Garth Kant, WND, December 6, 2016
It’s difficult to imagine a more clear-cut a case of media bias.
One reporter at a television station said on the air, “Ted Cruz is like the dark lord from Star Wars,” and, “I think he’s the Antichrist.”
Another reporter at the same television station stated in a private Facebook post that she was “happy and relieved” the morning after Donald Trump won the presidential election.
The reporter who privately made the conservative comment was fired.
The reporter who publicly made the liberal comment still has his job.
“I worked my way up,” the stunning and erudite young journalist told WND. “I didn’t start off as the noon anchor. I started as an evening news reporter then started anchoring.”
But her star abruptly came crashing back to earth when she became the story instead of the reporter. Suddenly, she was making national headlines for having been fired a week after posting her comments on a private Facebook page.
After the Houston Chronicle obtained and published a screenshot of the post, Fakhar was called on the carpet by her bosses, forced to issue an apology that they wrote for her, then fired.
“I was fired for my political beliefs,” Fakhar bluntly told WND.
“Reporters at my station are allowed to espouse their liberal views on-air and on their public work pages, but I’m not allowed to write my conservative views on my personal page for friends. There is without a doubt a double standard,” she stated plainly but emphatically.
It is in a Feb. 5, 2016, clip of that show, that Carey quipped then-presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, “is like the dark lord from Star Wars, and, “I think he’s the anti-Christ.”
“Carey is extremely close with D’Artagnan Bebel, the general manager,” she noted.
Notably, Bebel appeared to have no problem making a politically charged Facebook post of his own, ridiculing Republicans as well as Fox News.
WND contacted Bebel for a response to this article but did not receive a reply.
“I have a private Facebook page, and I have friends from college that are doing the exact same thing as me across the country. I was happy. I wanted to post a comment about my happiness over the election.”
She told WND there was no fallout whatsoever until the Houston Chronicle published a screenshot of her comment, along with a headline that claimed she was “under fire for (a) pro-Trump Facebook post.”
Fakhar said she was “under fire” from no one expect a liberal blogger cited in the article, who may have brought the post to the paper’s attention.
“There was nothing in that post that I’m ashamed of repeating or showing everyone,” she told WND.
But, less than a day later, “My boss called me into the office and said that the Houston Chronicle had a screenshot of my post, had published it, and now it’s a huge deal.”
Her bosses forced her to write an apology.
“But I didn’t write that apology,” she said. “They wrote it for me. They copy and pasted it to my Facebook page. And that’s how that apology originated.”
But Fakhar had second thoughts almost immediately.
“I took down the apology before they fired me. I sent them an email letting them know I had taken it down and they didn’t have a problem with it.”
“They wrote that and gave that to me. That’s important to know,” Fakhar explained.
She described how the station called her in a panic, early in the morning, waking her up and telling her, “We need you here, now.”
“I went in, and they immediately had me meet with my general manager, the head of HR, my news director, and they were all telling me, ‘You need to write this apology immediately. Then we’ll talk about everything else.’”
Did she feel railroaded?
After that, she said her bosses kept her in the office for about a week, having her just write stories for newscasts, produce some of the news and also write stories for other anchors.
“At the end of that week, HR called me into the office and said they were terminating my contract based on the fact that I had breached their social media policy in the employee handbook.”
Fakhar said there was nothing in her contract that said employees could not post opinions on their personal social media pages, but there was an employee handbook that prohibited posting anything that hurt the station.
“So they decided to fire me. And now I am sitting here without a job because I supported Donald Trump in a post on my private Facebook page. And now I’m just kind of stuck in this position.”
Asked how her colleagues reacted, Fakhar said one friend offered support, but others shunned her.
Did she think her reporting was unbiased?
“Yes. 100 percent. Anyone can look up any of the stories I have ever done. I have always been unbiased.”
Given that her colleagues had made posts expressing liberal views without negative consequences, WND asked if she has considered taking legal action against the station?
“Well, it’s not at the top of my list, that’s what I’ve been telling my friends and family. I just want to get a job. I love what I do. And, I believe right now, more than ever, there is a need for a voice like mine in media somewhere.”
What did she mean by a voice like hers?
“I think the truth is needed in our media these days,” Fakhar explained.
“I’ve been in local news for four years now, and I can say without a doubt that the majority of people who are in local news are liberal. And they have liberal agendas.”
She continued, “There have been many instances where I have had to step up and say, ‘Look, you have a whole block here on Hillary Clinton, and you haven’t even mentioned Donald Trump.’”
“Or when we did cover Donald Trump, it was all negative,” Fakhar observed. “We didn’t even mention WikiLeaks in one of our newscasts. The day that it came out, they didn’t have anything on WikiLeaks in the newscast until I brought it to their attention. And even when they did, it was less than 20 seconds at the end of the block, after eight minutes of negative Donald Trump reaction.”
She reflected, “There have been times when I’ve had to speak up and say, ‘Look, we’ve got to be even here, you know.’”
“So, a voice like mine means someone who will pursue the truth,” said the young journalist who has learned a lesson that will last, no doubt, throughout her career.