News Anchor Fired Over Facebook Post

She invoked black stereotypes in post about mass shooting
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2016 1:22 AM CDT
News Anchor Fired Over Facebook Post
WTAE's staff photo of Wendy Bell.   (WTAE-TV)

A Pittsburgh news anchor has been fired over a controversial Facebook post about a mass shooting in the city earlier this month. "You needn't be a criminal profiler to draw a mental sketch of the killers who broke so many hearts two weeks ago Wednesday," Wendy Bell wrote in the March 21 post about the March 9 shooting, which killed five adults and an unborn baby. "They are young black men, likely in their teens or early 20s," she wrote, per the the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, which has the 650-word post in full. "They have multiple siblings from multiple fathers and their mothers work multiple jobs." She went on to praise a young black restaurant worker in what many thought was a patronizing manner, the AP reports.

Bell, who is white, deleted the post after a backlash and admitted it was "insensitive and could be viewed as racist." In a statement, the station's parent company said Bell's comments were "inconsistent with the company's ethics and journalistic standards" and the station had ended its relationship with her. No suspects have been identified in the mass shooting, and media experts tell the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that while the case raises tricky issues, Bell crossed a line by presenting her opinions as fact on her anchor Facebook page. Bell, who won 21 regional Emmys during her 18 years at WTAE, tells the AP that she didn't get a "fair shake" from the station, and the story should be about "African-Americans being killed by other African-Americans," not her. (More news anchor stories.)

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