WGN Chicago

December 6, 2016

You would do well to abide by the Charter on Journalistic Ethics

December 6, 2016

Lawrence J. Wert
President, Broadcast Media
Tribune Broadcasting Company
435 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1800
Chicago, IL 60611

Dear Mr. Wert,

I have lived in Chicago most of my life. I’m also a member of the Church of Scientology. So when I happened to hear the interview WGN’s Steve Cochran did with Leah Remini, I was shocked and outraged.

The specious allegations tossed out so casually—with no questions posed about their veracity or authenticity—show the host to be disingenuous at best when he claimed to have done his homework.

He admitted that he is “a fan” of Ms. Remini, but being a fan does not grant a license to throw truth out the window and to broadcast extremely offensive, judgmental and bigoted statements about a worldwide religion with millions of members and its leader.

If Mr. Cochran had indeed done his homework, as he asserted, he would have seen that Ms. Remini has a history of fomenting violence through her hate-filled rants, as when she inspired a woman to send her car crashing through the front doors of the Church of Scientology in Austin, Texas, narrowly missing two people. Thanks to a miracle in timing, her rampage came at a time when no toddlers were in the Church’s child-care center, or little children might have been injured or killed. The woman was arrested and criminally charged—but, of course, not mentioned on the WGN show.

I respect your station’s right to freedom of speech. But it is highly irresponsible to air false and inflammatory statements that can lead to violence. Sheer bigotry of any kind has no place in a free society.

You would do well to abide by the Charter on Journalistic Ethics in Relation to Respect for Religion or Belief, which you can find here: www.standleague.org/journalistic-ethics

Megan Rudeen
Salt Lake City, Utah

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