The woman in Central Park who clashed with a bicyclist and lost her job, plus had to apologize for being a racist as a result, is one of the clearest illustrations of shoddy journalism to date. This is a woman who has her dog off a leash in an area of the park known as the rambles. The bicyclist peddles towards her and tells her the dog has to be on a leash, noting that there's a sign within eyesight saying as much. Her response - coming off as high-strung as possible - is that the dog needs its exercise. The bicyclist then tells her there is an area of the park where leashes aren't necessary and to just take the dog there. She claims the area is too dangerous. Again, high-strung.
The bicyclist then goes on to say, "Well, if you're going to do what you want to do, then I'm going to do what I want to do and you're not going to like it." Ominous words, to be sure, especially to a woman alone in Central Park. Catch is, most media outlets are only showing what the man filmed on his cell phone, which included none of this, and was only her calling 9-1-1.
What he was going to do that she wouldn't like was brandish dog treats, and try to lure the dog to him. Many New Yorkers carry dog treats with them. That said, he was clearly pushing the woman's buttons, to comedic effect really.
But her call: Huffing and puffing and so over the top. Just....not racist. Yes, she described him to the 9-1-1 operator as "an African-American man on a bicycle wearing a bicycle helmet" who is threatening her. That's what you do on 9-1-1 calls - describe who you're in a confrontation with. Towards the end, as her dog really begins to give her a workout, trying to break free from her grip, she just keeps shouting "a man in a helmet in the rambles! A man in a helmet in the rambles! Help!" She's hysterical, and it's unwarranted. But she just keeps shouting "a man" at her most frazzled, which would be the point much more controversial words were uttered.
This is two New Yorkers butting heads. Nothing more. Not worth losing one's job. Not worth being deemed a racist.