This is posted on Thursday, January 26, 2017 by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Ben Swann, the evening anchor on CBS46 who created a social media firestorm last week after reviving the “Pizzagate” story, has been off the air since late last week.
There has been no explanation for his absence on air. His co-anchor Sharon Reed has been solo anchoring at times. Sometimes, Tracye Hutchins joins in, as she did Wednesday night. Internally, staffers don’t even know what’s going on.
He does remain on the CBS46 website so he has not been fired.
Neither news director Frank Volpicella nor his boss and GM Mark Pimental have responded to requests for comment. A spokesman from Meredith Corp., which owns CBS46, has not returned email queries or phone call requests either.
It’s very possible the two sides are quietly negotiating an exit settlement agreement with Swann, who joined the station in mid-2015 and is clearly still under contract. And given that the story was cleared by his bosses, their futures are questionable as well.
Swann did one of his “Reality Checks” last Tuesday bringing back the frequently debunked story of a pizza place in D.C. linked to a Hillary Clinton senior aide that was supposedly running a child prostitution ring there. He noted that there is no clear evidence such a ring exists but threw out a lot of online speculation and innuendo, then wondered why the authorities had not done a thorough investigation.
Oddly, the story, which he claimed to have spent a month investigating, has zero Atlanta angles. Plus, he did not appear to have talked to anybody who might be connected to the story.
On Twitter, he has been relatively quiet. He has retweeted a couple of items since retweeting a supposed support Tweet from a spoof site that pretends to be a state representative.
One noted how popular he became after the Pizzagate controversy went viral:
The other is unrelated to Pizzagate:
He has not posted anything on Instagram since the brouhaha hit. Ditto on Facebook.
As the Daily Beast noted, he’s a bit of a conspiracy buff and his website Truth in Media is tied to a Republican PAC. Plus, he did some work for the Russian-government supported Russia Today before coming to Atlanta.