It’s not uncommon for religious people to post Jesus-y messages on their Facebook wall, but last night, KTBS 3, a news station in Shreveport, Louisiana, posted this regarding the Casey Anthony verdict:
Why is an ABC affiliate endorsing Jesus?
Why is a news station still talking about the verdict?
Why did they feel the need to capitalize all the letters in GOD…?
It starts with a commentary by reporter Rick Rowe that aired Sunday night. You can watch it here. It’s all about how we, “as Christians,” must ask what Jesus would do in times like these.
Since when is everybody a Christian? KTBS is a privately-owned ABC affiliate, but as far as I can tell, it’s not a “Christian station.” At the very least, even if the station management allows subjective commentaries and the endorsement of Christianity in such pieces, why are opinions like that going up on the station’s Facebook page? Shouldn’t a news station remain neutral on issues like religion?
Meteorologist Joe Haynes eventually fessed up to posting the message, but it’s hardly an apology. In fact, he’s glad he did it.
When someone called him out on it, this is what he said:
(Again with the unnecessary capitalizing…?)
Haynes touted the station’s Christian bent later in the same thread, sticking it to the larger (read: more watched) news markets:
Yeah! Screw Dallas and Houston! They would never talk about JESUS! They’re too busy reporting the “news” and being “objective” and stuff…
Ok. Is this worth complaining about? Is this something the news station does regularly? Am I making a big deal out of nothing?
*Hemant looks at phone*
So I called the station. They called me back within a couple minutes of my leaving a message, which says a lot about them wanting to fix this situation.
News director Randy Bain told me the station doesn’t weigh in or give opinion on religious issues.
He said when Haynes made the posting, he likely posted based on his own emotions. It’s new media, Bain said, and it may take a little extra training for someone like Haynes to realize that his personal beliefs, posted on the station’s Facebook wall, could be misconstrued as a news organization weighing in on the matter.
Bain said he would talk to Joe to get his perspective on the issue, and he would have a conversation with him regarding what is and isn’t appropriate to post on the station’s social media outlets. Hopefully, this sort of thing won’t happen again.
That’s all I was asking for, so I appreciate the station acting so quickly to address the issue. A public apology would be even better…
In the meantime, you may want to keep an eye on that FB page for a day or two, just to be sure everything’s ok.
Hemant Mehta blogs for FriendlyAtheist.com. He is the author of I Sold My Soul on eBay.