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Chicago Anchors Scrubbed from Controversial Video for Departing Mayor

After Chicago media reporter Robert Feder blasted a handful of local news personalities for appearing in a farewell video dedicated to longtime mayor  Richard M. Daley, WBBM, whose veteran anchor duo of Walter Jacobson and Bill Kurtis appeared in the video, is defending its staffers, saying that the producers of the video, an area furniture retailer, did not seek appropriate permission to use footage of the station’s on-air talent.

“The station did consent to having a few of its employees participate in what was described to us as a farewell video that would be given directly to Mayor Daley when he steps down after 22 years in office next week,” said Bruno Cohen, president and general manager of WBBM, in a statement.

Along with Jacobson and Kurtis, WBBM’s Rob Johnson and Ryan Baker appeared in the video, much of which was filmed in conjunction with a farewell party for the departing mayor and featured a handful of local celebrities.

After initially defending its inclusion of local anchors in the video, Walter E. Smithe, a major local advertiser, apologized and has since edited the WBBM staffers out of the video, as well as anchor Bob Sirott of WFLD.

“Walter E. Smithe did not ask CBS 2 for permission to use its employees in a Mayor Daley tribute spot for broadcast,” said company representative Tim Smithe in a statement sent to Feder. “I personally apologize for the misunderstanding and have had CBS 2 employees removed from our commercials.”

Here’s the offending video, which was also edited down to create TV spots:

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