By Kent Larsen
LDS TV Weatherman's Political Speech Leads To Controversy
YAKIMA, WASHINGTON -- TV Weatherman Thom Spencer, who works for sister
stations KAPP in Yakima and KVEW in the Tri-Cities caused a stir on
Saturday, November 18th when he crossed the traditional line observed by
journalists and gave an impassioned speech because he believes the US
Constitution is "hanging by a thread." The controversy has led to his taking
"time off," in an arrangement friends say is a suspension.
Spencer is a veteran reporter, working at the two eastern Washington TV
stations for 17 years during which he worked as both an anchor and as a news
director. He has also been a mentor for other reporters, according to the
stations' General Manager Darrell Blue. Blue found out about the speech when
it appeared on the news broadcast of a rival station. On the news report,
Spencer was dressed in a jacket with the station logo on the pocket.
Blue says that Spencer crossed the traditional line which says that a
journalist should remain objective. "I don't disagree that he has a right as
an individual, but one of the things you learn when you become a reporter is
that you should report the news, not make the news. It destroys some of our
objectivity when we become part of the story."
But Spencer, who told reporters he wasn't free to talk about the
controversy, has told supporters that he broke the tradition because of
Joseph Smith's prophecy that the Constitution would one day "hang by a
thread" and that the elders of the Church would "step forth and save it."
But a lay leader in Spencer's LDS congregation, Brian Nelson, told the
Seattle Times that the Church hadn't taken the same position that he did,
"We encourage people to support the Constitution and be active in civic
affairs, but we don't give specifics."
Weatherman's politics cloud his role on TV
Seattle WA Times 24Nov00 P2
By Seattle Times staff