Social media lit up Wednesday night with complaints from viewers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and across the country that WFAA-TV (Channel 8) deliberately cut off the opening monologue of Jimmy Kimmel Live! because of the political comments he made about the Uvalde shooting that killed 21 people.
Kimmel himself addressed the matter on Twitter early Thursday: “To my friends in Dallas asking: I don’t know if our @ABCNetwork affiliate @WFAA cut my monologue intentionally or inadvertently, but I’ll find out. In the meantime, here’s what you didn’t get to see.
Kimmel then dropped the station, tweeting around 10 a.m. Thursday that he accepted the WFAA’s explanation for how it all happened – but not before a storm hit the networks social.
To my friends in Dallas who ask: I don’t know if our @ABCNetwork affiliate @wfaa cut from my monologue tonight, intentionally or inadvertently, but I’ll find out. In the meantime, here’s what you didn’t get to see https://t.co/tqfHoBHMwN
—Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) May 26, 2022
Channel 8 responded to Kimmel’s puzzled initial tweet with a flurry of feedback in the pre-dawn hours, issuing statements such as this:
“The WFAA has extended its Wednesday newscast to 10 p.m. for extensive coverage of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Jimmy Kimmel Live! aired immediately after our newscast. Unfortunately, the automated system that triggers the commercials played the first commercial break by mistake, interrupting Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue. The same technical error also impacted two commercial breaks later in the program, not just the one that interrupted the monologue. The WFAA apologizes for this error.
The station further added, “Here’s the link to Jimmy Kimmel’s powerful full monologue on the Uvalde shooting and his thoughts on gun control.”
Our apologies for the technical difficulties last night. A full explanation of the technical issues and your full monologue can be found here: https://t.co/wuYVwPHHcU
— WFAA (@wfaa) May 26, 2022
Brad Ramsey, president and CEO of WFAA, and senior vice president of TEGNA, the Virginia-based station’s parent company, then weighed in on the growing furor – at 3 a.m. Thursday, drawing attention to the explanations Channel 8 previous releases.
To anyone watching when Jimmy’s monologue was cut short, we apologize, and you can find Jimmy’s technical explanation and full monologue here: https://t.co/yiOvTxtBYB
—Brad Ramsey (@bradramsey) May 26, 2022
Carolyn Mungo, Vice-Chairman and Station Manager of Channel 8, responded to our interview request shortly before midday, writing in an email: “We stand by our statement.”
She then noted that at 10:05 a.m. Dallas time, Kimmel updated her stance, posting on Twitter, “I got to know the staff at @wfaa personally and professionally for nearly 20 years and I believe this mistake was made inadvertently. Thanks for reposting and fixing this error. Sending love to all my friends in Texas.
On the contrary, the flap on Channel 8 interrupting the monologue – no matter how or why it happened – underscored the country’s deepening division on gun control and gun rights. And besides, the political differences between the red and blue states.
He also showed, graphically, how social media can electrify a problem in seconds – and at the strangest of times.
The WFAA wasted no time in weathering the brewing storm, tweeting quickly in the pre-dawn hours, posting an update minutes later and another after that – all before sunrise. Sun. By the start of Thursday’s workday, the story had gone viral, with news outlets across the country reporting on it.
Some viewers remained skeptical even after the station’s initial explanations.
Retired journalist TR Sullivan was among those who took to Twitter to wonder aloud, “What’s going on with @WFAA tonight?” Anyone else wondering what’s going on with Channel 8 and Jimmy Kimmel’s show? »
Does anyone know what’s going on with @wfaa tonight? Anyone else wondering what’s going on with Channel 8 and Jimmy Kimmel’s show?
— TR Sullivan (@Sullivan_Ranger) May 26, 2022
What interrupted the airing of the Kimmel show on Channel 8 was not a national advertisement, but rather an advertisement for Channel 8 News. Ross Feinstein, identified on Twitter as a “strategic communications professional”, is among those who have taken particular notice.
Bigad Shaban, identified on Twitter as a “senior investigative reporter” for @NBCBayArea, noted on Twitter that “Dallas TV station WFAA interrupted Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue last night in which he urged the “cowardly” Republican lawmakers to pass gun reforms. Otherwise, Kimmel said, Texans should vote for them. The WFAA denied any form of censorship, calling it a technical error.
1/ Dallas TV station WFAA cut Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue last night in which he urged “cowardly” Republican lawmakers to pass gun reforms. Otherwise, Kimmel said, Texans should vote them out.
The WFAA denied any form of censorship, calling it a “technical error”. pic.twitter.com/tVaXhehZJ5
— Bigad Shaban (@BigadShaban) May 26, 2022
Shaban works in the San Francisco Bay Area, whose basketball team the Golden State Warriors face the Dallas Mavericks in downtown San Francisco tonight in Game 5 of the NBA Finals Western Conference.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr made national news following the Uvalde shooting on Tuesday, not by discussing basketball at a press conference before Game 4 in Dallas, but by pleading with passion, even in tears, for the nation to do something, anything, about Gun Violence.
In its newscast later that night, Channel 8 twice aired parts of Kerr’s speech, but did not include comments he made in which he sharply criticized Senator Mitch McConnell and other Republican leaders for blocking Democratic efforts to pass bills to enforce some form of gun control, however mild.
It should be noted, however, that Channel 8 was the broadcasting home for 38 years of sports commentator Dale Hansen, who recently retired. While at the station, Hansen made national news airing outspokenly liberal political commentary on gay rights, domestic violence and, yes, even the need for gun control.
His comment on gay soccer player Michael Sam went wildly viral, landing him a guest spot on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and profiles in The New York Times and The Washington Post.
But in a profile published in The Dallas Morning News in 2020, Hansen said the worst reaction he had ever provoked with an on-air commentary on Channel 8 came, he said, when he spoke out passionately in the name of controlling the fire arms. Death threats soon followed.
When Kimmel took the stage in the opening moments of the show airing Wednesday night, he said he chose to address the camera — and the nation — for a few minutes, without the studio audience present. .
“Here we are,” he said, “another day of mourning in this country. Once again, we cry” – he cried at this point – “for the little boys and little girls…” He trailed off before continuing. “Whose lives were killed and whose families were destroyed.”
Moments later, he added, “You can tell when things are out of whack when the Golden State Warriors coach shows more leadership and passion than almost any Republican in Congress.”
He singled out Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. John Cornyn — all Republicans — saying, “If your solution to child slaughter is armed guards, you haven’t paid attention to what’s going on. happens.
In particular, he criticized Cruz for “intervening to comfort the people he serves – the [National Rifle Association]. Ted is due to speak at an NRA event [in Houston] This weekend.”
Moments later, he added, “Here’s what I’d like to say to Ted Cruz and Governor Abbott and everyone: It’s okay to admit you made a mistake,” which Kimmel defined like “kill the kids in your state.” Do I think these people are brave people? No I do not have. But man, I would love for them to surprise me.
Holding back tears, Kimmel continued. “How does that make sense to anyone? They are our children! And our representatives are supposed to represent us.
At that time, Channel 8 abruptly cut an advertisement for its news service. “In a world full of movement,” the ad began, “we are the constant.”