Spoke to a person close to the entire matter at hand and this individual told me that the entire affair was a "perfect storm" of unintended consequences. In other words, an internal "joke" that wasn't meant to get anywhere near the studio, let alone the anchor desk.
"I don't think (the person) who sent it could ever imagine that it would have made air, " said the KTVU insider.
That person who sent the joke e-mail; a longtime source that the station has relied on in the past as a trusted informant, is now at the heart of the investigation. It's looking pretty simple from here: the fake, joke e-mail that wasn't meant for anyone other than in-house laughter found its way, remarkably to the air, and thus, cost four people their jobs. It's abhorrent and indefensible and it's probably played out in almost every newsroom in America. How many joke e-mails have you and your co-workers in the office laughed at a matter that would never be intended for outside viewing? Only, this internal joke got through the fortress. No excuses, indeed, but it sheds light on matter. Was it racist and offensive? Did it cross the line? Yes and Yes. Ultimately, and I still can't fathom this: IT MADE IT PAST PEOPLE WHO SHOULD KNOW BETTER. End of story.
**Keep it here for any late-breaking developments.
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