Larry Conners Talks KMOV-TV Firing, Defends IRS Facebook Post, Journalistic Integrity

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Larry Conners.
Yesterday, KMOV-TV (Channel 4) fired veteran news anchor Larry Conners, one week after he wrote a controversial Facebook post pondering whether the IRS had targeted him in response to a tough interview he did with President Obama in 2012.

In the announcement of his termination, KMOV said he violated the station's journalistic standards by "taking a personal political position."

Conners, in an interview with Daily RFT this morning, argues that he did not take any personal position, but simply raised a question. Further, he says, his bosses have made him look like a criminal in their handling of this controversy.

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 Out At KMOV, President Cites "Journalistic Standards"

As a quick recap, the Facebook post that sparked the whole debate -- now down, but the text of which is on view below -- speculated whether the IRS went after him specifically in response to an April 2012 interview with Obama in which, Conners said, he asked particularly critical questions.

Later that night, Conners made a short on-air statement that wasn't quite an apology, but made clear his views were his own. He also disclosed that he had had issues with the IRS several years prior to the 2012 interview. He was then taken off air temporarily and officially fired yesterday.

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

Today, Conners says that he never directly alleged that the IRS was targeting him because of the interview, but rather considered the possibility, given the national scandal around the IRS's intense scrutiny of conservative groups.

"They say that I took a position on the IRS. I did not take a position," Conners tells Daily RFT. "I raised the question."

He also notes that there is a lot of pressure at KMOV to drive traffic through these Facebook pages and says that he was repeatedly praised internally for his social media presence -- which at times has involved more personal posts.

"It's a new platform," he says. "They want you to do personal, engaging stuff...but if it gets too hot, I guess they say no."

Conners, who has been in the business for 50 years, says, "It's always been my goal to be the best unbiased reporter I can be."

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Larry Conners.

In Facebook posts about the Boston bombers and other national stories, he has sometimes gotten personal and perhaps less neutral than he would be on air -- but he never heard any complaints from his bosses, Conners says.

Regarding the IRS, he says he does not know for sure if he was targeted because of the Obama segment, but says that his issues with the agency clearly escalated after the 2012 interview.

"My trouble started after the interview," he says. "The timeline is very simple."

Continue for more of our interview with Larry Conners.



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77 comments
shelleyp
shelleyp

He just continues to dig himself in, doesn't he? 

He keeps demonstrating that he no longer has any credibility as a journalist. To think that the President would really give a darn about the so-called 'hard hitting' interview that was primarily about where the wife and kiddies take their vacation is bad enough, but then to pretend that there's some form of conspiracy and the IRS is out to get him...

How can anyone treat him as a credible journalist? He's playing into the worst Tea Party paranoia. 

Brian Cunningham
Brian Cunningham

Nope I think the gave him the shaft and were really sly about how they went about doing it.

mojobullet
mojobullet

He should have been fired!  I don't care how long you have been in St Louis broadcasting.  It was a juvenile statement that he made.  He was just jumping on the bandwagon with his radical teaparty buddies and look what it cost him!  They and their racist hatred of Obama and everything he believes is becoming more and more unpopular with the general public.  Hatred of any kind should not be tolerated in this country.  He can say whatever he wants was the reason for his termination, but I for one am not unhappy he is gone.  

Keith Siatkowski
Keith Siatkowski

Seriously man, I am not going to read your wall of bullshit. You can type until your fingers are raw. We are making different points. I posted the facts that are available at this time. Being a condescending asshole doesn't help you sell your point (at least not to me).

John Foster
John Foster

He twisted the truth on what was basically company letterhead. Boom! You're gone.

Sarah Penrod
Sarah Penrod

"If you were Larry....you might be wondering why they suddenly turned nasty on you" I absolutely would. But generally, journalists do their investigating before they do their reporting. They don't make unsupported accusations against a governmental agency on their professional social media pages, at least.

raquelbunn07
raquelbunn07

Biggest Mistake KMOV Could Of Made , Larry Has Been On The News Since I Was Little ... Really What He Says On His Personal Facebook Page Is His Business Not EVERYBODY Else's What Is The World Coming To What Happened To Freedom Of Speech....... He Will Be Missed.

