Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Commentary: An interesting conversation...and a good example of why news and commentary should not be combined in news broadcasting

The presenters for WKRG-TV's local news program for the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. (Jessica Taloney and Bill Riales of "WKRG News 5 This Morning") had this conversation about a recent visit to Mobile by the governor of Alabama (Robert Bentley) on the program this past Monday on the eleventh day of this April:

Jessica Taloney: So here's a thing: the idea that you can lay down ground rules for journalists and tell journalists what they can and cannot ask is absurd as the governor of the state, especially when you've got the pink elephant in the room.

Bill Riales: Yeah, he knows this and he, he--he knows, I guess he that as a politician it's worth a try, but we're not going to play that because there are too many questions. Now a lot of people I can imagine a lot of people think, 'Well, you're just badgering the man here being disrespectful'. The fact is he's an elected official and there are a lot of questions that have not yet been answered.

Jessica Taloney: ...and not just about the alleged affair with his top advisor, but about the state resources used to facilitate that affair. That's one of the accusations. 

Bill Riales: One other...

Jessica Taloney: The other accusation is whether he obstructed--got in the way of the grand jury investigation in the speaker of the house. Now those are major accusations against a sitting governor and we wouldn't be doing are jobs if we didn't

Bill Riales: So we will continue to ask those questions and hopefully open the door for Governor Bentley to answer them at an appropriate time. If not for the scandal, though, Governor Bentley would probably be pushing for prison reform. Protestors in Atmore (a city in Alabama) say they support changing prisons, too, just not what the governor is offering.  

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