Larry Mendte, who has been working as a contributor for WPIX, is currently in Libya, covering U.S. congressman Curt Weldon’s discussions with Muammar Qaddafi and hoping to potentially land an interview.
Mendte, along with WPIX photographer John Frasse, recently traveled to Tripoli with Weldon, a Republican representative from Pennsylvania, and has provided exclusive coverage of the diplomatic engagement for the New York CW-affiliate.
“Today’s dawn could bring new hope for an end to the crisis in Libya,” Mendte said on Tuesday, reporting live from Tripoli, “that’s because in a strange twist to this saga, the leader Col. Muammar Qaddafi has reached out to an American he has dealt with in the past” (video above).
So how did this “strange twist,” as well as Mendte’s seemingly unlikely coverage of it, come about?
It turns out that the arrangement is the result of old relationships. As Mendte mentioned in his report, Weldon has dealt with the Qaddafi family in the past and was invited to Tripoli by the colonel’s son, Saif Al-Islam. When Weldon received the invitation, he contacted Mendte, who he became acquainted with during Mendte’s tenure at Philadelphia’s KYW.
Mendte has been filing reports for WPIX’s morning and evening newscasts and a spokesperson tells TVSpy that the station is ready to cut into regularly scheduled programming for breaking news. Mendte is expected to spend the next several days in Libya covering the discussions between Weldon and Qaddafi, and hopefully landing a discussion of his own.
The trip couldn’t come at a better time for Mendte, who has been working to rebuild his career while facing an ongoing legal battle with former KYW anchor Alycia Lane. While Qaddafi works to repair his diplomatic standing with the U.S. government, Mendte has been given a huge opportunity to restore his reputation as a journalist.