Jacob DeVore
Jacob DeVore

Well Keith, I suppose Larry could report on Fox2, where he's being interviewed tonight. Can't wait for Larry to show us his proof. Let me hold my breath. I'll set my DVR. Or he could make his solid case to the world via fb or twitter, now that he's no longer encumbered by thumb of a cruel liberal media boss, right? You made your case based on a logical fallacy. I don't need caps or insults to expose that. That's just for fun, Keith. That's just to entertain myself while you dodge my completely legitimate question: where's the beef? I asked you (and Larry) a simple question, and you've responded by attacking my assumed politics, "declaring me" illogical despite evidence to the contrary, attacking everything but this very reasonable "plea." I call bullshit on the Tinfoil Brigade, because they think/believe that their opinions based on their personal ideology --rather than conclusions derived from critical thinking skills taught in elementary school-- have the same value as opinions reached by reason. I'm glad that makes you and other members of the Tinfoil Brigade uncomfortable. It should. Fear and paranoia don't make right. Avoid it all you want, declare victory as much as you like, but you lost this argument the moment you stepped into this thread. So I'll do you the courtesy you couldn't for me or anyone else who doesn't worship at the pulpits of cable news pundits and youtube prophets: I'll answer your question. The PROOF (sorry if the caps are scary) I'd accept that Larry Conners was telling the truth: internals, memos, emails, notes, or anything with Larry Conners' name on it or the even the whistleblower testimony that specifically targets him as a political enemy of the current administration. That's it Keith. It's that simple. Impossible you say? Stuff gets leaked all the time! Intrepid journalists find a way! You really want to vindicate Larry? That's the ticket. Impossible you say? Then get to work bro! Go help Larry "find the real killer." Until then, all you have are accusations of bias from your own biased camp. So no Keith, I don't need to respect your opinion, because it's baseless. It has virtually no value, except for the value that other partisan trash places on it. Instead of dismissing me as a liberal and avoiding my questions, maybe you and half the other folks on this thread need to step back into 8th grade and learn how the Constitution and government works. Go read the Federalist Papers. I have an extra copy if you'd like to borrow it. I even have a spare AP Stylebook and various News-writing manuals if you're really concerned about the state of journalism today. I'm serious. Nah, you're right, it's easier to just say "we're not having the same conversation." Good luck out there, buddy.

Sharyn Altman
Sharyn Altman

I am going to watch KSDK now. I was a Channel 4 gal since I was a kid, but this sucks!!! Grew up watching Larry. I think this is Channel 4 looking for an excuse to get rid of older anchor people. Have you noticed the on air staff these days? With the exception of Doug Vaughn, Kent Erhardt, Steve Savard, Ray Preston, Robin Smith and just a few more over 40 somethings, the place looks like a highschool tv station.

Keith Siatkowski
Keith Siatkowski

Yah, we are having a different discussion. I have made my case. You are just simply incorrect. You can type in caps. You can repeat your pleas for proof. You can insult people who disagree with you and claim they are wearing tin foil hats. You can do this across every single post on FB (I see that you are trying). None of this makes your argument legit. If you were Larry, and you suddenly got raped by the IRS out of the blue (refer to my original statement....this is what happened), then I am sure you might be wondering why they suddenly turned nasty on you. One last thought. If members of the press were actually being targeted, how would you suggest they report it? In this case, what kind of proof would you accept?

Phil Devore
Phil Devore

Glad they fired him. People who think they can avoid taxes dont deserve to be paid anything.

Jacob DeVore
Jacob DeVore

I mean, when a well-respected veteran newsman says the government is "punishing" him for talking tough to the President, you'd expect a well-respected veteran newsman to have sources, evidence, to bring that Pulitzer Prize-winning story to the people! So, WHERE IS IT?

