Dear Mr. Miner,
I just finished reading your piece about the dispute of opinions concerning the temporary tribute to Ronald Reagan at the statehouse in Springfield [Hot Type, June 18]. As a former resident of our state's capital city, I can't say I'm surprised by the incident--even though it means we have a reporter in this world who believes that someone expressing their opinion is committing a criminal offense worthy of being brought to the attention of the police.
Such a view, however, is not out of line with Julie Staley's employer. WICS TV is owned by Sinclair Broadcast--the Baltimore-based company that owns television stations across the country and is trying to put a conservative political spin on all of them. Let's not forget when Sinclair gained notoriety earlier this year for trying to forbid their ABC affiliates from airing Ted Koppel's Nightline show that listed the U.S. casualties in Iraq.
While WICS, as an NBC affiliate, was not affected by that move, the station has taken to giving prominent play to the oddball commentaries put together by the company's management that often make the company's stations seem like training grounds for the Fox News channel.
My point in bringing any of this up is that I am not surprised that WICS management would stick by Staley during this incident. Her view fits in with their view of the world. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that her actions have cemented her position with the station and the company. She fits in too well.
It's also the reason that during the seven years I lived in Springfield, whenever I wanted local television news I either watched cable television to get WGN (the only newscast available across all of Illinois) or I turned to good ol' Channel 3, WCIA TV of Champaign, where despite budget cuts in recent years, they tried to report the news straight.