A Minneapolis TV reporter has found himself out of a job after showing up to cover a Donald Trump rally wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, Buzzfeed News is reporting.
Jim Bunner was, until Friday, a “multimedia reporter” with Minneapolis affiliate KTTC, having been with the company since 2017. However, on Thursday night, Bunner showed up to Rochester to cover a Trump rally at the city’s Mayo Civic Center. While, there, he was photographed by Mark Vancleave, a video journalist for The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, who was there to cover an anti-Trump protest taking place nearby. Vancleave photographed Bunner wearing a jacket with the KTTC log as well as the familiar red-and-white “Make America Great Again” hat that has become something of a symbol of the Trump administration.
Vancleave posted the pictures on Twitter, and the rest, as they say, is history.
As The Hill notes, it’s pretty standard across the news industry to forbid reporters from making political statements on social media, wearing regalia that supports a particular candidate, or otherwise revealing their bias, in order to protect the stations’ and newspapers’ objectivity (this rule, of course, does not always apply to writers of editorial and opinion pieces).
Once the photos of Bunner reached the attention of his boss, KTTC news director Noel Sederstrom, he was let go.
“He violated our policy so he’s no longer with us,. We don’t allow our people to wear campaign clothing while on assignment.”
If it’s standard practice in the news industry to forbid reporters from publicly displaying their biases, either on social media or via their dress, Jim Bunner was either unaware or didn’t care. A Buzzfeed reporter took a look at Bunner’s social media accounts and found that he (Bunner) had once added a National Rifle Association (NRA) banner to his profile picture. On the day of Trump’s inauguration, Bunner posted a video of himself dancing with joy.
And of other news outlets deemed “Fake News” by Donald Trump, Bunner had this to say:
“You watch CNN to oogle Brooke, Kate, Erin, Brianna, Sunlen, and Poppy. Not for journalistic integrity.”
Bunner is not the first person to find that wearing a MAGA hat in public can result in unwanted reactions. At least twice in the past few months, teenagers have been assaulted for wearing the hats in public: once at a San Antonio Whataburger, as reported by the Inquisitr, and once while walking down the street in Seattle, also as reported by the Inquisitr.