Tag Archives: kthv.

KARK answers question: Is Brett Cummins story censored?

In today’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Linda Caillouet wrote:

LITTLE ROCK — When news broke of the death of Dexter Williams over the Labor Day weekend at a Maumelle home visited by then-KARK meteorologist Brett Cummins, most local news media reported details from the police report.

This newspaper, KATV and KTHV reported that police said the body of Williams, a guest with Cummins at Christopher Barbour’s home, was found in a bathroom hot tub with no water Monday morning. Williams was wearing a silver chain “consistent” with a dog collar, the police report said. Police said Barbour found Cummins, 33, asleep in the tub next to the body.

Stories by KTHV and this newspaper said Barbour told police that Cummins and Williams arrived Sunday night and, the police report said, “they then began to drink and use illegal narcotics.”

No charges were filed and no foul play is suspected, but the investigation is ongoing.

How did KARK report it?

“Maumelle Police are investigating a holiday weekend death. It happened early Monday morning at a home at 16 Village Way.

“Police say 24-year-old Dexter Williams was found dead in a hot tub. Police are investigating whether drugs and alcohol played a role.

As of right now, no criminal charges have been filed.

“Our Meteorologist Brett Cummins was at the home at the time of the death and we felt we should share this with our viewers.

“Brett will not be on the air as he is mourning the loss of his friend.

Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of Dexter Williams.”

Quite a different picture than that painted elsewhere, leaving viewers to wonder what was happening before Williams’ death. A holiday barbecue, football-watching party, family reunion?

“Why the sketchy report?” I asked KARK news director Rob Heverling.

“I’m very limited in what I can say. As far as Brett is concerned, this is a personnel matter. We must follow our companyNexstar’s policy,” he said.

“But we felt like it was important to, at the very least, acknowledge that Brett is an employee of ours. It is a story. We know it is a story. And it was important for us to at least cover the story.”

“But did you cover the story?” I asked Heverling.

“Because of our policy, this is all we can say,” he replied after a long pause.

“That is the only way I can answer that question.”

On Friday, Cummins’ attorney told The Associated Press that his client resigned from KARK. Contact Linda Caillouet at (501) 399-3636 or at lcaillouet @arkansasonline.com.