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Rodney Ho covers TV and radio, from Atlanta’s stations to the hottest “American Idol" news.

Exclusive: CBS46 anchor Ben Swann suspended after he tries to revive Reality Check

Posted Friday, January 26, 2018 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

CBS46 evening anchor Ben Swann has been taken off the air after his efforts to revive his independent investigative operation he called Reality Check came to light today.

On Thursday night, Swann posted a video on Vimeo teasing about an upcoming new project he planned to announce next Tuesday. He only identified himself as an "investigative journalist" and did not reference his ties to CBS46.

UPDATE: Swann was fired on Monday, January 29

The video by Friday morning had been seen more than 2,000 times. After CBS46 learned of the video, he was suspended and the video removed from Vimeo. (The video is still available on Twitter.)

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Prior to arriving at CBS46 in 2015, Swann had built a national following, largely among alt-right conservative types, with his Truth in Media "Reality Check" stories that delved into issues, he said, the mainstream media ignored.

While at CBS46 from 2015 into early 2017, he continued to do those stories on his website, sometimes airing pieces for the station as well.

Swann a year ago did a six-minute story during the 11 p.m.CBS46 newscast as part of his "Reality Check" series about the debunked Pizzagate conspiracy theory wondering why there was no further investigation. He had done no independent reporting and the story had no connection to Atlanta. Media Matters and the Daily Beast soon went after him and he was taken off the air for a few days.

The Daily Beast reported at the time that his Truth in Media site was tied to a Republican PAC. Plus, he had previously done work for the Russian-government supported Russia Today before coming to Atlanta.

After the media backlash, Swann pulled his Truth in Media website down as well as most of his social media accounts. Through the rest of 2017, he largely stayed quiet beyond reporting local news with Sharon Reed in the evenings.

But according to stories on dashforcenews.comsteemit.com, and activistpost.com, Swann last month began posting on the forums of Dash, a new crypto-currency along the lines of Bitcoin pitching a way to revive his Reality Check operation. (The Dash logo appears in his video that was taken down today.) Through that arena, the stories say, he was able to raise enough crypto-money to fund future Reality Check news stories.

 

About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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