Former NBC and CBS News correspondent Ed Rabel wrote in a 2013 Charleston (WV) Gazette opinion piece that the people in local TV news are “bubble-heads and glib, young, sometimes pretty know-nothings” who “wouldn’t know a news story if it slapped them in the face.”
Station owners and managers forbid their news departments from stepping on toes and ruffling feathers, out of fear that such stories might insult local advertisers or offend politicians on whose toes reporters might stomp. And investigative or original reporting is costly, meaning real reporters must be hired to do real reporting, a job that requires lots of time and money that the stations have no time for.
Sixteen months after his op-ed was published, Rabel (current photo at left) announced he was running as an independent in West Virginia’s second congressional district race. Still upset about the op-ed, WCHS-TV news director Matt Snyder ordered his staff to ignore the former journalist’s campaign.
“Everyone in the newsroom was given explicit instructions [by Snyder] to not write [about] or air or interview me,” Rabel tells Romenesko readers, and assignment editor Mamie Buoy “reaffirmed to my source and everyone in the news department that Rabel was not to be reported on or interviewed.”
I’ve asked Snyder and Buoy about the coverage blackout.
Update — News director Snyder sends this response:
Eyewitness News at WCHS-WVAH TV is committed to covering news important to the people of West Virginia without bias or agenda.
WCHS-WVAH has and will continue to be committed to covering the elections, political races and candidates including the second district race important to our viewers both online and on TV. We will continue to cover these campaigns and candidates so that voters have the knowledge they need to make an informed decision this November.