When a carload of fake news hecklers recently shut down a news live shot, Lyle Schulze, the general manager of WIS had seen enough and called police. “It’s getting almost to the point of violence. We remind our reporters that you’re a visible target. It is a little scary.” The incident encouraged the station to sound off.
When President Trump showed up for a rally in Columbia, S.C., in late June to stump for the state’s Republican governor ahead of a GOP primary, Lyle Schulze, general manager of WIS-TV, Raycom’s NBC affiliate there, said the crowd heckled the media mercilessly.
“The national network reporters were here and they were taking abuse like you wouldn’t believe. It’s getting almost to the point of violence at these rallies.”
Schulze said he contemplated doing a pro-press editorial then, but thought it would be too self-serving because even though most of the station’s viewers support Trump, “they love us.”
South Carolina is a very highly Republican state, says Schulze, and “there’s a very large contingent of pro-Trump supporters here.”
In spite of the love, Schulze says he’s been getting threats over a political ad that’s been running on WIS and other media, an ad calling for the impeachment of President Trump.
“Who are you to allow that to run on your station, we know what you’re all about, we’re going to come and shut you down,” said a caller, who also told Schulze that “he had 4,000 ready to protest in front of our station to shut us down.”
Then On Tuesday, August 14, when a carload of hecklers showed up on the scene of an early morning WIS news live shot, Schulze decided the time was right to speak up.
“They starting yelling fake news, WIS F-U, F-U WIS, you’re fake news. We had to call the police. It’s a real deal even for local TV stations now.”
Schulze said the news crew shut down, got in their vehicle and “got the hell out of there.”
That incident spurred the station to create a pro-press editorial that began airing in multiple newscasts across the station on Tuesday, August 21.
It provided the station “an opportunity to sound off about who we are and what we stand for,” said Schulze.
The news story was about fiscal irregularities on the part of board members of a co-op electric company that prompted 1,500 angry customers to vote them out at an election.
“We got great soundbites from the audience in that particular meeting that was supportive of the media, so we decided to turn it into an editorial promoting the free press and television station’s factual news coverage.”
“I appreciate the media being here,” said one man on camera, “to stand up for what’s right,” said a woman standing next to him.
The editorial got lots of positive feedback.
Few, if any, would put your station in the category of media disseminating ‘fake news’. NBC, however, manipulates their content to mislead in some of their reporting. That is not a matter of opinion….verifiable facts do not lie. The days of a Walter Cronkite or Edward R. Murrow, whose overall demeanor provided no clue to their personal politics, is sadly a relic of the past. Thanks for your station’s integrity. — Jay
I always agree with your commentaries and even told my wife this evening after seeing your commentary on the news media being a public service. I told my wife that I wish we had men or women like you willing to run for president with common sense. I agree with the comment about the “fake media.” I am a conservative Republican that did not vote for Trump and begged fellow conservatives not to vote for him. His presidency is the scariest I have experienced in my 59 years on this earth. For whatever it’s worth, that’s, “My Take.” Thank you sir. — Kevin
Good message on how WIS-TV and the State helped with removing the Tri County Directors. How about sending the message on up to NBC & MSNBC. Perhaps it will improve accuracy and reduce the Fake News at the National level. — Don
Schulze said: “With this editorial we took advantage to stand on our principals, and I’m pleased to see the people responding like they have.”
Which makes Schulze wary.
“Once a week we remind our reporters that you’re a visible target. It is a little scary, they’ve admitted that.”
NOTE: My Take is an editorial the station airs weekly. Schulze says this one was “one of the most ‘responded to’ editorials we have ever done here.”