WTAE-TV’s Wendy Bell fired over racially inflammatory Facebook posts 

I have no particular opinion on her performance as a news anchor, but I was shocked by the patronizing tone adopted in the post in question, as well as her defensive response to criticism.

See also: Thoughts On WTAE-TV Anchor Wendy Bell (The “White Privilege Turducken”) Getting Fired Today

WTAE-TV news anchor Wendy Bell has been fired after a recent public apology from the station regarding a post on her Facebook page. A statement made today from Hearst Television, the station’s parent company, reads “WTAE has ended its relationship with anchor Wendy Bell. Wendy’s recent comments on a WTAE Facebook page were inconsistent with the company’s ethics and journalistic standards.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

26 thoughts on “WTAE-TV’s Wendy Bell fired over racially inflammatory Facebook posts 

  1. Lisa her comment that the perpetrator was “probably a young black kid with multiple siblings that have multiple fathers” with an inattentive mother goes beyond not being “cautiously worded”. Although she wasn’t trying to it reveals the condescending bigoted attitude she has toward poor black people.

    • I absolutely understand what you’re saying. However, I honestly don’t think it was meant to be condescending. I’ll stop now. Just saying that sometimes we may say things the “wrong” way, but I’d really like to give her the benefit of the doubt. Done now. :)

    • Oops, not done. I guess my point was that she shouldn’t have been fired over it. If she had done or said something blatantly racist, that’s one thing. But she didn’t. Again, benefit of the doubt. Maybe I’m too biased because I liked her already, but I hope not.

    • I agree. Someone on here suggested a suspension. That seemed more reasonable. But maybe it wasn’t an option, legally.

  2. As Katy said above, it was not malicious. Well, I agree. I love Wendy Bell! She has been such an inspiration to many parents and families. I am so saddened by this turn of events. She is just a good woman who was sharing her innocent concern. Did it have to be so “carefully and cautiously worded” so that it could be politically correct? If so, then shame on WTAE. And if not, then WTAE shouldn’t worry about it so much. For Pete’s sake.

  3. I guess I see things this way. Was she wrong for saying what she said and her reactions to comments, YES.

    Should she have been fired? in my opinion,no. A six month suspension? Yes

    If you just sweep people away who have made mistakes, how can they learn that they made this mistake? How can they learn that changing our attitudes and understanding of situations and how it was handled will never happen. We cannot grow if we are not given the change for redemption.

    • Well, it wasn’t the first time she had to apologize publicly for making a thoughtlessly racist statement. :-

    • If she has been asked to apologize or take down posts in the past, then it seems to me an editor should have been assigned to preview her posts, at least until such time as she could have demonstrated that she had learned from her mistakes. From the outside, I can’t say it looks like she was on an upward trajectory.

    • Bill, I didn’t know either until someone else had mentioned it and I looked it up. After watching the news clip, I remembered having seen it happen live and also another instance (though I can’t remember specifics) when she had made a similar comment in regard to race.

  4. I absolutely agree with the above comments. Though I agree with WTAE’s actions, I’m surprised that they were so quick to fire her. They have recently been putting out a number of incredibly inflammatory, insensitive, and sometimes dangerous news stories that showed they would rather go for shock factors and high ratings than practicing respectable journalism. Her posts fit right in with my overall impression of their journalistic style.

  5. People are misunderstanding this as a free speech issue. They are missing the point that Tony highlighted. The company does not share the same views. She most likely violated a policy and therefore lost her job. What concerns me are the people who didn’t cringe when reading her remarks.

    • I don’t watch the news often and when I do, it’s not WTAE, but I cringed when I read her original post and even the edited one. My only other opinion on the matter is that if you’ve been purposely quiet on a particular subject for some time, that should make you realize that maybe it’s better just to keep your mouth shut about it, especially when you’re a person in the public eye.

    • Her free speech was not violated as that only protects you from being prosecuted by the government

    • Michelle Alberts Tomchek you make a good point – she says she took all that time to think about saying anything, then she still comes out with an ignorant rant. Guess she should have taken a bit more time to think. :(

    • She could take all the time in the world to think about it. Unfortunately it would make no difference. It’s hard for someone that isn’t the victim of the kind of stereotypes she was tossing around to see the problem with her opinions.

  6. As a college radio, morning show guy- I got booted for six months for doing the kind of characters I’d heard other ‘crazy’ morning DJs do. I was shocked and self righteous and thought it was unfair- until a communications prof I respected pointed out that what I thought was funny or inoffensive didn’t matter because that little microphone broadcast everything to everyone. The minute I opened my mouth I accepted the terms of that contract- and in the end what the listeners thought was all that mattered. He was right. She wrote a stupid thing. The contract remains intact.

  7. The Pittsburgh Steelers fired me for writing this free book and posting it online. theimmaculaterejection.com Warning: graphic content.

  8. Putting claims of “racism” aside. Being a journalist who is guilty of ignorance and stereotyping should be career ending character traits-

    unless she finds herself in an OP-ed organization like Fox News (which I assume will look at scooping her up for her charming TV-personality: though she might be required to dye her hair blonde as part of her uniform).

  9. since the facebook was work-related (+WTAE logo) I feel that the line she crossed should include consideration of termination.

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