FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – KMJ radio talk show host Ray Appleton said Thursday on air that “certain news editors should be hanged.” Appleton admitted himself to having said that on a Facebook post in which he apologized “to those of you who were upset by that.”
It comes one day after a mob of violent supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol.
Fresno Bee Editor Joseph Kieta said he found out about what Appleton had said from their editorial page editor who was listening to Appleton and heard him say that. Kieta said he wanted to get a recording of what exactly was said on air by Appleton, but he added that the station won’t release it.
“After everything that happened yesterday, words matter,” Kieta said. “I read Ray’s apology. Obviously he says it was tongue and cheek and it’s something that wasn’t serious on his part, but I do think the rhetoric matters and in this case probably 99% of people who listen to him didn’t take him seriously but what about that 1% who did and that’s the part where it gets really scary.”
Photos of the events that unfolded at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday showed equipment destroyed by Trump supporters and even the words “Murder the Media” written across a door.
“Our job is to tell you what is happening, to be your eyes and ears, and to relay truthful information to you. And when you see stuff like ‘murder journalists’ on the Capitol doors and you hear rhetoric like we heard today, it just makes our jobs much more difficult to do,” Kieta said.
Appleton’s statement on Facebook reads in part: “I made a comment on the air today that has been taken a bit out of context especially as a standalone statement! I spent a good deal of time talking about how frustrated I was with the news media for not reporting things in a fair and consistent way you know not using the old level playing field routine. I made the statement that because of this ‘inconsistent way of reporting certain news editors should be hanged……….maybe.'”
Appleton goes on to say: “So let me make this perfectly clear. If you were of the persuasion that I meant that? Well, please relax and understand that is not my intent my wish or any reality that I live in. So I apologize profoundly to those of you who were upset by that.”
Fresno-based KMJ radio is owned by Cumulus Media, which is headquartered in Atlanta.