On Tuesday, we told you about a Pittsburgh TV station that a ran a chyron identifying Tom Brady as “known cheater” rather than “New England Patriots quarterback.”
Well, the guy responsible (producer Michael Telek) has been fired.
“While fans are entitled to have personal opinions, we have a journalistic responsibility to provide unbiased reporting,” KDKA-TV said in a statement to Sports Illustrated. “The graphic that appeared Monday violated our news standards. The individual who created the graphic no longer works for KDKA-TV.”
But wait, there’s more.
Telek took to Twitter on Wednesday to reveal that one of his friends, Connor Trushel, started a GoFundMe page to support his unemployed pal. Apparently, Telek recently purchased a house, so his firing couldn’t have come at a worse time. Telek claims he’ll donate the money to a charity in Brady’s name once he lands a job.
While Telek didn’t go after Brady or KDKA-TV in his tweet, Trushel was a bit more aggressive.
Here are some of the highlights from the GoFundMe page:
“As Pittsburghers, the hatred for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots organization runs deep within all of us. It’s common knowledge that this ‘dynasty’ has been cheating its way into record books for the past two decades. However, This is not why I am here. As you all know that organization is a bunch of cheats.
” … Just days before the graphic aired, KDKA ran coverage of a 10 year-old-boy who won his science fair competition by ‘proving’ that Tom Brady is a known cheater (Great work Kid!). Why is this no problem but a graphic labeling him as the cheater he is such a problem? Tom Brady was suspended 4 games for violating the rules of the game, aka cheating. You have Deflategate, Spygate, and I’m sure many other unknown violations orchestrated by the Patriots organization.
” … My point is, Michael is a great guy. He is smart, hard-working, and would go out of his way to help anyone. He has just bought a house and with no job and bills to pay, he needs some help till he is back on his feet.”
Now, we’re not going to pile on Telek. It sounds like he’s in a tough spot, and regardless of how you feel about what he did, he is a human being whose life just got much more difficult.
But he deserved to lose his job.
Local news stations are not like FOX News, CNN, MSNBC or any of the major cable news networks. There is no place for any bias, no matter how innocent its origins or humorous its intentions.
Put aside your “#FakeNews” shtick (if you have one) and think about what you see when you watch local news. Are there times when stations slip up? Of course, but a vast majority of the time, the news is fair, direct, informative and rather vanilla — as news is supposed to be.
Running a graphic labeling Brady a “known cheater” is way, way too biased. What if you turned on your favorite local news station and saw them run a graphic calling your state governor a “bozo” or “nincompoop?” Sure, you might laugh, but you’d also probably think, “Well, I’m not really sure this station is giving me a straight shot anymore.”
Sorry, Michael: You brought this on yourself.
Thumbnail photo via Adam Hagy/USA TODAY Sports Images