A man in Maine was arrested in January and indicted last month by a federal grand jury for threatening to kill two hosts of NPR’s “All Things Considered.” Strangely, the case was not reported until Wednesday (3/16) – and not by NPR itself, but rather by The Smoking Gun website associated with Turner Broadcasting’s truTV.
According to The Smoking Gun, John Crosby (pictured- mugshot) has been held without bail since he was arrested by the FBI inside the library of the University of South Maine in Portland, from which the 38-year-old man had graduated in 2009 with an electrical engineering degree. He is charged with threatening All Things Considered hosts Melissa Block and Guy Raz.
An FBI agent’s affidavit obtained by The Smoking Gun stated that Cosby sent more than 20 bizarre and often threatening emails to NPR. The network contacted the FBI after a January 17th message threatened to kill Block. Another email using a slur referring to Jews implied that the sender wanted to hang Raz.
The federal indictment charges Crosby with two counts of transmitting threats across state lines and one of illegal possession of a firearm.
After the story broke on The Smoking Gun, NPR’s online blog stated that interim CEO Joyce Slocum had sent a message to staffers which read, in part:
“As you may have seen in the media today, earlier this year, NPR and hosts Melissa Block and Guy Raz received a number of threats via e-mail. We took these threats seriously, escalated our security measures, and reported the threats to the proper authorities. I have been in direct communication with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office in this matter. This led to an investigation and resulted in charges filed in federal district court in Maine against John Crosby, who is currently being held in jail without bond on charges.
Our top concern is the safety of our staff and visitors. Given the sensitive nature of this situation, federal officials advised us to not draw public or staff attention to the matter. This is standard protocol in situations such as this. NPR’s Crisis Management Team, led by Debra Delman, is closely monitoring the situation and is in frequent communication with the relevant authorities.”
RBR-TVBR observation: We would agree that it was questionable for NPR, a news organization, to keep this hushed up for so long. But we also wonder how the local media in Portland failed to notice this indictment at the local US District Court. The fact that the local US Attorney didn’t issue a press release isn’t much of an excuse.