A journalist destroys his TV station’s credibility

KTTC, the Rochester TV station, has some explaining to do if it wants to restore the credibility it lost when a news anchor wore a Make America Great Again hat during a live shot at President Trump’s appearance in Rochester.

Most ethics policies in the media are built on perception. Sure, all humans have biases and people in the media actually vote (although some are discouraged by employers from participating in primary and caucus elections). But the underpinning of most news organizations’ ethics policies is to prevent the audience from proving a journalist’s personal political ideology.

And every journalist knows that which makes is why it was hard to believe KTTC’s James Bunner would be stupid enough to be photographed by a Star Tribune photographer at the rally.

With the picture gaining moment online, KTTC fired Bunner on Friday, the Associated Press reported.

News Director Noel Sederstrom says the station does not allow staff members to cover stories while wearing apparel from political campaigns.

But on its own Twitter feed on Thursday, KTTC promoted Bunner’s work before the Trump rally. Bunner was holding the hat in the photograph the station used in its tweet. Did they really think nobody would notice? Did they not notice?

The station has since deleted that tweet without explanation. It has also not addressed the situation online.

As for Bunner, he is now the online darling of the Great Unhinged online, who required victimization for fuel. But it’s unlike there is any respectable journalist in America — from liberal to conservative — who doesn’t wonder what on earth Bunner was thinking.

  • Guest

    Would all it take to “destroy a TV stations credibility” is to wear a rainbow flag pin?

    • Justin McKinney

      Has it happened? If you’re going to troll, at least be brave enough to use your name.

      • Guest

        It has not happened. I do not mean to come across as a troll but to get a reasonable response regarding the issues.

        I try to never discuss motives and often play Devil’s Advocate to explore the whole range of views.

        • Al

          The Devil doesn’t need an advocate. The Devil seems to do just fine on his own.

        • RBHolb

          “It has not happened.”

          And we won’t know unless/until it does. Speculation is meaningless.

    • Well, that’s an interesting question. I guess it depends on whether you view, say, embracing the concept of equal protection under the law or all (persons) created equal as a debatable position and not a constitutional guarantee.

      What you’re describing is closer to a cross on a necklace or an American flag pin.

      • Guest

        closer to a cross on a necklace or an American flag pin.= = = Fair Point, lets say during a debate regarding gay marriage. I was thinking how often gay issues ARE debated in the political realm.

        However, there is a valid aspect that an American Flag is not “political”.

        There is a large group who do NOT view the Confederate flag nor the gay flag to be outside of political consideration.

        That said, the rules were clear, the violation was clear, the punishment still their call, but debatable.

        • If a reporter was covering a debate on an issue, and wore a symbol that could REASONABLY BE PERCEIVED to declaring a position on the issue he/she was covering, that would be an ethics violation in most shops.

          • Guest

            It ends up we agree, thanks.

    • buck

      Not in this day and age. BUT wearing a cross or an American flag may be construed as extreme in today’s world. You know, cannot fly a flag in certain places because it may offend illegals; a cross may offend a muslim. It does not matter if a person wears a rainbow pin (even though those who wear them are the ones who will scream about a cross or a flag). So in response to your question, the media would inform us a pin would not destroy credibility. Because making sure someone has the “right” to be a man (or woman) by thinking it has trumped common sense and science. To point that out makes these “squeaky wheels” run to safe spaces and to courts to get you charged as a hater.

      • Rob

        All I hear is the squeaky wheel of hate and grievance.

      • Anything can be perceived to be anything. Ethics are based on reasonable perceptions by reasonable people.

      • BJ

        > You know, cannot fly a flag in certain places because it may offend illegals; a cross may offend a muslim.

        Where? I follow the news pretty regular (all stripes of news) and I haven’t seen anything of the sort.

        I have seen a city in Louisiana ban buying stuff from Nike because of an ad they ran with a person they don’t think it patriotic enough for them.

    • Rob

      Try this: If a reporter for a legitimate, fact-based media outlet had worn a huge “Yes, we can” button while on duty during Obama’s campaign or presidency, he/she would have deserved the same fate as the clueless putz from KTTC.

  • Postal Customer

    Are the Trumpsters invoking the first amendment yet? That’s one of my favorite reactions to events like this.

    • jon

      After the whole “innocent until proven guilty” bit for Kavanaugh with people insisting on definitive indisputable irrefutable evidence*, I wouldn’t be surprised if they decided to say there is no evidence that he was wearing a hat at all.

      *higher burden of proof than in a criminal hearing… so completely unreasonable.

      • John Climber

        What’s your source for the insistence on “definitive indisputable irrefutable evidence”? Googling this term in regard to Kavanaugh turns up nothing.

        • Jim in RF

          Absolutely doesn’t.

