Monday, WFTV had former Chief Judge Belvin Perry, Jr. on set. Perry joined the station as its legal analyst in September. During a segment questioning the content of an ad against Amendment 2, the amendment calling for the legalization of marijuana, the Sentinel said Perry “ripped into” the ad.
The Sentinel’s TV critic Hal Boedeker pointed out WFTV didn’t tell viewers Perry works for the amendment’s biggest backer. Tuesday, the station apologized.
“The fact that he [Perry] works for Morgan & Morgan should have been disclosed, no question about that,” WFTV news director Matt Parcell told [Boedeker]. “It didn’t cross anyone’s mind. We looked at him as the judge.”
Perry is known widely as the former chief judge of Orange and Osceola counties. Parcell said his staffers didn’t remember that Perry works for Morgan & Morgan.
“We hired him for his brilliant legal mind,” Parcell said. “The Morgan connection is irrelevant to why I’d want him to be part of our team. But we have to remember it and acknowledge it.”
Sarah Bascom, spokesperson for the “No on 2” campaign told the Sentinel, “This is a shameful example of reckless journalism and the one-sided bias clearly promoted at WFTV,” She added, “So the moral of the story here is: If you want both sides of a story or responsible journalism, you better get your news from somewhere other than WFTV-Channel 9 in Orlando.”