Meteorologist Forced to Cover Up on Air

There are a bevy of things that confuse and confound me as I watch the video of KTLA meteorologist Liberte Chan being handed a cardigan to cover up a non-revealing dress while on air, but first lets run through the details.

Mrs. Chan has worked at KTLA since getting her journalism degree from the University of Massachusetts in 2003, but it wasn’t until 2015 she received her meteorology certificate, so this is a new stretch of her career. As you can see in the video below Mrs. Chan was informed by an off-screen hand, later identified as co-anchor Chris Burrous, that there was a need for her to cover up the dress she was wearing with a cardigan, because “we’re getting a lot of emails”:

There are so many levels to this that I hate I almost don’t know where to start. So I’ll begin with this, has local TV news become so desperate for any attention, any viral branding, that they are willing to sell their silly souls on air?

Forget the dress, I don’t think two out of 100 people would find it offensive and needing cover-up, but if the determination was made that there was a cover-up ahead… why do it on air? Why not have Mrs. Chan put on the cardigan off set and prior to her next segment?

The answer is as obvious as it is pathetic; local TV stations don’t want to be known for their credibility, authority or ambitious news reporting, instead they want to get viral attention for being cute, quirky or sharing an awkwardly-forced, hypothetically “funny” moment on air.

This type of action doesn’t humanize their movement, bringing them closer to the couch next to you, it’s a short-lived, ill-conceived undermining of their reliability and soundness.

Let’s take this further – how many emails could they possibly have received complaining about this dress? I’ve worked in major markets, I’m guessing they got 2-3…maybe as high at 5. Did this scream “opportunity” to them? Did the executive in charge that day see this as a chance to make a internet sensation out of their station? Are they getting pats on the back for their overreaction and possible body shaming of their meteorologist?

I have to wonder if Mr. Burrous took this into his own hands as a power play to take charge of this silly little girls dress, or thought he was being cute, flirty and playful, or just didn’t have a clue how ridiculous this whole thing would look. His dangling of the dress like a feather drifting in front of a cat to gain it’s attention was the biggest gut punch of them all. To say it was a patronizing move doesn’t give it the breadth it deserves.

Mind you, this is the same station that sent Mrs. Chan on assignment to the beach in the Bahamas dressed in a bikini, capitalizing on her sexuality because it suited them in that moment. And now, in a response to the easily offended trolls, they cover her up for bearing shoulders and sparkles?

I’m not naive enough to think that this wasn’t planned – KTLA wanted the attention they’ve got – but to me that is a sad indication of how far broadcast journalism has fallen. I for one wish Mrs. Chan would have responded with a, “No thanks, I’m not cold and this isn’t Saudi Arabia” and got back to the weather.

lierte chan forced to cover up on air

 

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About Brian Clapp

Brian Clapp has worked in the broadcast media for over 14 years as a writer, editor, producer & news director. After beginning his career in Atlanta at CNN/Sports Illustrated, he switched coasts to Seattle to work at Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, Brian began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and then taking on the role of Director of Content for WorkinSports.com & WorkinEntertainment.com.

Recently Brian has become addicted to Google+ and LinkedIn so add him to your circles and make him a contact. No seriously, you should.

Comments

  1. Okay first of all I suppose you’re mostly right, this is more evidence (as if we didn’t have enough already) that broadcast journalism is suffering an identity crisis of Trumpian proportions.

    But wait a second Mr. Clapp, I think you’ve missed a crucial point here: Ms. Chan is in on the hoax. Indeed, just as Ms. Chan willingly donned a bikini to sell her sexuality for the sake of viral branding, so she donned the dress and then the cardigan to do the same. Clearly she played along so what’s the point of blaming Mr. Burrous or anyone else?

    Broadcast journalism is suffering an identity crisis, and has been for some time. And you’re blogging for an Entertainment site, correct? Not a Journalism site. Hmmm. Maybe you’re in on this whole viral branding game too, eh?

    • We use the term Entertainment as a catch all for jobs in the TV, Radio, Music and Film industries – it isn’t entertainment tonight. You know all too well Hank that I write career advice based on my years in journalism, not viral branding attempts. This isn’t some false outrage attempt at page clicks, I’m quite literally upset that this is where my medium of choice has fallen to.

      Maybe you are right, maybe Ms. Chan was in on the gag – if so add that to my list of complaints about our industry and the way they handle their on air business… but I wasn’t about to start victim shaming when that would be a full born assumption. Let’s say she wasn’t in on the gag and she only tried to match the awkwardness with some graciousness, maybe that’s a stretch but I wasn’t going to make her the focus of the article on a loose assumption she was in on it. But I’ll say it now… if she was shame on her. As for the bikini clad reporting, I wish she had the strength to say “no, that’s not what I want to be known for” but sadly, that is exactly the type of thing our news people want to be known for nowadays. Thanks as always for your response Hank – Brian (p.s. As Stephen King says – never use adverbs in your writing – your opening sentence would have been better without “mostly” 😉

      • Good stuff, and thanks for the tip. I guess you can tell I’m an aspiring writer. Don’t worry about softening your blows, I think what Stephen King actually said was:

        “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”

        And cardigans.

  2. Ro Banks says:

    For one claiming 14 years as a ” writer/editor,” you ought to be done with run-on sentences and misspelled words. Really. Your credibility is shot. Learn correct grammar and sentence structure before you rant a judgement about what another journalist has determined is appropriate.

    The dress was inappropriate.

    • Its actually closer to 20 years – I should update my bio. If you think that dress was inappropriate, we will never agree on anything so I won’t bother trying. Thanks for reading Rob! -Brian

  3. I’m not a journalist. Aside from this being done as a ploy to gain brownie points it’s discouraging to women that we still do not receive the respect we should get. If shd had said no thank you to the sweater I could see her being called in and being told she was being insubordinate or some other charge or even being reassigned to other work. I’ve worked in the corporate and legal field all my life and to me it was just another sign of manipulation.

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  1. […] month or so ago we shared a video of KTLA weather person Liberte Chan being handed a shawl to cover up on air because her outfit was “too revealing” according to emailers into […]

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