        • jon

          You are being ironic right?
          Asking for definitive proof of a statement saying people were demanding as much?
          Demanding proof of a quote that I didn’t have in quotes?

          Also I’d like to point out that if google were a robust resource for everything on the internet, there would be at least two results for that direct quote right now, your post and mine, but if there are none then perhaps you can’t trust google.

          In case you aren’t being ironic… No, I’m not giving you names of people I talk to on the topic who were demanding such evidence… I won’t dox people, even those I disagree with politically… But I will say, they were regular folks, posting on social media, or talking about kavanaugh…

          p.s. google does return results for:
          definitive indisputable irrefutable evidence kavanaugh

          • This isn’t a kavanaugh post. Thread hijack. Move on.

          • John Climber

            I’m not being ironic. You made a substantive claim about the fairness of the process, and now you don’t have any evidence to back up your claim.

          • Thread hijack. Final warning before imposing the 24 hour bans.

    • buck

      If a business wants to fire someone for political clothing they wear that is their right. The problem here is that all of the old media is so left it is ridiculous. You cannot watch a “news” program without hearing how awful Trump is. They do not report news they report their biases and their politics. For example, there is next to nothing on the mainstream media outlets about the low unemployment rates among blacks, hispanics, whites, etc. If Obama had done something like this it would have been reported 24/7. The economy is doing better than it has in decades but all the “news” reports is “Trump bad, Kavanaugh guilty.”

      The funny thing about this story is one reporter supports Trump and the leftist media goes nuts for “wearing a MAGA hat!!” and credibility is gone and is fired for it. I love watching leftists come out and say “Trumpsters will say they are shutting down his 1st amendment rights” when we all know that applies to gov’t shutting down our rights not private entities. While these same leftists become indignant when one points out the hypocrisy of firing one reporter for being a Trump supporter when the other 95% of reporters are happy to “report” their politics 24/7. But the left is blind to its own hypocrisy.

      • Blasko

        Absolutely. You have to look at hard-right media outlets like NPR to find these kinds of statistics: https://www.npr.org/2018/06/01/616225985/the-most-surprising-number-in-fridays-jobs-report

        • Blasko

          Sorry buck, I can probably do better than snark. First, we liberals are not, on the whole, going nuts over this. Many of us try to reserve judgement. Considering that people have worn pro-lynching of journalists shirts at Trump rallies, Bunner may have been trying to cut down on harassment from ralliers. Second, the unemployment signs you mention are good, yes. I’m hoping that they will be soon followed by real wealth increases for black, hispanic families, too – otherwise we’re only increasing labor participation below living wages. Third, right-wing media pundits spent a lot of time in the Obama years arguing that economic growth was strictly due to workers and employers – not to the executive branch. Seems odd to us that now suddenly it’s solely the President’s doing. And finally, Trump has done and said a lot of things to create mistrust. Even the recent NY Times story shows that we have a man in the White House who built his fortune on defrauding the public. I can live with him as president, sure, but arguments that he’s somehow the great victim of a media conspiracy feel more than a bit overblown. If anything, he’s had to answer relatively few tough questions – and just gaslights Democrats when he does get a few tough questions.

          • Mike Worcester

            //Bunner may have been trying to cut down on harassment from ralliers

            Honestly that’s about the only explanation that could have made sense to me. But really if he wanted to wear a hat, how about a Vikings hat, or a Twins hat, or a Rochester Honkers hat (the Northwoods League team there), or even a Rochester Red Wings hat, that’s red after all.

          • His earlier Facebook posts suggested that wasn’t the case.

      • Rob

        Heh. First, remember that the unemployent rate has been dropping for the last eight years. T.Rump did not wave a magic wand to make it start going down. There was this fellow named Obama who occupied the presidency during the biggest chunk of the drop in the unemployment rate. I know, I know; facts are such damn stubborn things!

        And the reason that legitimate, fact-based media report awful stories about T.Rump is that – wait for it – T.Rump does awful things.

      • That is your perception, yes. That is not a conclusion based on fact. It is a belief. Beliefs are not facts. Beliefs are based on assumptions.

        It is not relevant to this story.

      • Postal Customer

        The Times had very positive news on Friday about the economy. Upshot covers it all the time.

        For example, I learned from the failing NYTimes, the ultra-liberal NYTimes, that the unemployment rate is 3.7%. Those dang elite liberals hiding that positive economic news . . .

      • RBHolb

        “[W]e all know that applies to gov’t shutting down our rights not private entities.”

        No, “we” don’t know that at all. A substantial portion of “Us” seems to think the First Amendment is a legitimate pushback to criticism of something you say.

        Roseanne got fired by ABC? What about the First Amendment?

        Calling out homophobia? What about the First Amendment?

