Atlanta’s Channel 2 Action News chief political analyst Bill Crane appears to have gotten confused on Sunday, thinking he was on CNN during an segment that would ultimately cost him his job.
Crane was commenting on Sen. Lindsey Graham’s supposed role in pressuring Georgia officials to change the results of the 2020 presidential election when he opted to mock former President Donald Trump by referring to his “looming orange face.”
“Labor Day is when undecided voters and nonaligned voters really start focusing on the election ahead and keeping Donald Trump and his fantasy of elections being stolen in November of 2020 in play, keeps Donald Trump and his looming orange face in front of voters at a time when they’re trying to decide how they’re going to vote,” Crane said.
The political analyst, who has reportedly called Trump “The Orange Man” on air before, shared the clip on his Facebook page telling followers, “You be the judge.”
A federal appeals court gave Graham a temporary stay Sunday on complying with a subpoena from an Atlanta grand jury, which is what prompted the South Carolina Republican to be in the news over the weekend.
WSB-TV Vice President and General Manger Ray Carter released a statement early Monday afternoon announcing Crane’s termination.
“During Sunday evening’s Channel 2 Action News at 6:00, Bill Crane, a frequent guest as an outside third-party political analyst, uttered remarks about former President Donald Trump that are not aligned with our commitment to fair and unbiased reporting and analysis. As a result, we’re ending our relationship with Mr. Crane, effective immediately,” the release said.
Crane releases an executive statement on Facebook both apologizing and standing by his assessment — go figure.
“I offered that it is part of Democratic Party strategy to keep President Trump’s fantasy of a stolen election in play, as well as to keep his orange face looming large to increase Democratic base voter turnout, as many voters begin to pay attention and make up their minds after Labor Day, even though Donald Trump is NOT on the ballot anywhere in 2022,” he wrote. “In politics and in life, I believe in civil discourse, and even with the best of people, you will on occasion disagree. The Orange Face comment was found to be extremely offensive by some WSB-TV viewers, calls followed to the switchboard, as well as social media posts, texts, and Emails.”
Admitting that he has called Trump “The Orange Man,” Crane acknowledged that “strong supporters of the former President find that offensive,” even though he always did so with a smile.
“I do apologize for that, as the comment last night and in other instances was not meant to offend,” he said.
“And in one of those instances of agreeing to disagree, station management felt that I had crossed a line, that the attack was personal (on President Trump), and that I had demonstrated bias, against Trump and the GOP, which was not recoverable…,” Crane added. “I stand by the assessment and analysis, though perhaps in my verbiage I certainly could have been a bit more PC. I would like to think part of the reason I have been able to do this for 22 years in a top 10 media market is that I call the hard balls and strikes on either side and attempt to do so with a bit of humor, sarcasm, the occasional pun, and with tongue in cheek.”
He closed out with this quip: “And for the Trump Nation folks who will relish this day, be careful about the grave dancing, we have had a great deal of rain, you might fall twist an ankle or worse… I wouldn’t want to be held responsible for that.”
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