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A longtime local TV news commentator in Atlanta is unemployed after disparaging former President Donald Trump on a live broadcast.
Bill Crane was fired by WSB-TV management after referring to Trump as “orange face” during a Sunday broadcast, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The station’s general manager, Ray Carter, released a statement announcing Crane’s termination following the remark made during Sunday’s Channel 2 Action News broadcast. Carter said that Crane “uttered remarks not aligned with our commitment for fair and unbiased reporting and analysis. As a result, we’re ending our relationship with Mr. Crane, effective immediately.
“We value the trust we’ve fostered for decades with our viewers, and we continue working hard to earn and maintain that trust,” Carter’s statement continued.
According to the AJC, Crane had been with WSB-TV since 2006.
Below is the segment in question (Crane’s comment comes around the 1:00 minute mark):
— Lori Hamilton (@wyndovelh) August 23, 2022
For his part, Crane released a statement on social media explaining his side of the story.
He noted that he was responding to a question about the Fulton County District Attorney’s investigation of Trump’s alleged efforts to overturn electoral results from the 2020 election in Georgia.
“I offered that it is part of Democratic Party strategy to keep President Trump’s fantasy of a stolen election in play, as well as to keep his orange face looming large as a Bogeyman to increase Democratic voter turnout, even though Donald Trump is NOT on the ballot anywhere in 2022,” Crane noted.
“The Orange Face comment was found to be extremely offensive by some WSB-TV viewers. Calls followed to the switchboard, as well as social media posts, texts and emails,” the political commentator continued.
Crane went on to say that he has referred to Trump several times in print and broadcast before as “The Orange Man.”
“I’m sure that strong supporters of the former president find that offensive,” he wrote. “And I do apologize for that, as the comment last night and other instances were not meant to offend.”
The fired commentator noted further that management at the station informed him that he had “crossed a line” during Sunday’s broadcast and that his remark “demonstrated bias against Trump and the GOP, which was not recoverable.”
Notably, Crane did not apologize for his Democratic analysis but did say that “perhaps in my verbiage I certainly could have been a bit more PC.
“I would like to think part of the reason I have been able to do this for 22 years in a top 10 media market is that I call the hard balls and strikes on either side, and attempt to do so with a bit of humor, sarcasm, the occasional pun and tongue in cheek,” he continued.
“I have worked in senior staff positions on both sides of the aisle and consider many of those folks, Democrats and Republicans, as friends and mentors… The ego is bruised, and I am a bit down…but not out,” Crane added.
Before taking a job at WSB-TV and WSB radio, Crane provided political analysis for 11Alive from 2000 to 2006.
Regarding the Fulton County DA’s investigation, several notable figures in the former president’s orbit have been subpoenaed to provide testimony to a grand jury looking into potential illegal election interference.
Last month, a state judge in New York ordered former presidential attorney Rudy Giuliani to provide testimony after he attempted to buck his subpoena.
The order came after Giuliani, who served as Trump’s personal lawyer in the latter part of the former president’s term, refused to appear at a July 13 hearing before the New York judge to challenge a subpoena that sought his testimony in the probe.
“There is evidence that [Giuliani’s] appearance and testimony at the hearing was part of a multi-state, coordinated plan by the Trump Campaign to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere,” the subpoena noted.
In addition to Giuliani, the grand jury has also issued subpoenas to other members of Trump’s legal team.
A Fulton County judge also ordered Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to provide testimony to the same grand jury, but a federal appeals court agreed to block the subpoena on Sunday.