Two Maine news anchors called it quits and resigned on-air last night, reportedly over clashes and disputes with upper management.
The Bangor, Maine news anchors for local affiliate ABC Cindy Michaels and Tony Consiglio tendered their resignations together, live and on-air during the 6pm broadcast on Tuesday after what the local news source said was a bitter fight between the news anchors and upper management over ethical “journalistic practices” and a pressure to politicize news reports, which made the co-anchors uncomfortable.
The on-air resignations were shocking to co-workers on set and the viewers of the broadcast that night. Tensions between Michaels, Consiglio, and the station’s management were reportedly well known in the area, but the pair’s sudden and live resignation was unexpected right at the tail end of the 6pm news.
According to the Bangor Daily News, Consiglio said that his ethics as a journalist were compromised by the position at the station.
“I just wanted to know that I was doing the best job I could and was being honest and ethical as a journalist, and I thought there were times when I wasn’t able to do that.”
WVII/WFVX vice president and general manager Mike Palmer was probably the only person that wasn’t completely surprised by the on-air resignation, and added a minor sleight against the resigned:
“ … that was unfortunate, but not unexpected … We’ll hire experienced people to fill these positions sooner rather than later.”
Don’t let the door hit you on your way out, right?
Michaels, for her part, says that she and her colleague were tight-lipped about their resignations so that they could make sure they got the chance to say goodbye to their viewers.
“We figured if we had tendered our resignations off the air, we would not have been allowed to say goodbye to the community on the air and that was really important for us to do that.”
“There was a constant disrespecting and belittling of staff and we both felt there was a lack of knowledge from ownership and upper management in running a newsroom to the extent that I was not allowed to structure and direct them professionally … I couldn’t do everything I wanted to as a news director. There was a regular undoing of decisions.”
“It’s a culmination of ongoing occurrences that took place the last several years and basically involved upper management practices that we both strongly disagreed with … It’s a little complicated, but we were expected to do somewhat unbalanced news, politically, in general.”
Neither anchor explained in what direction they were expected to tilt the bias in their reporting. Still, all Michaels would say is that the decision she and colleague Consiglio made was not an easy one, as they both had a love for broadcasting.
Here’s video of the on-air resignation, via Mediaite: