There's a messy media controversy brewing in Lawton.
On Monday morning – while desperately thinking for ways to keep viewers entertained between commercials – Lawton's KSWO 7 ran a brain teaser game called "Mind Mixer." It's a gimmicky segment where someone in the studio tries to stump their co-anchors and viewers at home with a riddle or puzzle drawn on a whiteboard.
Here's what Meteorologist Mandy Bailey – the Emily Sutton of Oklahoma's armpit – came up with in the year 2019, an overly sensitive time that's defined by outrage and overreaction.
For the easily stumped – or those who are thrown off by the well-known symbol of racism hanging from the T – the answer is "Hang In There." Get it. Noose. Hang. There. Mind mixed, huh?
Naturally, the "mind mixer" got the attention of those who instantly associate any reference to a noose, regardless of context or intent, with bigotry and racism. This, of course, is thanks to thousands and thousands of lynchings that have terrorized black Americans throughout this country's history, and the continued use of the noose as a symbol of hate by white supremacists.
I guess a few viewers complained to KSWO about the mind mixer mix up, and by 9pm last night, the station's management issued the following statement on Facebook:
Yep, they fired Mandy for the "offensive and unacceptable" image. This sent the Lawton community into an outrage that hasn't been seen since KSWO fired David Bradley about a year ago.
They quickly rallied to Mandy's defense, creating a "Boycott KSWO" Facebook group, flooding the station with angry comments, and calling for Mandy to get her job back.
Here's a sampling:
Things got so bad that even the local Farmers Insurance agent threatened to pull all his advertising!
Yep, Mandy needs their support. My advice would be for her to hang in there. Maybe Gateway Pundit will open a weather forecasting department. I'm sure they'd love to have her.
Anyway, I have conflicting feelings about this whole thing....
Although I can't stand political correctness and doubt there was any ill intent on Mandy's part, she has to accept some responsibility for the gaffe. In today's day and age, you can't be that tone-deaf and oblivious to the world and still expect to work in mainstream broadcast news. That whole field is developing a zero tolerance policy to anything that might even slightly resemble racism, regardless of context or intent. Just ask that weatherman from Philly about it.
That being said, it does feel like KSWO overreacted a bit. Granted, maybe Mandy was already on thin ice or perhaps there's something going on behind the scenes that we don't know about. But did she really deserve to lose her job? Wouldn't an on-air apology have sufficed? You know, something like...
"On yesterday's Mind Mixer segment, we inadvertently showed a puzzle that upset many viewers. We apologize for this mistake, and regret it happened. Now let's go to Mike with this morning's Hangman Puzzle, brought to you by our friend Robert Brown with Farmers Insurance."