PUBLISHED: 18:09 EST, 17 May 2013 | UPDATED: 02:57 EST, 18 May 2013
A popular news anchor in Missouri has found himself in the middle of the IRS scandal that is engulfing the Obama White House.
Larry Conners, a longtime anchor with St. Louis’s KMOV-TV, penned a Facebook post suggesting the IRS was targeting him and his family following an interview with President Barack Obama in 2012.
The much-read post has elicited a bevy of controversy and has resulted with the anchor to be effectively ‘off the air‘ until further notice.
Following Tuesday’s 5:00 PM broadcast, anchor Larry Conners offered an explanation of sorts about his Facebook post the previous day regarding the IRS
The Facebook post (which as of the publication of this article is still intact) from Conners details the events that followed an interview he conducted with Obama in April of 2012.
‘I don’t accept “conspiracy theories”, but I do know that almost immediately after the interview, the IRS started hammering me. At the time, I dismissed the “co-incidence”, but now, I have concerns.’
According to Conners in his Facebook post he claims that the Obama staffers reacted negatively towards his interview, in fact, ‘they went cold.’
‘I questioned President Obama on several topics: the [Buffett] Rule, his public remarks about the Supreme Court before the ruling on the Affordable Care Act. I also asked why he wasn’t doing more to help Sen. Claire McCaskill who at that time was expected to lose. The Obama interview caught fire and got wide-spread attention because I questioned his spending.’
Indeed the interview, which aired in St. Louis in April 2012 in two segments did show Conners grilling the President, then up for reelection, quite hard.
When Connors asked Obama if he was ‘out of touch’ (in relation to his family’s vacations and other pursuits) Obama appeared quite dismissive.
‘I think most folks understand how hard I work and the administration works on behalf of the American people.’
In April of 2012 Conners conducted a one-one-one interview with President Obama that asked tough questions about the administration’s spending habits
Promoting the one-on-one interview which occurred at the White House to KMOV, Conners acknowledged the President side-stepped his ‘out-of-touch’ question.
Another major component of that interview was Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat running for Senate reelection in Missouri, who at the time in spring of 2012 appeared quite vulnerable.
Conners told the audience that McCaskill had asked for support from the President during her reelection bid but had received ‘no response.’
During the interview Obama did affirm his campaign’s commitment to McCaskill but did not offer any concrete ways he was planning to campaign in Missouri.
McCaskill would go on to reclaim her Senate seat in large part because of her opponent Todd Akin’s controversial remarks about pregnancy resulting from a rape.
Conners had been with KMOV since 1986; he was recently replaced in the 10:00 PM evening broadcast
On Tuesday Conners closed the early evening broadcast of KMOV with a direct statement to viewers regarding his Facebook post on Monday night about the incident with the IRS and the Facebook post discussing it.
‘At first I need to state those were my personal views not those of KMOV,’ he began.
Conners continued by saying, ‘My issues with the IRS preceded that interview by several years. As a journalist I understand the importance of keeping personal matters separate from my professional work sometimes you have to do that to retain your independence as a news man.’
There has not been a definitive return-date for Conners from his employer.
News Director Sean McLaughlin on Thursday confirmed that, ‘[Conner’s] not suspended, we just all thought it made sense [for him] to take a few days off.’
Tax records with St. Louis county indicate that Conners and his wife had received a federal tax lien last year
County records from St. Louis, as detailed by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, do show that Conners and his wife Janet received a federal tax lien of $85,000 in ‘small business/self employed taxes.’
The IRS filings show that Conners and his wife have owed back the money since 2008.
The Belo Corporation, which owns KMOV, released a statement through the Vice President of Content Michael Valentine. ‘We don’t condone personal posts that jeopardize the journalistic nature of our business. It’s really that simple.’
Conners has been with KMOV since 1986 and had been a co-anchor of their 6:00 PM broadcast. In April he was replaced by Steve Savard for the 10:00 PM broadcast.
The Facebook post that sparked all this controversy has been ‘liked’ over 1,500 times and been shared over 1,800 times. There are currently over 500 comments
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