Baton Rouge Reporter Says He Was Fired For Asking David Vitter If He Still Hires Prostitutes
September 10, 2015

Here's everything you need to know about why our fourth estate is so broken in the United States. Reporter Says He Was Fired For Asking If Sen. Vitter Still Hires Prostitutes:

A reporter for a Baton Rouge, Louisiana TV station said he was fired Tuesday for asking Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) whether he still hires prostitutes.

Derek Myers told The Advocate newspaper that WVLA fired him because the Vitter's gubernatorial campaign threatened to pull its advertising from the news station after he asked the senator the question. Vitter admitted in 2007 to being a client of the infamous "D.C. Madam."

Myers later explained to Gawker that a coworker, whom he did not identify, told him that he or she overheard WVLA's news director and vice president of news saying that the station's general manager should apologize to Vitter's gubernatorial campaign for Myers' line of questioning. Myers told Gawker the coworker then overheard the top brass allegedly discussing a call that came in from someone on Vitter's campaign about ad spending.

Jim Baronet, WVLA's general manager, told The Advocate that no one from the Vitter campaign contacted the news station about ads and added that company policy prevented him from discussing the reasons for Myers' dismissal. A spokesman for Vitter's gubernatorial campaign, Luke Bolar, similarly told the newspaper that no one from his office contacted WVLA about ads.

The Advocate noted that Myers joined WVLA just three weeks ago after a stint at a Florida TV station. The reporter confronted Vitter about his past prostitution scandal in the parking lot after the senator signed paperwork to qualify for the governor's race, according to the newspaper.

Myers asked Vitter whether he still patronizes prostitutes, according to The Advocate, and added: "Sen. Vitter, don’t you think the people deserve answers?”

Here's more from The Advocate:

Bolar acknowledged calling Myers to raise questions about what happened in the parking lot. Bolar said he asked Myers whether he had coordinated his questions with a political opponent. Myers said he asked his own questions.

Bolar also said he had heard that Myers had pushed one of the Vitter volunteers who were attempting to shield the senator from the reporter. Myers said he did not push anybody.

Myers offered to put Bolar in touch with Myers’ boss after Bolar said he wanted to see video of the confrontation, but Bolar said in an interview that he did not follow up on the offer.

Myers arrived in Baton Rouge three weeks ago after working for the ABC news affiliate in Ocala, Florida. Originally from Ohio, Myers said he takes pride in his aggressive style. His Twitter account says he is nicknamed “bulldog” in the newsroom.

“I’m a hard-hitting journalist who likes sharing people’s stories,” Myers said in the interview.

The four major gubernatorial candidates all qualified on Tuesday and then took questions from reporters for several minutes afterward.

Myers asked Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne how long he had been acting governor this year given Gov. Bobby Jindal’s frequent absences.

Myers asked Vitter about complaints that he has been holding field hearings for his Senate committee in Louisiana to boost his gubernatorial campaign.

In the parking lot afterward, Myers scurried after Vitter to ask whether he was still frequenting prostitutes and also asked, “Sen. Vitter, don’t you think the people deserve answers?”

Myers was reluctant to discuss what happened on the record but felt that his hand was forced after the state Democratic Party spokesman, Beau Tidwell, posted a Tweet on Wednesday morning saying he understood that a reporter had lost his job and asked who it might be.

Myers said he called Tidwell to confirm that it was him.

Myers thought the Democratic Party was preparing a statement Wednesday to report on what happened, but Tidwell said the party had no plans to do so.

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