Jacob DeVore
Jacob DeVore

I'm asking for proof --any kind of proof--from anywhere-- that KMOV was wrong for firing him. Larry made a politically-charged (IDGAF what direction he leans) bat-shit-tinfoil-crazy allegation (see "Begging the question" as a logical fallacy). I'm fine with Larry's allegation, as long as he can back it up. He hasn't, and he lost his job. Larry *lied* and he was canned. How is that incorrect?

pdeutsch
pdeutsch

Larry like many of the on-air personalities in this market have a very inflated opinion of their self worth and importance. They are supposed to report the news. They do not make it and most of us are not the least bit interested in their personal opinions like we get so many times on KSDK TV.

Keith Siatkowski
Keith Siatkowski

Larry was asked by his management to actively comment on current events via facebook. He did so. He commented on the IRS scandal and related his experience. Are you asking for proof that Obama directly ordered the IRS to come down on Larry? If so, then you and I arent having the same conversation.

Jeff Willett
Jeff Willett

He is demonstrating why he got fired, he doesn't get why he got fired.

Jacob DeVore
Jacob DeVore

Still waiting on that proof buddy. While we're waiting for Keith (or Larry the Truthspeaker Himself) to present us with his hard evidence of Conners' targeting by The Godless Kenyan, here's some reading material on logical fallacies. But what do I know? I'm just a guy with a "lack of logic and inability to comprehend basic facts," because Keith said so. Enjoy. Edit: Larry should check out "Begging the question," and Keith should check out "Confusing association with causation."

Jacob DeVore
Jacob DeVore

Lol. Yes, Keith, I'm the damned idiot here. :)

Jimmie Thomptson
Jimmie Thomptson

He was simply...Too Old...Too White...made Too much...Too honest about the irs...crumpy cat has something to say to all you Larry haters...(get a f...en life)

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

Larry Connor's Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers.

PhilS
PhilS

Connors is simply a GOP shill and it's fairly obvious that his partisan views have finally caught up with him.

Keith Siatkowski
Keith Siatkowski

Ok, fair enough. I was giving you the benefit of the doubt. If your politics aren't the source of your lack of logic and inability to comprehend basic facts, then I apologize for my false assumption.

Rhonda Starks-Cripps
Rhonda Starks-Cripps

no way this is america i thought we have free speech hes a great anchor i bet they lose rateings i dont want to watch the news without him

Jacob DeVore
Jacob DeVore

I love that I can't support real journalism without being accused of "being liberal." Newsflash: I don't like MSNBC either. lmao.

Jacob DeVore
Jacob DeVore

Lol. That's not alliteration, my friend. You're making a lot of assumptions about me and my politics. 'Show Me' the proof Keith. Where is it? I love facts and logic. So let's keep going. 'Show Me' the proof, so I can see the light.

John Shetterly
John Shetterly

If he were liberal he might have paid his taxes & he wouldn't be in this mess!!!!!!!!!

Keith Siatkowski
Keith Siatkowski

Larry was making an observation. If you read his original post he qualified his statements over and over again. I get it, you disagree with his perceived politics. That is fine. Just don't act like it isn't influencing your opinion about his firing. If he were liberal, most of the folks supporting his firing would be outraged.

Jacob DeVore
Jacob DeVore

Ok, but it wasn't his personal facebook page.

LRBo
LRBo

KMOV obviously looking for a way to cut expenses...took an easy and biased way out. Larry will come out on top.

Jacob DeVore
Jacob DeVore

You ass-ume everyone is on one of "2 sides." Journalistic integrity swings every way, regardless personal opinion.

Jacob DeVore
Jacob DeVore

^valid concerns, but relevant to Larry Conners how?

Jacob DeVore
Jacob DeVore

Props for using facts that can be verified, however, correlation does not imply causation, Keith. 'Show Me' proof that Conners was targeted because of his interview with the president. It's a tall order for sure.

