BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - Today is a first for me. Actually, two reasons. First, I usually don't give credence to unsigned letters or comments with "caller ID blocked."
Cowards really shouldn't be given airtime, in my opinion, and you never know the source, so if a complaint is lodged against an individual or an organization, you just never know the whole story. Second – I'm using a prop today.
This is the letter I received. Now – being clear, I respect anyone who cares enough to write. But – it speaks volumes of a person's character to send one like this, un-signed. It's the same old stuff – full of statements they heard from other sources, all piled together in one e-mail. And if you think it is only about KBTX and our staff, our apologies to those who sell used cars for a living – which, by the way, I'm driving one now. The letter says:
"On 4/2 (April 2nd), ten o'clock news reported China put tariffs on 1200 products. Correct number is 120. Don't you check data for being correct? This is why people don't trust news media-fake news. News media is just one step above used car salesmen. Any news person should have known 1200 may be wrong."
At least we rank right above the accused used car salesman. So – I checked with KBTX newsroom leadership, Josh Gorbutt and Michael Oder to do a little research on it. This story came from a CBS News story in what we call the "C-block" of the 10:00 news that night with the exact script:
"INVESTORS WERE ALSO REACTING TO CHINA'S DECISION TO IMPOSE TARIFFS ON SOME 12-HUNDRED U-S COMMODITIES."
A quick search showed that the US put out a list of roughly 1200 items on which tariffs would be targeted – items from China. China responded by listing about 130-items on which that country would place tariffs. To be honest – I have no clue how this could have been prevented, except now that the alleged discrepancy has been called to our attention, we'll follow-up with CBS – as we have before. Otherwise, I wouldn't have even know to say, "now, it this number accurate?" Especially since the US put out a list with 1200. That number sounds reasonable to me if you think of how many products of all kinds there could be. We just don't have a lot of tariff experts on staff here. I guess my issue is with people who really think these types of scripts are intentionally aired – and I'm not saying the story is right or wrong. Let's get that straight. Someone wrote in, we checked it out, and while this person is correct with the eventual 120 number – actually no, it is 130, why the attack?
In the local news of the day – THAT day – did you find any inaccuracies? Here's a promise from me. As humans, you may find mistakes from time to time on-line or on-air, but we work to correct them quickly. By the way, should your son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, niece or nephew ever work here at KBTX, I'll promise you this. Never will I attack them with words like this. That isn't our culture. Doesn't make for a very good teaching moment. We'll have a very – different – approach.
In the words of Taylor Swift, "why you gotta be so mean?" As always, our doors are open for you to say this to our staff, attend the editorial meetings at 9:30 or 2pm. We're good with that. But like there was an unsigned letter, I'll bet my used car this person won't show up. It was on nice stationary, however. Writing letters is such a lost art. So is kindness.
Be in touch anytime, your opinion – no matter what – it matters to KBTX News 3.