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News anchor speaks out about IRS, gagged by station

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larry-conners-on-setA St. Louis TV anchorman alleged on his Facebook page earlier this month that after conducting a fair, but hard-hitting interview with President Barack Obama, his troubles with the Internal Revenue Service exacerbated. From the moment he made that assertion, he’s also received flak from his employer.

On the same day newsman Larry Conners, who works for CBS affiliate station KMOV, made his Facebook entry, he was supposed to have been interviewed by CNN and Fox News contributor Dana Loesch on her radio program. Instead, he deleted his Facebook posting, abruptly cancelled his interview and, according to Loesch, read the following statement on the air:

Those were my personal views, not those of KMOV TV, second to be fair, I should disclose that my issues with the IRS preceded that interview by several years. As a journalist I understand the importance of keeping my personal matters separate from my professional work, sometimes you have to do that to retain your independence as a news man. Those lines might have been unintentionally crossed yesterday by my post.

In addition, Loesch reported, “I can reveal that a well-placed source divulged, on the condition of anonymity, that Conners was ‘… handed the statement that he is being forced to give at the end of the 5:00 and 6:00 news today on KMOV-TV 4.’”

On May 17, Loesch posted the following letter she received from Conners’ attorney:

silverstrin-letter-conners

Just in case anyone is skeptical of the anonymous source Loesch referred to, Station KMOV is now admitting to its own culpability.

“KMOV anchorman Larry Conners has been ‘advised’ by KMOV’s parent company Belo Corp. to not make statements, post on Facebook, or participate in interviews concerning a recent controversy over Facebook comments he made about the Internal Revenue Service” according to KMOV.

“Any issue he has with the IRS are personal issues. They have nothing to do with our television station KMOV or him as a journalist,” Mike Valentine, a Belo vice president
told BuzzFeed. “As a news anchor, he owes a duty to our viewers to report in an unbiased manner. His Facebook post and his Twitter posts, as a result, were inappropriate. And we don’t condone personal posts that jeopardize the journalistic nature of our business. It’s really that simple.”

During the Spanish Inquisition, they used thumbscrews, an iron maiden and the rack to keep everyone in line. Now they just threaten their livelihood.

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