Two anchors who have worked at Maine sister television stations, ABC affiliate WVII and Fox affiliate WFVX, for a combined 12 years cited “unbalanced news” after they surprised staff on Tuesday by tendering their resignations on the air.
At the end of the 6 p.m. newscast, Cindy Michaels and Tony Consiglio thanked viewers and said that departing together was the best alternative because of some “recent developments.”
Consiglio told the Bangor Daily News that he quit because “I just wanted to know that I was doing the best job I could and was being honest and ethical as a journalist, and I thought there were times when I wasn’t able to do that.”
Michaels, who also served as the station’s news director, said that there was a “regular undoing of decisions” that she made.
“There was a constant disrespecting and belittling of staff and we both felt there was a lack of knowledge from ownership and upper management in running a newsroom to the extent that I was not allowed to structure and direct them professionally,” she explained.
“It’s a culmination of ongoing occurrences that took place the last several years and basically involved upper management practices that we both strongly disagreed with,” Michaels continued. “It’s a little complicated, but we were expected to do somewhat unbalanced news, politically, in general.”
WVII/WFVX vice president and general manager Mike Palmer, however, insisted that management did not interfere with decisions in the news room.
“Upper management is not involved in the daily production of the news. Period,” he told the paper. “We’ve made great changes over the last few months and are not slowing down.”
While neither of the former anchors would go on record to detail how they were being pressured to slant the news, some bloggers have speculated that Fox affiliate WFVX had been moving to emulate conservative bias at Fox News.
The WFVX 10 p.m. newscast is simulcasted on talk radio station WNZS-AM 1340, which also airs shows hosted by conservative personalities Laura Ingraham, Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher and Michael Medved.
Watch this video from WVII via Mediaite, broadcast Nov. 20, 2012.