James Bunner, a reporter for an NBC affiliate in Minnesota was fired Friday, one day after he was spotted wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat while covering a Trump rally for the local TV station.
Jim Bunner, a multimedia journalist with KTTC, was covering the political rally Thursday in Rochester, Minnesota, where he was spotted outside the Mayo Civic Center wearing a jacket with the station’s logo and a matching red MAGA hat.
His picture was taken by Mark Vancleave, a video journalist for Minnesota’s Star Tribune.
The next day, Bunner, who did not respond to requests for comment, was fired.
“He violated our policy so he’s no longer with us,” Noel Sederstrom, news director for KTTC, . “We don’t allow our people to wear campaign clothing while on assignment.”
Prohibiting reporters from wearing campaign clothing or pins, especially while on the job, is standard practice across the news industry. Many news outlets also recommend or warn their staff against making public political displays or statements in order to maintain objectivity. But on his social media accounts, Bunner was vocal about his political leanings. He once added an NRA banner to his profile picture. And in another post, he wrote, “You watch CNN to oogle Brooke, Kate, Erin, Brianna, Sunlen, and Poppy. Not for journalistic integrity.”
On the day of President Trump’s inauguration, he uploaded a picture of himself dancing in a newsroom in apparent celebration.
Sederstrom, however, said Bunner was fired for his decision to wear the hat during Thursday’s rally, not because of the views he expressed on his social media pages.
“It’s not something we allow,” he said about the campaign gear.
According to his online KTTC profile, which was removed Friday, Bunner joined KTTC in December 2017 and was based in the station’s Austin bureau.