Brenda Wood’s Commentary on Coke Ad Sparks Debate

By Merrill Knox 

wxia america the beautiful

WXIA anchor Brenda Wood’s commentary about the Coca-Cola Super Bowl ad has sparked controversy in the company’s hometown and beyond. On Monday, the Atlanta anchor discussed the commercial as part of her regular “Last Word” segment, calling the outrage over the ad — which features  “America the Beautiful” sung in seven different languages  — “outrageous itself.”

“The quote on the Statue of Liberty doesn’t say ‘Give me your English-speaking only, Christian-believing, heterosexual masses.’ It says, ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, Tempest-tossed,'” Wood said. “…What makes America different than everyone else is that we are a melting pot. We are not homogenous. It is our diversity that built this country. How dare there be indignation over the very thing that makes us great? And why not honor the beauty of that in song?”

The video of Wood’s commentary has been viewed more than 200,000 times and has elicited a strong response from viewers, with thousands of people posting opinions on WXIA’s Facebook page. Wood has been both praised for “speaking the truth” and panned as “another liberal, sensational journalist.” Several commenters have suggested newscasters “should report the NEWS and keep their opinions to themselves.”

In a follow-up commentary, Wood addressed the firestorm, saying she was “flabbergasted, amazed but also delighted” at the reaction and she has no plans to stop her commentary segments. Wood, who joined WXIA in 1997, delivers commentary daily on the 7 p.m. newscast.

“News commentary follows in the footsteps of journalists I admire, such as Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite. Those great journalists understood the power of ideas and the power of opinion to generate new ideas,” Wood said. “So it is in keeping with that tradition that we will continue to put opinion on the table. Not because my opinion is more important than yours, but because we want to spark constructive discussion and debate. That, my friends, is what America is all about.”

Watch both commentaries below: