and are in need of help...and are subject to uncertainty...that's the time to fire both barrels at an individual? Whether the individual is a professional in the public's eye...or just an everyday Joe you were out of line. Maybe this man needs to step down and tend to his health. I'm sure WWAY will try its best to see to that, and make his life a living H*** in the process all in the name of "TV Ratings".
If there ever comes a time in your life when a friend needs to seek professional help...start criticizing their actions to others...now you have experience at it. Put the shoe on the other foot.

Berger

All he has to do is quit, all this attention will go away. The texts he sent his Ex were pointing to self harm, she called police to save Berger. If he doesn't want the attention then he shouldn't make himself newsworthy !

FYI

FYI all and especially poster Ronnie Rhodes, that "reporter" last night wasn't Cliff Pyron, it was the "news" director, Scott Pickey.

By-line

Odd, because if you look at the by-line the story was submitted by Cliff Pyron.

There is no question NOW that Berger is incompetent!

The question now is how to get him off the board?

unprofessional behavior...

Can WWAY conduct themselves in a professional manner anymore? They have such a vendetta out for Berger that it's ruining what little reputation they have as a "news" agency. Is this a story, yes...but handle it in a resepctful manner. Murrow upended McCarthy and did it with respect and integrity...not saying that we have anything close to that around here, but take notes.

Bergers mental state

Mr Berger has problems. He is in a state of self denial. Text messaages show he is out of touch with reality. My concern now is for those people who are around him in confined places. He is blaming all of his troubles on "others". I believe that until his situation is resolved, his briefcase and Berger himself should be checked for weapons whenever he enters the room.
This is an accident waiting to happen. How many innocent people will be hurt when it happens?

Distraction

Who cares about all of the details now...........Mr. Berger has become too much of a distraction and quite a liability. He should resign and run for office again in the future when/if he can handle it.

Why are all you people

Why are all you people complaining about "Your County Commissioner ". Don't you remember who you voted for. It's your fault. Take the blame for putting someone like this in office. Look at the track record of the other loser Commissioners. Your vote put them there. Shut up! Do somethining about it! Research the people running for office and make a better mistake next time.

We're complaining because we

We're complaining because we realize we made a mistake in voting him in office. His behavior has become such a problem for the county that we urge him to step down before he negatively impacts the county any more. He is making it clear that he is unfit to serve the public.

Your reporter could have

Your reporter could have shown a little more class with this joke of a report. Are you a news reporter or paparazzi?

Although...

Although I do think that WWAY acts just like TMZ; I think the comments above crying out above to leave him alone are crazy. Leave him alone? NO WAY! They need to keep pressuring him until he steps down. Then he should be left alone. He is in public office. I don't think anyone deserves harassment but I also do not think that anyone like this should make any decisions related to public trust or funds.

He does not deserve to hold public office. He needs professional help and I hope he gets it.

Yes, Berger needs to be out

Yes, Berger needs to be out of office and he needs help but to display out his entire ordeal with depression or whatever he is dealing with only exacerbates the situation for him. This could easily be dealt with behind the scenes to get him out of office and the help he needs. After seeing the Star-News release info on all of the text messages this morning and now WWAY blatantly harassing him I am really starting to think this aligns with the same mentality as BULLYING in school children.....only this is how it is done in the adult world unfortunately.

you remember this guy

you remember this guy

The Harrassment of Brian Berger

I could not believe the way your employee (because he is no reporter)Harrassed Commissioner Berger. I have never seen anything like the harrassment Commissioner Berger had to contend with. He is truly a gentleman. If it was me I would have called for a policeman and I may have damaged his camera. Who was this overly zealous goon?
I hope Commissioner Berger Sues. It would serve you right. We will not be a part of your poor ratings any more. WECT would never stoop to such slimy tactics..................

What the Hell?

Wow, WWAY. That interview was low. I totally agree with the comments below that interview was way beneath news standards. Not only was it LOW,Your news reporter resorted to paparazzi low standards. The only reason this man is a news headline is because the NEWS(all news stations) made him that way and for your reporter to go that low and physically badger him makes me not only angry it has lead me to the choose to no longer watch your news broadcasts. I trust in the news to bring me it's stories in manor which is befitting, and that was not befitting.

Just turned off your channel

Just turned off your channel after watching that video of the reporter badgering Brian Berger. Didn't vote for him. but good grief leave him alone. You all were jerks!

Berger

What an odd man. He almost sounds like "Rainman", horrible voice and he is flat out unattractive. No wonder he is so obsessed with this ex, she is probably the only woman he has had.

so who is correct?

From the Star News:
New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger attended the board's agenda review meeting Thursday, days after he was taken to the hospital for attempted suicide.

Berger arrived on time and asked several questions as the commissioners reviewed the agenda during the half-hour meeting. Afterward, a local TV station attempted to interview him and followed Berger back to his office before he slammed the door.---------------------------------

Brian was on time? That's what the paper says, yet you say he was late? Hmmm.

Weather is good, news is tabloid

You all have become a sensationalist, Berger-obsessed tabloid. I love your weather team and have always like Chris Phillips but your news reporting tactics are a joke. You've become the laughing stock of the town with your in your face style of "reporting".

Wow WWAY has turned into the

Wow WWAY has turned into the TMZ of Wilmington media outlets. What a scumbag of a reporter.