What does Sara Lomax, CEO of WURD, say about the Lawful-Sanders incident?

Sara M. Lomax, president and CEO of Philadelphia radio station WURD, took to the radio station Monday to explain a solemn ethical blunder by former host Andrea Lawful-Sanders.

Lomax too accused President Joe Biden’s campaign of “moving quickly” and said the Democratic Party must mobilize to prevent another Donald Trump presidency.

Lomax’s appearance on air came after the Lawful-Sanders scandal he said on CNN that the Biden campaign sent her eight predetermined questions ahead of the audio interview, and she chose four of them, essentially creating a script for Biden to follow and violating journalistic standards in the process.

The comment resonated widely online, as many people asked questions about Biden’s ability to fulfill the public duties of the presidency in lithe of his destitute performance in the June 27 debate with Trump.

Biden’s campaign has defended the practice, with spokeswoman Lauren Hitt saying that sharing “topics they would prefer” is common practice and that the campaign does not condition interviews with questions. However, the campaign will no longer offer “suggested questions” following the backlash, according to a source familiar with Biden’s actions.

In an Instagram post Monday, Lawful-Sanders wrote that she worked with Biden’s team on topics to discuss before the interview and that they “respected my notes, question edits, and ability to change, add, or ignore suggested questions.”

” READ MORE: Andrea Lawful-Sanders Leaves WURD After Biden Campaign Asks Joe Biden Interview Questions

Lomax announced on Sunday that Lawful-Sanders and Philadelphia station that focuses on issues important to the black community has parted ways. Lomax spoke more about the incident to WURD Monday morning. Here’s what you need to know.

Andrea Lawful-Sanders resigned. She wasn’t fired.

In an online post on Sunday, Lomax said: “Ms Lawful-Sanders and WURD Radio have mutually agreed to part ways, effective immediately.”

“Andrea has resigned,” Lomax said on air Monday, explaining misinterpretations of the statement. “Of her own free will. She was not fired. She chose to resign and we accepted her resignation.”

Lawful-Sanders he also said on Instagram that she gave up this weekend and, on Monday, she said she had no journalism experience before taking on the role.

“I am not a journalist,” she said. “I used to be a radio host. But I am a black woman in America every day. And for that reason, and that reason alone, I will rise to the occasion to serve and advocate for my community with honesty, transparency and a pure heart.”

Lomax also appreciated Lawful-Sanders’ work at the station since she became host in 2019.

“She truly put her heart and soul into her work at WURD and touched the lives of thousands of people every day. I want to take this opportunity to recognize and appreciate her contributions to the station,” the general manager said.

Sara M. Lomax said Biden campaign ‘took the easy way out’

According to Lomax, all interviews involving the White House must go through the network’s CEO, Ashanti Martin. But Biden’s team “intentionally bypassed” and “jumped” the network’s system by going directly to the host, Lomax said.

“The timing is so hectic in these situations,” Lomax said. “I think there was just chaos around the interview, so it’s really important to understand that the Biden White House and the campaign were trying to do this quickly, to eliminate and go beyond established, understood protocol, and that’s what I think created a lot of confusion.”

Lomax and Martin did not know about the interview until White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre announced it publicly, Lomax said.

The network has already built a strong working relationship with the Biden administration, Lomax said, since it aired a daylong live broadcast featuring administration members in February.

“There’s nothing bigger than an interview with the president of the United States,” Lomax said. “It’s really too much for one person to try and, like, handle all of that complexity. … It’s an opportunity for WURD to change some of its approaches and tighten up some of our policies and procedures.”

Lomax said the Democratic Party is in ‘chaos’ and needs black voters

Lomax said the Biden campaign saw a need to focus on black media after the “disastrous debate” because black Philadelphians are crucial to Biden’s victory. But she criticized the Democratic Party for being “absolutely nervous and just in disarray” in trying to mount a credible campaign.

“My position is I don’t care if it’s Biden or some newbie, but they have to be on the same page,” Lomax said. “… the way they’re operating is absolutely frantic. It’s absolute chaos and it’s an absolute disaster for black America and black Philadelphia.”

She said another Trump presidency is “very, very possible if Democrats don’t get their act together” and warned of further damage to affirmative action, DEI and reproductive rights.

” READ MORE: Why Donald Trump Chose North Philadelphia for His First Rally in the City

Why asking scenario-based questions was a problem

Asking pre-planned questions is generally unacceptable because it deprives the media of its function of holding those in power to account and undermines audience trust.

While it is standard for campaigns or organizations to propose talking points or discuss with reporters issues they might be asked about, reporters should not feel compelled to ask these questions.

While Lomax accused the campaign of disrupting their workflow, she did not accuse them of conditioning the interview on those questions, saying on air, “I don’t know if that was a condition or anything, I’m sure it wasn’t.”

Solomon Jones, the host of the Monday morning show who writes a regular column for The Inquirer, said that while the campaign may suggest topics, “from a journalistic standpoint, we don’t follow a script provided by a public official.

“And I think it’s important for our listeners to know that’s not what we do,” he said. “Because that was an accusation. … We don’t do that.”

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