Two television news anchors in Bangor, Maine, raised questions and sparked debate when they appeared on-air last Tuesday and quit at the end of the 6 p.m. news, reports The New York Times.
Cindy Michaels and Tony Consiglio told The Times they decided to quit on-air because "if you give your notice, you aren’t allowed on the air for fear from management that you will bad-mouth the company," according to Michaels. They told their viewers they were quitting because “some recent developments” led them to decide leaving together was "the best alternative."
The pair became stars in local newsrooms by the next morning, even through the reason for their departure was still a mystery, the piece notes. The pair worked at WVII-TV and WFVX-TV, two stations owned by Rockfleet Broadcasting.
The anchors told the newspaper that they quit to protect their journalistic independence, with Michaels, who also served as news director, pointing to general manager Mike Palmer for allegedly meddling with news coverage. She declined to give any specific examples of management clashes, according to the story.
Palmer said in an email, "There have been no examples of bias cited, none. We require both sides of issues to be presented, always.”
He added that Consiglio was about to get fired, and said Michaels decided she didn’t want to continue without him, according to the report. Michaels denied Palmer’s account.
The stations have previously been in the news, when in 2006 Palmer wrote an email to the stations’ staff telling them to stop covering global warming. When "Bar Harbor is underwater, then we can do global warming stories,” he wrote at the time.
Palmer said in his email last week that he meant the stations should focus on local news, leaving national and international news to others, the story says.