WJLA-TV DC fires veteran anchor Doug McKelway

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Albritton’s WJLA-TV (ABC) has fired veteran anchorman Doug McKelway for a verbal confrontation this summer with the station’s news director that came after McKelway broadcast a sharply worded live report about congressional Democrats and President Obama, reports The Washington Post.


McKelway was placed on indefinite suspension in late July after his run-in with ABC7’s news director and GM, Bill Lord. In a letter to McKelway this week, the station said it was terminating his contract immediately, citing insubordination and misconduct.

Amid the ongoing BP oil spill in July, McKelway covered a Capitol Hill demonstration by environmental groups protesting the influence of oil-industry contributions to members of Congress.

In his piece, McKelway said the sparsely attended event attracted protesters “largely representing far-left environmental groups.” He went on to say the protest “may be a risky strategy because the one man who has more campaign contributions from BP than anybody else in history is now sitting in the Oval Office, President Barack Obama, who accepted $77,051 in campaign contributions from BP.”

After a brief taped segment updating efforts to cap the BP well, McKelway added that the Senate was unlikely to pass “cap-and-trade” legislation this year, because “the Democrats are looking at the potential for huge losses in Congress come the midterm elections. And the last thing they want to do is propose a huge escalation in your electric bill, your utility bill, before then.”

Lord took exception to McKelway’s reporting and asked to meet with him, according to several station sources who were granted anonymity to discuss the sensitive personnel matter. A shouting match between the two men ensued, leading to McKelway’s suspension, the paper said.

McKelway has alleged liberal favoritism in news reporting before; when he left his anchor chair at WRC after nine years to join WJLA in mid-2001, he blasted the station’s lack of “balance,” in a newspaper article.


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Carl has been with RBR-TVBR since 1997 and is currently Managing Director/Senior Editor. Residing in Northern Virginia, he covers the business of broadcasting, advertising, programming, new media and engineering. He’s also done a great deal of interviews for the company and handles our ever-growing stable of bylined columnists.