A Springfield, Mass., newspaper has quoted anchorman Max Robinson of ABC World News Tonight as attacking the television network for racial discrimination during coverage of the presidential inaugural and the return of the 52 American hostages from Iran . . .
According to a UPI version of the story, which appeared in the Springfield Morning Union yesterday, Robinson, who is black, told a Smith College audience in Northhampton on Sunday that "he and all other black journalists were excluded from covering the stories and said the omissions were representative of his treatment at ABC."
ABC News President Roone Arledge has asked Robinson, formerly the top-ranked anchorman at Channel 9 here, to New York for a meeting this morning, following publication of the story.
According to a spokesman yesterday, Robinson told the network that the "UPI story is a misrepresentation of his lecture that evening at Smith" and also reportedly told the local ABC affilate in that area that the story was out of context.
According to the UPI report, "Robinson said that he submitted his resignation because of the ommissions but he said it was refused for obvious reasons."
(A spokesman for ABC News said yesterday that the network has no record of the resignation.)
According to the newspaper account, as quoted by UPI, "Robinson called the media 'a crooked mirror' through which 'white America' views itself and said it is time for black America to make itself known."
"He said," the UPI story continues, "ABC wants him to speak like 'any old white boy' and not incorporate his history, culture or views 'and certainly not speak out of experience.'"
According to the UPI story, "Robinson predicted criticism of his speech but said 'only by talking about racism . . . by taking a professional risk . . . will I take myself out of the mean, racist trap all black Americans find themselves in."
According to the UPI story, Robinson "criticized President Ronald Reagan for proposing cuts in programs vital to low-income people while holding elaborate parties at which his wife wears elegant desiger dresses" and also criticized "black politicians for being too complacent and not speaking out for black rights."
Last year, Robinson, addressing a predominantly black audience in Los Angeles, also discussed racial issues. The next day, he said the speech had been quoted "out of context" at what was supposed to be an "off the record occasion."
At that time, ABC News said Robinson was entitled to express his personal views.
Attempts to reach Robinson at ABC in Chicago, where he is the Midwest anchor for ABC World News Tonight, were unsuccessful late yesterday.