Rantz: Notorious UW lecturer wages sexist bullying against local reporter

Aug 27, 2019, 5:54 AM | Updated: 8:17 am
UW Tacoma reporter harassed...
UW Tacoma. (KIRO 7)
(KIRO 7)

A lecturer at the University of Washington at Tacoma leveled a sexist smear against Q13 reporter Brandi Kruse. After she called out his conduct, many other area reporters shared their horror stories, including one who directly complained to his superiors.

Wayne Lynch was the news director at Northwest Cable News, which ended their broadcasts in 2017 due to, in part, dismal ratings. Now retired from the industry, Lynch is a lecturer at UW-Tacoma. But it’s only part time. So what does he do with the rest of his time? Bully reporters and anchors, apparently.

Kruse had just celebrated the second edition of her new weekend show, the Divide, which airs Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. on Q13. This past weekend, she featured me and political analyst C.R. Douglas discussing media bias against conservatives.

But before the episode aired, Lynch criticized the show on Facebook, leveling a sexist request that far too many female journalists hear: He told Kruse to smile more. He would eventually delete his critical comments on Facebook, but that’s when he blasted Kruse in a series of angry emails.

One email (with the subject line “I did waqtch yhou show”) read:

You said it was a ‘hard look’ at news…..yeah, so you interview an old buddy from KIRO radio and C.R, who, for years,  has been a fulltimer and contributor at your own station, AKA revolving door. Then you show us ‘behind the scenes’ at your own company__WOW!  How about going to the TIMES or the TNT or KOUW. How incestuous this was.. This was a handout show. .I am sure you will have excuses, but this content was not even close to a ‘hard look.’   How about inviting Kate Starbird from UW who has deeoly reasearched the fake news topi?. How about a true journalist, not a radio host at night when no one listens. Puhleeze. Weak.

I’m the “old buddy” Lynch describes, though he’s about three years removed from me leaving KIRO nights to KTTH primetime. This post and subsequent broadcast will reveal to him if anyone is exposed to my content, I suppose.

Lynch would go on, in another email, to tout his experience in news, deriding Kruse a “rookie” and “Miss Fragile.”

Kruse was understandably annoyed. On Twitter, she called out Wayne for spending “the better part of his Sunday incessantly attacking me via email, then calling me ‘thin skinned’ and ‘fragile’ when I dare defend myself.’

It wouldn’t end there.

Lynch, on Monday night, emailed Kruse an error riddled note seeming to threaten legal action: “Fine… You accelerated this. You are a vengeful. My my lawyer will be in touch. Thanks Brandi.”

It’s an angry trend

Apparently, Lynch has a history of critical ranting against local journalists. Indeed, he appears notorious for it.

Melissa Luck, News Director at KXLY, earned his ire after posting a head shot on her personal LinkedIn profile. Luck shared with me screenshots of the comments, which have since been deleted. On her page, Lynch wrote that “no one cares what news directors look like.” He suggested she not keep posting photos, as it’s “awkward and unnecessary.” When Luck asked him to stop insulting her, via a direct message, Lynch got defensive, claiming it was “constructive criticism” before calling her a “narcissist.”

Q13 anchor Travis Mayfield had a similar run-in, tweeting that Lynch “went after me viciously & relentlessly once for doing a Seahawks dance on-air. Basically said I was a sellout and a shill and it negated my 20 years of experience, credibility and journalism. He wouldn’t stop. I finally had to block him.” Lynch has since deleted his Tweet at Mayfield.

Reporter Don Day tweeted that he was on the receiving end of a “scathing diatribe” that left him “shaken.” Former KING 5 reporter Alex Rozier also came forward, via Twitter, complaining of similar interactions with Lynch. Others have privately told me about similar interactions, but wanted to keep them private for fear of getting back on his radar.

Lynch teaches college students?

It’s hard to tell if Lynch is just especially incompetent at giving what he thinks is constructive criticism to journalists he has no business critiquing or if he’s just a sad and angry former news director desperately trying to stay relevant in a media landscape that no longer has a place for him. Either way, his conduct is inappropriate and rude. And it begs the question: Is he the best person to teach at UW-Tacoma?

These many complaints signal a pattern of harassment and bullying, making his role as a part-time lecturer troubling to many, Kruse included.

“I think one of the things that’s most disappointing about this is that someone with decades of experience in news could offer invaluable advice to younger journalists, which I would welcome enthusiastically,” Kruse Tweeted.

UW-Tacoma was reportedly made aware of Lynch’s conduct, prior to the weekend controversy. KOMO TV news director Bill Dallman Tweeted that he contacted HR at the UW after he “was targeted for personal attacks.”

Lynch did not respond to multiple requests for comment. UW issued the following statement:

UW Tacoma opposes all forms of harassment, and would carefully investigate reports of harassment being perpetrated by an employee. University policy prohibits various forms of misconduct when they are directly related to an employee’s University affiliation, while at the same time there are First Amendment protections that apply to all Americans’ personal speech.

In regards to this specific individual, Wayne Lynch currently has an appointment letter to teach one course in the fall quarter at UW Tacoma. For employees in general, records related to complaints or discipline are considered confidential personnel records, and so releasing any such information about a specific employee would not be possible.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Rantz: Notorious UW lecturer wages sexist bullying against local reporter