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Larry Conners Out At KMOV-TV, President Cites Importance of "Journalistic Standards"

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Larry Conners.
Update below: Larry Conners is out at KMOV-TV (Channel 4).

So says Mark Pimentel, KMOV's president and general manager, in an announcement on the station's website published this afternoon. The news comes just one week after Conners made controversial comments on his Facebook page speculating whether the IRS had unfairly targeted him after he did a tough interview with the president in 2012. Later that day, he disclosed on air that his issues with the IRS predated the Obama interview -- by several years.

A few days later the station said he was "temporarily" off air -- and now, it seems, he'll be parting ways with KMOV for good.

See also:
- Larry Conners Off Air After IRS Comments, Lawyer Says Not Allowed To Talk
- KMOV-TV's Larry Conners Says IRS May Have Been Targeting Him For Years
- Larry Conners Shows Off His O-Face: "Squeeze Those Legs, Larry! Squeeze 'Em!"

Here's Pimentel's full announcement, which cites the importance of "journalistic standards" and unbiased reporting.

We regret to announce that Larry Conners is no longer a KMOV news reporter. Larry was a valued member of KMOV for a long time, and we will miss him.

For KMOV, there is no higher cause than unbiased, objective news reporting. It is what our viewers expect and it is what we work very hard to deliver. We can accept no less. Larry is certainly entitled to his opinion, but taking a personal political position on one of the Station's Facebook pages creates an appearance of bias that is inconsistent with important journalistic standards. Larry's departure has nothing to do with the particular position he took, but it does have to do with our belief that his actions made it impossible for him to report for KMOV on certain political matters going forward without at least an appearance of bias. Bringing you accurate and unbiased reporting is the reason we exist.

Reached just now, Conners' attorney Merle Silverstein could not offer any immediate comment, but tells Daily RFT that Conners did meet with KMOV brass sometime this afternoon. (Update: Read Daily RFT's interview with Larry Conners here).

Conners' brief on-air comments about the Facebook post last week.

As of this writing, Conners' Facebook page and Twitter are both down.

Update, 4:45 p.m.: Daily RFT reached Pimentel, KMOV's president, this afternoon who tells us that the station has formally terminated Conners' contract.

"Larry's been a valued employee for a very long time," he says.

Pimentel tells us that KMOV and Conners had just one month ago signed a "multi-year contract," meaning the station had every intention of keeping him on until this controversy erupted. "Clearly, Larry was a part of our longer term plan."

Pimentel says that Conners has continued to agree to uphold the company's journalistic standards in his contracts. He says that he and KMOV's news director Sean McLaughlin made the decision together to terminate Conners' contract.

"We dedicate a ton of our resources to political reporting and government reporting," Pimentel says. "It's critical that we do this in an unbiased manner."

From our original coverage, here's Conners' comments in full on the IRS that sparked the whole debate (now no longer available on Facebook):

Shortly after I did my April 2012 interview with President Obama, my wife, friends and some viewers suggested that I might need to watch out for the IRS. I don't accept "conspiracy theories", but I do know that almost immediately after the interview, the IRS started hammering me. At the time, I dismissed the "co-incidence", but now, I have concerns ... after revelations about the IRS targeting various groups and their members. Originally, the IRS apologized for red-flagging conservative groups and their members if they had "Tea Party" or "patriot" in their name. Today, there are allegations that the IRS focused on various groups and/or individuals questioning or criticizing government spending, taxes, debt or how the government is run ... any involved in limiting/expanding government, educating on the constitution and bill of rights, or social economic reform/movement. In that April 2012 interview, I questioned President Obama on several topics: the Buffet Rule, his public remarks about the Supreme Court before the ruling on the Affordable Care Act. I also asked why he wasn't doing more to help Sen. Claire McCaskill who at that time was expected to lose. The Obama interview caught fire and got wide-spread attention because I questioned his spending. I said some viewers expressed concern, saying they think he's "out of touch" because of his personal and family trips in the midst of our economic crisis. The President's face clearly showed his anger; afterwards, his staff which had been so polite ... suddenly went cold. That's to be expected, and I can deal with that just as I did with President George H. Bush's staff when he didn't like my questions. Journalistic integrity is of the utmost importance to me. My job is to ask the hard questions, because I believe viewers have a right to be well-informed. I cannot and will not promote anyone's agenda - political or otherwise - at the expense of the reporting the truth. What I don't like to even consider ... is that because of the Obama interview ... the IRS put a target on me. Can I prove it? At this time, no. But it is a fact that since that April 2012 interview ... the IRS has been pressuring me.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.



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254 comments
Sarah Penrod
Sarah Penrod

Posting numerous videos of the same person to make your arguments for you makes you look like a lazy fanatic. Most people have heard and possibly believed in anarchistic ideas before and ultimately abandon them when they realize that they are either false, unrealistic or impractical. Nobody is curious because you aren't saying anything new. Or at all, really.

Teresa Dennison
Teresa Dennison

NO we don't think he should have been fired. Did they really fire Larry for his comments or for his age? We really enjoyed Larry Conners he will be missed by many.

Jacob DeVore
Jacob DeVore

CNN's biggest problem is that its reporters are incompetent, just like most cable "news" like MSNBC, FOX, etc.

Jacob DeVore
Jacob DeVore

um, yeah, ya did, Greg. I hate to refer the OP to his OP... but yes, Larry Conners has "freedom of speech," as does KMOV. Here's your sign..

Jacob DeVore
Jacob DeVore

Another good call, Kim. America thanks you for shopping. Please come again. I'd say "Maybe I'll see you at the library," but that would just be funny, wouldn't it?

Patty Lager
Patty Lager

Again, a total lack of curiosity There is a way we could all have more freedom.... If you are curious, please listen to Stefan Molyneux.

Jacob DeVore
Jacob DeVore

Total logic fail. We don't have public roads, bridges, schools, and the like because all taxes and government are evil. I'd like to see you negotiate the right of way for your own personal highway/bike trail/foot path across a thousand pieces of personal property, hire your own police officer to enforce the law, teach your own children (or dog or whatever) College Algebra, or build your own Navy destroyer to keep international seas free to the commerce from which every self-reliant American benefits. You probably live on land that was purchased by the evil Federal government, then led by that renowned statist Thomas Jefferson. Or if you live out east of the Mississippi, you live on land which was secured through the negotiation of vile agents of government. Sovereign citizen, indeed.

ThatsMyTattooo
ThatsMyTattooo

Good for KMOV! His comments were not only biased, but NOT FACTUAL by his OWN admission. A real reporter doesn't get to air their opinion, unless its an op-ed, duh! "Reporters" who spread lies & propaganda belong on Breitbart, maybe Connors can find a job over there.

Christina Seger Christy
Christina Seger Christy

MO is an at will state so I suppose they can fire who they want to. But in answer to the moron who says conservatives are about gaming the system, you have to be joking. Most conservatives are to busy working and earning a living instead of living off of the liberal handouts to worry about gaming anything. And the victim card. I really hope this was in jest. I don't know Any conservatives who have played the victim card as much in their lives than a liberal has in the past week.

Patty Lager
Patty Lager

I posted that I support Larry and that I am against taxation. Instead of having people show curiosity about why I feel taxation is immoral, I was told to basically stop participating in this country. This is what the state wants. It wants people to show aggression towards anyone that even suggests that the state may be immoral. Why not be curious about this? Governments have killed more LIFE on this planet than any other entity. I reluctantly pay all of my taxes because I don't want to be killed. There is a gun in the room, and it is the state. There is a better way to live ....a free and moral way. Please check out Stefan Molyneux. He is the most amazing philosopher of our time. http://www.youtube.com/user/stefbot

Jacob DeVore
Jacob DeVore

It's true. Not stumbling over your words is *the*Number*1* principle of journalism.... ..... ....

Jacob DeVore
Jacob DeVore

Oh right, and "F off" to you too, since I'm sure that's how they say hello where you live! lol.

Jacob DeVore
Jacob DeVore

I love your schoolyard tactics Kim. It's true: anyone who backs up their assertions with logic and facts is an ass and needs to get a life. I'm honored to be insulted by someone so un-American and ignorant of the principles upon which our country was founded. When the flag passes by me at the Memorial Day parade, I'll be thinking not only about all those who have served our country, but also you and all the other folks who didn't pay attention in your high school Civics class.

