As many of you know I have, in the past, had pretty good relationship with Fargo TV station Valley News Live. In addition to partnering on some public polling during last year’s elections, I’m also been a regular guest on Chris Berg’s 6:30 Point of View program and even a guest host. I’ve always enjoyed these segments – Chris Berg is a great guy to work with and puts on a great show – but as of today it appears as though I’ve been banned from that station’s airwaves.
I have a regular segment with Berg on Mondays, but this afternoon Berg called me and said that “something came up” and that in the future they’d contact me when they want me on. I literally got the “don’t call us we’ll call you” statement.
I’m pretty sure, though Berg wouldn’t confirm, that this is because I was critical of a Valley News Live story last week. Their story claimed that Lt. Governor Drew Wrigley was dodging the media after confessing to an extramarital affair. I pointed out in a follow-up to the story that VNL had actually been offered a phone interview, which they declined, and that they failed to show up at two subsequent public appearances by Wrigley.
It’s a little hard to claim that a public official is dodging the media when the media in question a) only showed up to one event and b) declined an offered interview.
Plus, this isn’t the first time Valley News Live has banned me from their broadcasts. Back in October of last year I wrote another post critical of a Valley News Live story, this time about a military veteran who was allegedly being evicted because of a comfort animal. Left out of the story was the fact that the veteran was also a registered sex offender for violating Minnesota’s criminal sexual conduct statute, something I felt was pertinent.
After I published that post – in which I quoted news director Ike Walker, as I did with the Wrigley story – Berg was told to keep me off his program for a while. After a hiatus of a couple of months I was reinstated. I had thought about ending my relationship with them permanently after that incident, but I decided to keep my powder dry so that I could continue working with Berg.
But enough is enough.
I’m not sure if Valley News Live plans to let me participate in Berg’s show again, but at this point I’m really not interested in associating myself with their organization any more. I like to work with people who, in addition to dishing it out, can also take it.
The one thing I have always prided myself on is my independence. I do not want to put myself in a position where I feel like I have to self censor in order to maintain a relationship.
This is not a criticism of Berg, I should add. I know that when I was banished in October it was not his call. This time around he wouldn’t speak to the motivation for ending my regular segment, but I’m positive knowing Berg as a good friend and principled colleague that this wasn’t his call.