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WVII Anchors Cite General Manager’s ‘Philosophical Beliefs’ as Reason for Resignation

Six days after Tony Consiglio and Cindy Michaels resigned from WVII on the air, the finger pointing between the anchors and general manager Mike Palmer continues. Palmer asserts that the anchors quit because he was preparing to replace Consiglio on the evening newscasts. In an interview with the New York Times’ Brian Stelter, Michaels — who was also the station’s news director — says that was not the case:

In interviews off the air, the anchors asserted that they quit to preserve their journalistic independence. Ms. Michaels, who doubled as the person in charge of all news coverage at the two stations, said that the managers of the stations had meddled with news coverage. Singling out Mike Palmer, the general manager of the two stations, she said, “The general manager’s philosophical beliefs played a role in what he wanted us to cover, or not cover.”

Furthermore, Ms. Michaels said, “there was disrespect toward some staff members and a constant hand in the entire newsroom operations to the point I was not allowed to make decisions as news director.” But she declined to share any specific examples of clashes with management.

Mr. Palmer pointed out in an e-mail at the end of the week: “There have been no examples of bias cited, none. We require both sides of issues to be presented, always.”

For instance, Mr. Palmer said, when the news staff arranged for a local Republican strategist to record editorials for newscasts, he told Ms. Michaels to either add a Democratic strategist as a counterweight or scrap the editorial segments altogether. He said she decided to scrap the segments.

Palmer says he met with potential replacement anchors Sunday.

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