Greg McWhorter
Greg McWhorter

my point was you can not say anything now days and it is sad you are getting to worked up on this let it go

JJ O'Brand
JJ O'Brand

If the story had an ounce of merit, would he have been terminated, me thinks not. Common sense would dictate, not making your personal business, for all to hear, especially when you're under contract, to not do things just like this. But, conservatives dont give a rip about truth, contracts, just playing the victim card, all the while gaming the system and all involved in it. Nice try, why don't you attempt to use some critical thinking skills here? If he'd done nothing wrong, he'd still have a job.... Ill bet you were rooting for Applebees when they fired that waitress, yea?

rn20022002
rn20022002

I'm pro Larry Conners for the simple fact ALL news casting reflects opinions at times. Perhaps Larry should NOT have vented on KMOVs page but rather his own personal one. He is human and entitled, AS AMERICANS, to have that freedom of speech, but we must also be knowledgeable and conscious of the venue you choose to put it on blast.

James Madison
James Madison

KMOV moved him to commentary. That was their choice. Commentary is giving personal opinions. The problem was when his personal opinion differed from the elites. They found one instance, and ran with it. Let's see KMOV keep that standard for all their on-air personalities.

Evan Exempt
Evan Exempt

Steve, let go of her hair. Most of us agree with you :)

James Madison
James Madison

I get it. If you do not bow over and kiss Obama's feet, you must be a Tea Party type, right? How intolerant the leftists have become. Diversity is not something tolerated with respect to opinions for the leftists.

Stacy Sailor-Duvall
Stacy Sailor-Duvall

Oh, I know...Can't say I lost sleep over this...Pay your taxes, Lar Bear....

Mary McAnally Seger
Mary McAnally Seger

Freedom of speech appears to be a thing of the past. Funny, but didn't even notice it happening until the Obama Administration but now the losses of our freedoms has been like being run over with a bulldozer. No he shouldn't have lost his job. Everyone has a right to their opinion, even news anchors.

Steve Dixon
Steve Dixon

No, you don't. Freedom of Speech protects you from the government. KMOV is a private entity and can fire you for anything other than religious, race or disability reasons. This is not a Freedom os Speech issue.

Riverbend Taxi
Riverbend Taxi

Kevin Griffin you stole my status lol that was my FIRST thought.

John Shetterly
John Shetterly

Just a guess but I think Larry has a future in conservative talk radio!!!!!!!!

Tim Grib
Tim Grib

KMOV has a lot of nerve citing 'journalistic standards' as the reason. These guys are as biased as it comes. What a joke - good luck to a St. Louis icon.

David Robison
David Robison

he is supposed to report the news not give his paranoid opinion about the irs , after the piece of shit refused to pay his taxes

Greg McWhorter
Greg McWhorter

i do know thank you he was fired for what he said

JJ O'Brand
JJ O'Brand

The same christians trying to set up a theocracy in a democratic republic, your point is laughable.

JJ O'Brand
JJ O'Brand

Your precious GOP started this under Bush and appointed THE official that's been terminated for this, try again, you're dismissed.

JJ O'Brand
JJ O'Brand

FFOTD the only group not allowed the tax exempt status, was a liberal group. You charlatan christians are all the same, snake oil consumers/salesmen, you're a consumer, full on.

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

For those still watching KMOV, and I hope some honest people do, watch each and every word their newscasters utter. Make the social media the place to report any bias of any newscaster. From a fawning remark about Obama, or a fluff piece on McCaskill. Make certain everyone hears about it. And hound KMOV to report on the scandals in Washington. These should be on the air 24/7, but no. That might be biased news - reporting the truth!

Steve Dixon
Steve Dixon

Yeah, had he said it on the air I could understand the firing. But he should have just apologized and dropped it. He likely would still have a job had just apologized.

Steve Dixon
Steve Dixon

AHHHH! This is not freedom of speech! Please go educate yourself on what Freedom of Speech actually protects you from.

glen4cindy
glen4cindy

@ThatsMyTattooo Apparently, you have not been following this story. Larry Connors, among most other reporters at KMOV and the other stations in St. Louis, have been ASKED by MANAGEMENT to air their personal opinions on the KMOV created Facebook pages. In fact, Larry Connors was recently PRAISED by management at the following his Facebook page had. 

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