"KTLA Morning News" anchor Frank Buckley chose not to sport an AIDS ribbon on today's show, got an email from a viewer about it, and decided to address the issue in his official station blog.
As most of you know by now, I'm pretty old-fashioned when it comes to the news. I think this is just one of those "Old Man Buckley" things for me. I'm not a big fan of news anchors telling you what to think or how they feel about news stories and I think some might perceive the wearing of a ribbon as taking a side. Look--it's no doubt a good side to be on--raising awareness about the effort to stop AIDS. But like most issues involving funding or research, there are other aspects to the story. For example, some have asked if AIDS research is getting its share of government dollars at the expense of research into other diseases. If I wear a red ribbon, am I saying I've weighed in on the side of AIDS research over some other equally worthy research? If I wear a red ribbon for World AIDS Day but then don't wear a pink one for breast cancer awareness or a green ribbon to call attention to leukemia, what am I saying? That I don't support their research as much as I support AIDS research?
At CNN (my previous employer), we were particularly sensitive about being neutral in all things....Our bosses went so far as to say we would be fired for saying "foreign" in a story (we would say "international) because CNN wanted to be seen as being neutral wherever we were in the world.
Bottom line--I wasn't trying to make a statement about World AIDS Day by not wearing a red ribbon--quite the opposite. I want to raise awareness, to report the stories, to make all of us think and consider and talk about the important issues of the day (including AIDS) without literally wearing them on my sleeve. Maybe I'm over-thinking this one and if I am, it won't be the first time in my life that someone tells me to lighten up about the news.
The Morning News show's blog itself has had nothing fresh since Sam Rubin's report from Auckland on Oct. 24.