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Wendy Bell, TV Anchor, Fired for 'Young Black Men' Comment

Image: Wendy Bell, TV Anchor, Fired for 'Young Black Men' Comment
(Twitter@WendyBellWTAE)

By    |   Friday, 01 Apr 2016 06:53 AM

Wendy Bell, a TV news anchor in Pittsburgh, was fired from her job at WTAE-TV after posting a critical comment about “young black men” on Facebook.

Bell speculated in the March 21 post about the suspects in a shooting that left five people and an unborn baby dead in the suburb of Willkinsburg, The Associated Press reported.

The lengthy post, which has since been deleted, said in part: "You needn't be a criminal profiler 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 in their early 20s. They have multiple siblings from multiple fathers and their mothers work multiple jobs. These boys have been in the system before. They've grown up there. They know the police. They've been arrested."

Hearst Television released a statement on Wednesday saying that Bell’s comments were "inconsistent with the company's ethics and journalistic standards" and that the station had ended its relationship with her.

Bell apologized that her words "were insensitive and could be viewed as racist." She told the AP that the station didn’t give her a “fair shake.”

"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," Bell told the AP.

Bell joined WTAE-TV in 1998 and has been off the air since last week, when the station’s president and general manager Charles Wolfertz III issued a public apology, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Bell’s Facebook page was taken down and her profile was deleted from the station’s website.

Aly Colon, a professor of media ethics at Washington and Lee University in Virginia and a former director of standards and practices at NBC News, told the Post-Gazette that Bell crossed a line with her comments.

“Journalists always – and I don’t use ‘always’ all the time – must be careful about what they write or say because the audience, the readers and the viewers, are depending on them to provide information that they can trust, to be as fair and impartial as possible,” Colon said.

Bell, who lives in Point Breeze with her husband and five sons, won 21 Emmys, two Edward R. Murrow awards, and a National Headliner Award during her career, Trib Live reported.

Twitter users shared opinions about the controversy.


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Wendy Bell, a TV news anchor in Pittsburgh, was fired from her job at WTAE-TV after posting a critical comment about “young black men” on Facebook.
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