Before I report this, I just want to mention this item was posted on Chicagoland Radio and Media on Monday night and yours truly pondered whether or not to post this story, since it was hearsay at the time and this blog can't post gossip items which may or may not turn out not to be true, since a written story or audio link wasn't available (plus, this place could get sued and I have no money...)
Well, it turned out to be true - confirmed on Mancow & Cassidy's show Tuesday morning on WLS-AM and now posted on Phil Rosenthal's Tower Ticker blog. And so, here we go:
WMAQ-TV 10 p.m. anchor Warner Saunders confronted former Chicago Sun-Times media reporter Robert Feder at an AFTRA meeting Monday night, accusing him of bias against African-Americans reporters and anchors in his columns.
In a prepared speech, Saunders compared Feder to Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and made a refrence to a Jewish circumcision.
Feder appeared on Mancow & Cassidy on WLS-AM Tuesday morning, and denied that he wrote about anybody on the basis of race.
Feder has written columns criticizing former WBBM-TV Diann Burns, current WBBM-AM personality Felicia Middlebrooks, and former WFLD-TV reporter Tamron Hall, all African-American. The former two he criticized for their stance during their contract negotiations with their respective stations.
Saunders, who plans to retire in May after 40 years at WMAQ, told the Tribune he has no apologizes for what he said to Feder, adding: “I simply wanted to confront him, face to face, I just spoke ‘my truth’ in front of a person who I felt has been unfair to me and to black journalists in this city. ... Very few people who are not in our skin can understand this.”
Thought: Deep breath, here... Get ready, this isn't going to pretty.
This is what I posted on Chicagoland Radio and Media, where the story broke, at 9:02 p.m. Tuesday evening:
Wow, so many responses I didn't know where to post...
As an African-American, I am totally disgusted and saddened by this. I read Feder for over two decades and he's always come off to me as a fair man. Sure, I disagreed with on him over a few things, but still, I respected his opinion. In fact, his column is one of the reasons I follow this business.
Saunders should be ashamed of himself. This is an insult to everyone who have fought for civil and equal rights in this country and to minorities who broke into the business over the years. For him to play the race card is totally disgusting. He's a total dick, and nothing more than a male Tyra Banks, who hasn't met a racial stereotype she'd like to exploit on "Top Model".
But I'm not surprised. Chicago media is nothing more than a total freakshow, and you wonder why our media outlets are often a nationwide laughingstock. The media scene is no different than the reality TV garbage that airs on some of these stations. It's no wonder a lot of people has given up on local news. Nothing but crime, accidents, and nonsense. It's junk.
I'm surprised Channel 5 is second in the ratings at 10 p.m., given NBC is in fourth place and much of its prime-time lineup is total crap, from "Heroes" to "Momma's Boys".
And no, NBC isn't going to get rid of Saunders. If they can keep a cokehead like prime-time chief Ben Silverman and "Heroes" dipshit Tim Kring around, what makes anyone think Saunders is going anywhere until he retires? Plus, keep in mind Saunders only got the anchor job after Ron Magers quit after the Springer debacle, which was another boneheaded move by the Nothing But Crap network.
Warner Saunders is irrelevant to a younger generation of African-Americans such as myself, who don't even bother tuning in to the garbage served up on the local news every night. I've never seen him at a Bud Billiken Parade, or community event, or anything. If he's looking for defenders against Feder, don't even bother looking here. Screw him. What a sellout.
Sorry for the long rant, but thanks for reading.
And to that I'd like to add...
Wow, I did not think there would be someone more disgusting than Jay Mariotti on the Chicago media scene. Boy, was I wrong. After what he said, Warner Saunders is a total disgrace to Chicago journalism - even more so than Mariotti.
And for all of you ready to hang me or label me as an "Uncle Tom" for saying this - go right ahead. From the day I started this blog, I said everyone is fair game - white, black, Latino, whatever. If you've read this blog over the last two-and-a half years, I have ripped on Tyra Banks and America's Next Top Model, Steve Harvey, and a sitcom titled The Game - not to mention Jim Belushi, conservative watchdog group PTC, and Kevin Martin of the FCC. If I can't rip my own race in the media on this blog for producing inferior and mediocre material, what's the point in even writing it?
Just because I'm African-American, Do I have to like every African-American celebrity or journalist? Maybe you should ask yourselves that before you blast me in the comments section (just keep it clean.)
We as African-Americans should challenge people like Tyler Perry and the rest of Hollywood into producing better material. Instead of classy fare like Roc, Frank's Place, and Soul Food, we get crap like Flavor of Love, Baldwin Hills, and Keyshia Cole's stupid reality show - not to mention racy hip-hop music videos - many of them who degenerate women and depicts them as "ho's" (where's Saunders' stance on those issues?) I've attended plays at ETA Creative Arts here on the South Side (where I took playwriting classes) and the material presented there is far better than anything Tyler Perry has produced. Television and radio programming featuring African-Americans has become nothing more than around-the-clock buffoon fests filled with racial stereotypes.
Challenging our own is a better strategy than attacking some TV critic who criticizes an overpaid news anchor who happens to be black.
Yeah, Mr. Saunders, do you really think Feder is worst than rappers Flavor Flav, 50 Cent (a great role model for kids right here), or Young Buck - who stabbed someone during a hip-hop awards show? You can take you community activism and... well, you know.
When the race card is played, we all lose. Everyone knows Chicago's race relations are poor, and not even Obama's election has changed that. It's sad that some people who work in the media industry choose to divide this city rather than unite it (perhaps because there's no profit in unifying anybody?)
Warner's comments are an total embarrassment to me, my race, media fanboys and fangirls everywhere, and to all of Chicago.
From his reprehensible antics to the way NATPE is being run into the ground, from Tim Kring calling fans of his show "dipshits", to Clear Channel's massive firings and the way they showed WNUA-FM personality Rick O'Dell the door, I have never been so disgusted with the media business the way I am now. And I've followed this business for 24 years.
When Barack Obama became the first African-American President, I was hoping for change. Turns out, the first thing that needs to change is the media business in Chicago. There is nowhere else in the country you can find such a freak show element (except maybe Philadelphia and Detroit.)
It looks like that's not going to happen.
Man, I can't wait to return to playwriting...