SF Mayor London Breed has some words for a Good Morning America reporter who claimed it was “simply too dangerous” to shoot a segment in Union Square, even though they clearly shot the segment anyway.
As we reported on last Monday’s announcement that the owner of the Westfield San Francisco Centre was surrendering the property to its lender, we pointed out that same owner had also similarly defaulted on multiple properties in Florida, and had already announced they were leaving the U.S. mall market entirely. But the current national media’s inclination is to make every San Francisco story into a Tenderloin fentanyl story, and we see this in Good Morning America’s helicopter journalism take on the story from last Wednesday, which is below.
GMA’s Matt Gutman interviews Mayor London Breed in the segment, a segment clearly shot entirely here in San Francisco. She says, “San Francisco is a major city, and it has challenges. But let’s back up a little bit. You are talking about people leaving the city, but not the people who are staying, expanding, coming to San Francisco.”
Yet the controversial part is Gutman ending the live portion of the segment by saying, “It is worth mentioning that we are not at Union Square or the Westfield mall this morning, because we have been advised that it is too dangerous to be there at this hour.”
And sure, Good Morning America is shot live between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. Pacific Time, and that’s a more dangerous time than the daylight hours in which the segment was otherwise shot. But at the 2:25 mark at which Gutman utters that “too dangerous” phrase, the upper left chyron on the screen says “LIVE San Francisco, CA.” And Gutman appears to be standing on Market Street just a few blocks from Union Square, so one wonders if Good Morning America engaged in a little flourish here.
In a statement to SFGate, Breed seems to think so.
“Sadly, some of the news coverage conflate[s] the reasons or do[es] not provide the full picture of why big retailers and other businesses in San Francisco are deciding to leave or transfer ownership of their operations,” her office said in a statement to SFGate. “Lacking foot traffic in our downtown areas as a result of work-from-home habits, as well as challenges stemming from shifting shopping trends that have persisted for years, were exacerbated by the pandemic.”
London Breed is no wallflower when it comes to seeking national media attention. But there is no guarantee that coverage will be positive, for the city of San Francisco, or to her own future political career.
Images: (Left) @LondonBreed via Twitter, (Right) via ABC