Kathleen Wilson Griswold
Kathleen Wilson Griswold

his comment was made on a Facebook page that had KMOV printed on it in more than one place. The page is the "property" then, of KMOV. Therefore, it makes it look like his personal stand is also the stand of KMOV. Whether it is the stand of KMOV or not, news reporting (loosely termed) has no room for bias and that FB comment shows definite bias. Hypocritical? perhaps, but as I see it KMOV had no choice when Conners posted on Facebook. Employment and Facebook is a very slippery slope.

John Shetterly
John Shetterly

Larry Conners, Daryl Strawberry how can these guys not pay their taxes they got money I don't get it!!!!!!'!!!!!!!'

crashtest
crashtest

@raquelbunn07 So what that he was a local TV personality for decades?  Any public personality knows (or should know) that anything they put out on a public forum, or how they behave in public is never-ever-ever going to be only their personal business......How many other media personalities or politicians have lost their jobs in the same way?  Want to make a living of being in the public-eye, then this sort of thing can come with the territory.

mojobullet
mojobullet

@raquelbunn07   What you say and do on Facebook in relation to your employer, is everyone's business and Mr. Conners made it personal by doing that, so you are incorrect in saying that it is only his business.


fmk3
fmk3

@PhilS Name a reporter who doesn't have biased views? Connors needed to retire because he WAS a journalist. Did he cross a line? Yes. What he said should have been labeled personnel commentary but that's obviously reserved for management, which also has biases, and sports announcers.

Like many veteran reporters in most markets, Connors was surrounded by people who don't know beans from biscuits. People who are journalists by degree, not experience.  

Steve Savard has been doing a nice job and he earned the chair Connors used. Sadly, Savard is paired with a person who is part news anchor and actress. 

Connors should have quit the minute someone told him he'd be paired with Claire Kellett on parade coverage. If someone would add music to the background when she's singing a story, she would sound like a country yodeler.

Personally, I was tired of watching Connors stand around with that infernal blue folder when he delivered the news. 

I'm glad he's gone but I wouldn't brand him a shill.

shelleyp
shelleyp

@LRBo In actuality, supposedly he had just signed a contract recently to renew his tenure at the station. No, this firing was about his comments. 

mojobullet
mojobullet

@LRBo Well, he deserved to be fired IMHO!  I hope that he doesnt try to do a Rush Limbaugh type show.  America is getting tired of the hatred-spewing rhetoric coming out of the radicals like  him and others.


mojobullet
mojobullet

@fmk3 @PhilS 

I would brand him a radical Teaparty shill.  He even admitted that he has had IRS tax issues for years before he interviewed President Obama, so he was an idiot for making that statement weeks ago.  He should not have made it personal and that why he is out.  His hatred for President Obama got the best of him.

PhilS
PhilS

@fmk3 @PhilSI suspect you have a lower threshold for biased editorials, branded news, than myself. From my perspective he was openly biased with an agenda and for me that crosses the line, so yes, I believe he exhibited all the behaviors that would brand him a shill for a conservative ideology.

PhilS
PhilS

@fmk3 @PhilS I expect there to be editorial bias when programs are NOT labeled NEWS - but I feel Connors and anyone else that is on a program whose title is explicitly NEWS should be called out for editorial and biased agendas. Perhaps as you say others aren't that do this aren't penalized but they should be and Connors is a good start. He should be able to find a good job at Fox or some other non-news editorial type program I'm fairly certain and that would provide him a venue to rant and rave right-wing conspiracy theories or whatever.

fmk3
fmk3

@PhilS @fmk3 I don't think I have a lower threshold for biased editorials, PhilS. I think it's difficult for reporters to bury their feelings and just report the news. I'm not a fan of Connors but he shouldn't be singled out as one "shill" in a sea of many. I don't know how you feel about our local news product but it's embarrassing. Connors biggest mistake was adding a political tone to his commentary, a tone that is in conflict with the station's political bent. I hope we can agree it really was time for him to go.

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