Larry Conners,the KMOV anchor who said on facebook the IRS targeted him after an interview with President Obama last year, is off the air until further notice.
“He’s not suspended. We just all thought it made sense (for him) to take a few days off,” Sean McLaughlin, news director for the St. Louis CBS affiliate, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We take this very seriously, and we don’t expect this to drag on. We’re still looking into the situation and weighing our options.”
>UPDATE: Conners’ attorney told TVSpy in a statement, “As the attorney for Larry Conners, I am constrained to advise you that he is barred by corporate from making statements, posting on Facebook, or participating in interviews on the IRS issue. That is the only reason for his silence.”
We reported Wednesday, Conners backpedaled on his allegation of increased scrutiny by the IRS, telling viewers, “… to be fair, I should disclose that my issues with the IRS preceded that interview by several years.”
Mike Valentine vice president of content for KMOV’s owners, Belo Corp., told BuzzFeed, “As a news anchor, he owes a duty to our viewers to report in an unbiased manner. His Facebook post and his Twitter posts, as a result, were inappropriate. And we don’t condone personal posts that jeopardize the journalistic nature of our business. It’s really that simple.”
In his statement Wednesday, Conners added, “As a journalist I understand the importance of keeping personal matters separate from my professional work — sometimes you have to do that retain your independence as a newsman. Those lines might have been unintentionally crossed yesterday by my [Facebook] post.”
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Conners and his wife owe more than $85,000 in small business and self-employment taxes.