As Maine watched a pair of news anchors resign on-air last night during a shocking end to the 6 PM broadcast, many wondered why the two news TV hosts would abruptly quit in such a public and head-turning way.
After the clip in which the anchors resign live on-air during the broadcast began to circulate, the two news personalities — Cindy Michaels and Tony Consiglio — spoke to the Bangor Daily News about an issue that many Americans feel has become a blight on American journalism.
As it turns out, Michaels and Consiglio made the unusual and impactful choice as anchors to resign on-air due to what they say is pervasive bias in coverage. The explanation from the pair raises more questions than it answers, however, as many wondered exactly what Cindy Michaels and Tony Consiglio felt uneasy presenting as news on the Maine station.
That’s as much as we got from the news anchors after they resigned on air last night, but at least one story in the New York Times from several years ago may shed some light on the partisan pressure Michaels and Consiglio faced.
A 2006 article in the Times examined bias at the Maine station as well as another in the state in reporting, and much like a large media outlet on cable, at least one issue was reportedly banned in the newsroom — climate change.
While climate change is a matter of scientific consensus and denial of it is a uniquely American phenomenon, the paper detailed that Michael Palmer, the general manager of television stations WVII and WFVX, forbade any reporting on the issue in the newsroom.
An email obtained back in 2006 (way before the anchors resigned on-air), which is not necessarily a smoking gun, does suggest perhaps that Palmer is sympathetic and slanted towards a conservative news bent — and like with other nationally-carried networks, to the point that it interferes with accurate news reporting.
The paper quotes Palmer as having told his staff of nine reporters six years ago:
“[Until] Bar Harbor is underwater, then we can do global warming stories … Until then, no more.”
Climate change denial seems to be largely a conservative phenomenon, and few who identify as liberals embrace the viewpoint, which is contradicted by mainstream science. But until the anchors who resigned on-air themselves open up, all we can do is speculate.