Meet Wendy Bell, a hitherto successful Pittsburgh-area news anchor. In at 18-year career with WTAE-TV (a Hearst station), Ms Bell won 21 regional Emmys [Emmies? Ed.], and was highly regarded for her professionalism, and charming on-air personality. It all came to an end on Wednesday, when she was fired after "engaging in racial profiling of the worst kind" on her official Facebook page.
Walt can't show you the FB post that wrote finis to Ms Bell's career, since it has been removed, along with her profile on the WTAE-TV website. And you've probably guessed already which race it was that Ms Bell "profiled" in a negative way. (I won't say "libelled" or "slandered", because in any action for defamation, the truth is the best defence!) Hint: it wasn't Caucasians or Hispanics or Asians. No indeed. What Ms Bell said in a classic CDM (Career-Destroying Move) was that the killers in a brutal area murder were "young black men".
The problem was that Ms Bell posted her assumption -- for that's what it was -- before anyone was taken into custody following a horrific mass shooting in Wilkinsburg PA earlier in the month. "You needn't be a criminal profiler," she wrote, "to draw a mental sketch of the killers who broke so many hearts two weeks ago Wednesday. They are young black men, likely in their teens or early 20s. They have multiple siblings from multiple fathers, and their mothers work multiple jobs."
Would it come as a surprise to anyone if that description turned out to be accuratge? Of course not. The trouble was that it's politically incorrect! In Obama's America, you can't call a spade a spade.
A statement from Hearst Television said, "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." Apparently those standards forbid any suggestion that black people might be responsible for black-on-black crime. Even that phrase makes a racist assumption, eh.
For her part, Ms Bell issued the customary abject apology, "I now understand that some of the words I chose were insensitive and could be viewed as racist. I regret offending anyone. I'm truly sorry."
That was the required act of contrition, but Ms Bell expressed her real feelings in an interview with AP, saying that she didn’t get a "fair shake" from the station, and that the story was not about her, but about "African-Americans being killed by other African-Americans. It makes me sick! What matters is what's going on in America, and it is the death of black people in this country.... I live next to three war-torn communities in the city of Pittsburgh, that I love dearly. My stories, they struck a nerve. They touched people, but it’s not enough. More needs to be done. The problem needs to be addressed."
It's hard though, Walt thinks, to address a problem if you can't even mention it.