Here’s an interesting connection, or maybe its just a coincidence. Mr. Connors was formerly the lead anchor for KMOV, the CBS affiliate in St. Louis. KMOV is owned by Belo Corporation, a huge media conglomerate with TV stations and newspapers in many cities, including Dallas, New Orleans, Seattle and other cites.
Belo was once the gold standard in local TV news, and they have a few veterans (like Connors) who weren’t afraid to ask tough questions. In fact, the only other tough interview that Barry’s had in recent years came from a journalist representing another Belo station, Brad Watson of WFAA in Dallas. Watson interviewed Hobama in 2011 and gained instant fame for refusing to accept the Dear Leader’s talking points. At the end, an obviously flustered Obama said “next time, why don’t you let me finish my answers.”
Flash forward to present day. Brad Watson left WFAA last month after 34 years on the job. He announced his retirement back in March, informing friends/viewers that he was moving to a new job as the spokesman for the largest power company in Texas. Watson’s announcement stunned a lot of people in Dallas media circles; he had been on the job at WFAA since 1979, and was acclaimed as one of the finest broadcast journalists in the country, network or local. But with barely a month’s notice, he decided to pack it in, and move to a corporate pr job.
That makes me wonder: with such a sudden transition, was Brad Watson told he wouldn’t be offered a new contract when his deal was up? Or was Belo threatening to cut his salary, citing the company’s financial problems and increased competition in the marketplace. And why would you get rid of a guy who is one of the best reporters and anchors in the market?
Now, Larry Connors, an icon in St. Louis (and someone who’s made millions for Belo) gets the axe. Their only common factor seems to be the fact that both were tough on Barry Zero during their interviews with him. Is the White House (through their friends at the FCC) putting pressure on Belo about its TV licenses? With the newspaper business in the toilet, Belo desperately needs its TV properties to keep the company afloat.
I can easily envision Belo managers getting rid of Brad Watson and Larry Conners in hopes of keeping their station holdings.
Somewhere, the late Marty Haag, the legendary WFAA news director who hired Watson (and set the bar for Belo news operations around the country) must be spinning in his grave.
Belo also used to be the conservative voice in Dallas, back when there were 2 newspapers. Their “Dallas Morning News” was the alternative to the liberal “Dallas Times Herald.” When the Herald ceased publication, the News became more liberal. I have no idea if Belo even owns the News anymore, as I quit reading it about 20 years ago when it evolved into propaganda and became worthless as a news source.