Bob Hite Apologizes On Air; Issue of DUI Coverage Rises Again
Here's a clip of Bob Hite addressing his DUI arrest in the 11 p.m. broadcast Wednesday night. It was an echo of the apology Thomas Lake wrote about in his well-crafted story for Thursday's paper following up on the initial news of the anchor's trouble.
As some posters have pointed out, WFLA isn't the only local station or media outlet to have staffers who have made similar mistakes. Rival WFTS-Ch. 28 is without general manager Bill Carey because of his actions during an alleged drunk driving incident -- Carey has been suspended, likely until the legal issues are resolved.
WTSP-Ch. 10 anchor Reginald Roundtree faced DUI charges in 2006, though he denied driving drunk and eventually pleaded no contest to reckless driving. Tampa Tribune executive editor Janet Coats, former Times TV Critic Chase Squires and former Times Tampa entertainment writer Rick Gershman also have all been arrested for the same crime.
As I noted back when Coats was arrested, there are plenty of media professionals who feel news outlets shouldn't bother covering DUI arrests of local celebrities; here's a blog post from a Texas TV newsman chewing over the issue when an anchor in his community was arrested. Few have lost their jobs over such arrests, through the public shame of the media coverage is always significant.