GLAAD: Tyler station to pull anti-gay segment; Joel Burns will appear on newscasts Friday

KETK, the NBC affiliate in Tyler, has agreed to remove from its website a segment that aired Wednesday morning in which the station asked viewers whether acceptance of homosexuality will be the downfall of America, according to GLAAD. KETK has also agreed to have openly gay Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns appear on its newscasts on Friday, GLAAD said. However, the KTBB 92.1 FM radio host who was apparently behind the segment, Garth Meier, has yet to take responsibility for it.

From GLAAD:

In response to GLAAD’s outreach and community outcry, here’s what KETK plans to do:

–For starters, at GLAAD’s request, KETK has removed from their Web site the eight-minute piece that ran yesterday – the re-airing of the KTBB segment and accompanying video.

–GLAAD pitched Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns to do an interview with the station.  Burns, who has garnered significant media attention and praise for his advocacy against anti-LGBT bullying, will appear on KETK newscasts tomorrow to discuss why potentially harmful questions like Maier’s should not be asked – and certainly not broadcast over public airwaves – in the first place.  (Please note that this blog will be updated as more time-specific information becomes available about when you can see Joel on KETK.)

–In addition to Joel appearing on KETK, General Manager Dave Tillery has also responded to our request that he appear on-camera to speak on behalf of the station.  Dave realizes how important it is that the station acknowledge in front of their viewers what they’ve acknowledged to GLAAD over the phone – that a segment like Wednesday’s has no place on the airwaves of a reputable news organization.  Furthermore, Dave plans to acknowledge the potential harm that could be caused by Wednesday’s report and will commit, on behalf of the station, to being more careful in the future.

–Lastly, KETK is rethinking how they will repackage KTBB Talkback content for future newscasts.  KETK General Manager Dave Tillery shared with GLAAD that he will be meeting tomorrow with Paul Gleiser, KTBB’s owner/general manager.

GLAAD appreciates KETK’s response to our outreach.  We applaud their willingness to learn from their mistakes.  We look forward to watching tomorrow’s follow-up and to recognizing the station’s improvement in days to come.

UPDATE: The president of KTBB 92.1 FM has issued an apology of sorts:

The Talkback question that aired on KTBB Radio and was simulcast on KETK NBC 56 television in Tyler on Wednesday, October 27 was unfortunate in its wording and unfortunate in the perception that it created among a large number of thoughtful individuals. The question, “Will the acceptance of homosexuality lead to the fall of America?” is poorly worded at best and inappropriate altogether at worst. For that, we apologize.

There are many issues surrounding homosexuality that are fair game for discussion in the media and in opinion journalism. The proper role, if any, for openly gay individuals in the military, the legitimacy of same-sex marriages and the public behavior by some individuals at gay and lesbian events held outdoors in public view are among topics about which reasonable people may disagree. These and other topics surrounding homosexuality are topics that talk radio hosts and opinion journalists may legitimately pose to their respective audiences.

With that said, the way our Talkback question was posed might be seen as asking, “Do homosexuals, by their very existence, threaten to bring down America?” We believe that such a question, posed in such a manner, is likely to generate more heat than light.

I understand how those who either heard, or heard about, KTBB’s Talkback question on Wednesday might have been offended. For the offense that was taken, we sincerely apologize.

Paul L. Gleiser, President
KTBB Radio


—  John Wright