It must’ve been a long weekend for the Newsplex trolls at WHDH/Boston, what with so much history to erase, you know? Word leaked out Friday in a breaking news post on boston.com that the longtime main anchor at Channel 7, who’d anchored the news Wednesday night, had met with station owner Ed Ansin Thursday and “mutually agreed” to leave, effective immediately. “While I certainly was a little stunned, I understood it very well,” Price told the Boston Herald. “When you own the station you have the right to do things the way you want to do them and I respect that.” Since then, Ansin’s publicly described Price as a “friend” who’s “retired,” while Price has firmly stated he may take some time off, but he’s definitely not done.
As is standard in sudden departures like these, station management goes quiet, desks are cleared out, pictures removed from walls, promos are re-edited, and websites are scrubbed. Suddenly, the main, mustachioed face of Boston’s big, bold, splashy station, shrugs at the mention of the name “Randy Price.” Come again? Enter Price’s name in the search box of WHDH’s website tonight, and it will return precisely zero hits. “Did not match any documents,” the site told me, suggesting that I re-check the spelling or try different key words. I wonder how long it takes to remove every reference to a man who’s been the dominant face of the station for 12 years?
Unlike the heralded and highly promoted (genuine) retirement of another Boston legend, Natalie Jacobson, Price will get no on-air farewell, and viewers who look to the WHDH website for an explanation of Price’s he-must-not-be-named disappearance will get no explanation. As I’ve written before, this type of pretend-he-never-worked-here posture has the cold, clinical feel of altering the history books in the old Soviet Union, updating them to remove references to suddenly out of favor figures. Don’t viewers deserve a little better?
To do the “what? who?” routine only makes all the “news team family” stuff seem so transparent and fake. Like the item WHDH put on its website in 2007–and still searchable in cache form on Google–describing Price’s noteworthy marriage to his partner, Mark Steffan, on Boston’s Statehouse steps: “We want to congratulate an important part of our team. Randy Price got married today.”
When that “important part” of the team was let go, the station–like so many others–left it to the newspapers to explain. On 7, it’s like he never happened.