        Arguing against hate speech of any kind? What happened to the First Amendment, Mr. Tolerant Liberal?

        • // No, “we” don’t know that at all. A substantial portion of “Us” seems to think the First Amendment is a legitimate pushback to criticism of something you say.

          Right. But that’s ignorance not justification. America’s ignorance of what’s in the Constitution and what it means is well documented.

          And there is a parallel between that ignorance that the First Amendment provides protected speech in the workplace, for example.

          The fact that a lot of people think it does doesn’t make it so.

          • RBHolb

            True. Ignorance excuses nothing, but it does cause voices to get raised.

          • It does and in today’s media environment, it leads to them getting amplified, which only continues the cycle of ignorance.

  • Gary F

    But OK for Wolf Blitzer?


    • He obviously wasn’t on duty covering the event. Can you tell the difference?

      • JamieHX

        Who ever said it was ok for Blitzer? A lot of employers will say you can’t do this OFF duty, either. I don’t think Wolf Blitzer should have been there, even off-duty.

        • From Business Insider: “After two straight weeks on the road covering both conventions, the last night at the Grill was a time to unwind, have a drink and celebrate CNN’s tremendous success,” a CNN rep said in a statement provided to Business Insider. The person added: “CNN staffers and their guests — both republicans and democrats — joined in the fun. To suggest it was anything more than that is, quite simply, absurd.”

          Conservative websites ginned this up as a support for Dems story, but it was nothing of the kind.

    • Blasko

      True, not on duty. But a fair point, Gary. Integrity and impartiality on all channels of news is important, I agree.

      • Gary F

        All of CNN’s “A” team was there. Whether he was on the clock or not shouldn’t matter, he was at an event that the world was watching. It just re-enforced many people’s opinion of his lack of impartiality.

        • The extent to which ethical news organizations insist on these policies is usually not apparent to all but the most interested. The Pioneer Press, for example, disciplined several members of the news department in 2008 for attending a Bruce Springsteen concert, which was intended as a benefit for the Obama campaign.

          Several years ago, you also may recall, NPR insisted none of its employees be seen (unless working) at the Jon Stewart rally in Washington.


          What the non-media people don’t understand — and most aren’t interested in understanding — is that the act committed by the Rochester TV “reporter” was a flagrant offense that is acknowledged by any respectful journalist of all political stripes in their personal time.

          There’s no real debate in journalism circles on this.

          Only among the people who get up every day just to have the same old tired argument with each other.

    • RBHolb

      He drank wine, smiled, and waved! The horrors!

      Just out of curiosity, where is the archive of video clips to use for whataboutism posts?

  • buck

    “A journalist destroys his TV station’s credibility.” WHY?? Because he DARED to wear a MAGA hat! Oh My! The station’s “credibility” is RUINED! LOL!!ROFLMAO!! You see a station loses “credibility” ONLY if they wear a Republican hat. If a station broadcasts 24/7 how evil Trump/Kavanaugh/Graham/etc THEN they are perfectly credible.

    Once again we see why everyone MUST VOTE REPUBLICAN in November. Otherwise the lunatics will be running the asylum! They already think they do by saying who Trump can appoint and who he cannot. When Obama said “Elections matter” the left said “YEAH, THAT’S RIGHT! WE WON SO WE CAN DO WHAT WE WANT!” BUT when they lose? It is “Yeah, we lost but only because Russia, or the Supreme Court, or global warming on vote day, or we didn’t really want to win, or right wing conspiracy, or on and on and on” BUT they still think they are running things and if you doubt it they bring out their bots to riot and name call and bully and bully and bully (and we thought the left hated bullies??!) and try to turn our rule of law and constitution 180 degrees (because the left is proving over and over they think evil = good, lies = truth, facts=lies, allegations = guilt, guilt = racism and on and on).

  • tarry_on

    Or not having “Merry Christmas” printed on their coffee cup.

  • Guest

    A business has the right to dictate what not to wear. When delivering pizza, wearing a Cleveland Indians hat, a Confederate flag etc. may lose customers.

    So a business may require whatever they view as possibly controversial, to be put away when knocking on customer’s doors.

  • JonasGrumby

    He should have known better…

  • >>Hater is as hater does<<

    As they say, "Bigots gonna bigot."

    • 212944

      Nobody embraces the victim card as hard as a bigot or racist.

      Except, of course, those who easily marshal the bigotry and racism of others to fit their needs.

  • lindblomeagles

    Well, at least Trump probably talked to him. Remember, he might be the only person in the media that likes Trump, and that’s all Trump cares about.

  • The flag was not banned at UC Irvine

  • That’s a choice Louisiana can make for purchases by the state of Louisiana and it’s agents.

    It is, of course, clearly unconstitutional to deprive Louisianans from making their choice.