I Should’ve Watched Channel 13

As I was tuned in another station awaiting the start of America’s Black Forum (which turned out to be an ‘all pile on Armstrong’ session), I missed a ‘Ron Burgundy Moment’ on the ABC affiliate:

KTNV-TV, Channel 13, fired weekend weather anchor Rob Blair on Sunday, a day after he made an on-air racial slur about Martin Luther King Jr.

Jim Prather, vice president and general manager of KTNV, said Blair “stumbled” during a weather update at 7:55 a.m. Saturday but added that “this kind of incident is not acceptable under any circumstances, and I’m truly sorry that this event occurred.”

Blair was delivering the extended forecast when he said, “For tomorrow, 60 degrees, Martin Luther Coon King Jr. Day, gonna see some temperatures in the mid-60s.”

About 20 minutes later, Blair told viewers at the ABC affiliate, “Apparently I accidentally said Martin Luther Kong Jr., which I apologize about — slip of the tongue.”

He offered a full apology during Saturday’s 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts.

At 6:11 p.m., co-anchor Christina Brown, who is black, announced, “Right now we want to pause for a program note. Rob?”

Blair, seated at the news desk with co-anchors Brown and Shawn Boyd, said, “On a weather report earlier this morning, I made an accidental slip of the tongue when talking about the Martin Luther King holiday, and what I said was interpreted by many viewers as highly offensive. For that I offer my deepest apology. I in no way intended to offend anyone. I’m very sorry.”

Apology accepted, but being that he violated the public trust by making an “accidental slip of the tongue”, he had to go. Rikki Cheese, Christina Brown, Dennis Evans, and Channel 13’s viewers would’ve rightfully demanded it.

There are just some things you don’t say on live TV. Period.

Update: Local reaction to the on-air “slip of the tongue”

10 thoughts on “I Should’ve Watched Channel 13

  1. If the general manager didn’t fire him, the viewers and local community groups would have called the station’s FCC license into question, not to mention the loss of revenue from advertisers who’d refuse to buy spot time on the station because of the remarks.

    Rob Blair may never work in broadcast TV again, which is far more destructive than a butt-kicking.

  2. I have flubbed words when talking, but I’m not a trained a t.v. personality that should get it right. I wonder if he had something in the back of his mind that was creeping through? No matter, he’s gone, if it happens again, then I say kick his butt.

  3. It all goes back to the public trust thing. Local news talent are held to higher standards.

    For TV stations that run news operations, news teams are the main bread-and-butter image of those stations. They draw in the viewers, and in turn, the viewers support the stations’ advertisers. Allowing anchors, reporters, or weathermen to remain on the air after mouthing off an offensive slur would’ve damaged that trust.

    Had Channel 13 kept Rob Blair on the air after that incident, their competitors and the local press would have made mincemeat of them on-air and in promotions. Viewers would change their channels in protest and filed complaints with the FCC that would cost the station its license. And don’t get me started with what the local NAACP, NUL, and NAN would do (rightfully in the above case, of course).

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  5. I seem to be missing something here. Does anyone honestly think any newsanchor in their right mind would intentionally throw out such a racial slur and think they would have a job the next day. I have not seen the footage but the most common of sense says this man simply stumbled over the words. Personalities such as Jay Leno do this on a national level nearly every week. I am saddened by the response of so many in assuming this was somehow intentional and revealing of this man’s true attitudes.

  6. He had to be fired. That said, if the man was truly a racist someone in the newsroom with a bigger paycheck then him would have rooted him out a long while ago. I doubt he will be missed as the weather guys and gals are all pretty generic.

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  8. I know Rob personally and have for many years. Rob is in no way, shape or form a racist. He said he stumbled over words, and I believe him. It’s unfortunate that it was said at all, but we are all human, just remember that we all make mistakes at some point or another

  9. Ok it may have been a mistake, but someone at that station dropped the ball because it was a TAPED segment, which should never have been broadcast. He flubs his words, says “oops!”, then retapes it. Then its shown with no “slur”, which i dont think there was one to begin with. He keeps his job and everyone’s happy. Some people are quick to judge. Just because someone says what sounds like a slur, doesn’t mean it is intended. Jesus Christ is the ONLY person that has, and will ever walk this earth perfect and sinless. The rest of us make mistakes. that makes us human. Sometimes we can’t make up for it, because of the basic lack of mindreading amongst us humans. We don’t know the true feelings, or mindset of a person who uses that word. A friend of blair’s who is black said that he didn’t think blair is racist, and that the “slur” was a simple slip of the tongue. Meanwhile, rappers go around saying the “n” word everyday of their lives, and making millions of dollars in record sales, and it’s ok with the black community?! makes you go “hmmm!” Martin Luther King has been spinning in his grave since that supposed evil “N” word has been embraced by every rapper and most blacks as a non-racist, everyday, normal word. But it changes when a person is not black and uses the word. Oprah winfrey doesn’t have a problem with it, because Chris Rock was on her show once and he said, “it’s our word! we can use it, but you white people cant!” She agreed with him. If it’s evil, it’s evil. There are no gray areas! Bill Cosby is right in his latest comments about the black community. I applaud him because he’s right! How many times i’ve seen black kids as young as 10 years old saying the “n” word on a bus or in public. and it’s supposed to be an evil, bad, unforgivable word to use….

    anyway, someone dropped the ball at that station and what’s fair is fair. The person or persons who let that tape be broadcast should be fired too.

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