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Appalling Behavior from ‘North Dakota Today’ Anchor

“Again, the white man keeping the brown man down.”

Hard to believe, but these words were heard far and wide from a Fargo news anchor in a segment of KVLY’s morning show “North Dakota Today” on Jan. 16.

Chris Berg, the fool behind the desk at “North Dakota Today,” went on to say that the Oscar nominations are “a big uproar” because “all the actors that were nominated obviously were all Caucasians. Everyone is upset. Al Sharpton’s out there stomping on the floor, going ‘Hey, what’s the dealio?’, and, uh, I don’t know … I just think…”

During the brief, incredibly uncomfortable exchange with fellow host Andrea Larson, Berg seemed to be pulling for laughs or observational humor, but his words have viewers spinning.

Jezebel, especially. The women’s interest blog ripped a scathing review of Berg’s behavior in the broadcast, even sending some sympathy Larson’s way for being the unsuspecting victim next to the man spouting offensive, offhand nonsense.

The Oscars segment began with Larson and Berg making an awkward transition into discussing the awards when Berg blurts, “I trust, you do not want me to go down this path about this whole conversation. Again, the white man keeping the brown man down.”

Larson pauses, staring wide-eyed at Berg in a silence that leaves you twisting in your seat. Berg laughs impishly, then goes into the next part of his spiel about the Oscar nominations.

It’s appalling behavior from a morning news anchor. An offhand, totally inappropriate statement that had nothing to do with the news at hand, the upcoming Academy Awards.

Berg should face actions for his speech, repercussions for being so unfiltered in his personal thoughts on what has been perceived as a snub to black film artists in this year’s Oscar nominations.

His laughter about it all is despicable as well. Here he is, guffawing over what he sees as racism in award nominations, with his co-anchor hanging on for dear life with a deer-in-the-headlights look.

With that, kudos to Andrea Larson for grabbing the spinning wheel of the ship, and charting a course for rescue. Following Berg’s remarks, she jumped in with a segue into Oscar news about a short documentary about North Dakota’s oil boom.

Could she have done it sooner? Yes, quite definitely. But she interjected rightly nonethless, saving a segment that only got more disastrous as Berg kept talking.

So what happens to Berg now? Some sanctions, hopefully.

He can apologize on the air for his unacceptable remarks or by a message via KVLY’s website and social media. He can think before he speaks off-script, and at the very least follow his teleprompter.

Without question, Berg should be held accountable for his words and damage they have done to his and the station’s reputation with such curt, offhanded remarks to an unsuspecting audience.

I hope KVLY deals justly with Berg for his unscripted words or, at the very least, broadcasts an apology from the horse’s mouth about what a horse’s ass he was on live television.

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