New Castle, Delaware- A US-based Liberian Journalist, Moses D. Sandy, says Spoon Communication Network’s popular social media platform, Spoon Talk, has lost its relevance, trust, and credibility in the objective and critical analysis of news events in today’s Liberia.
Mr. Sandy, who is the National President of the Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA), said it is a double standard for panelists of Spoon Talk to continue holding discussions on other national matters in Liberia, but at the same time deliberately shying away from critically dissecting the legal and medical implications of the recent criminal indictment issued against the show’s Lead Panelist and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Spoon Communication Network Stanton Witherspoon. Federal prosecutors in the United States indicted Mr. Witherspoon and accomplices for alleged shady deals.
The management of Spoon Communication Network headed by Mr. Witherspoon in 2021 established the Spoon Talk Show with the sole purpose of providing an objective and credible media platform for Liberians at home and abroad to have a say in matters affecting the peace and stability of their country, but according to Mr. Sandy, the talk show has now lost the trust and confidence of the Liberian people.
In a press release issued on February 6, 2023, Journalist Sandy said the recent federal indictment issued against CEO Witherspoon for alleged criminal conspiracy has put a significant dent in the image and reputation of the show and its panelists. In January of this year, state prosecutors in the State of Florida indicted the Spoon Communication Network CEO for reportedly conspiring with 24 other accused individuals in the creation and sale of fraudulent nursing diplomas and transcripts to quasi-licensed practical and registered nurses in the US.
Mr. Witherspoon and his co-conspirators were charged with participating in a wire fraud scheme that created an illegal licensing and employment shortcut for aspiring nurses. They allegedly sold more than 7,600 bogus nursing certificates, and they earned US 114 million dollars. The overall scheme, the indictment said, involved the distribution of fake nursing diplomas issued by three South Florida-based nursing schools: Siena College in Broward County, Palm Beach School of Nursing based in Palm Beach County, and The Sacred Heart International Institute located in Broward County.
Mr. Witherspoon and his co-conspirators risk 20 years imprisonment in a federal penitentiary and property forfeiture if convicted. According to the indictment, the scheme had been going on since 2018. Mr. Sandy described the criminal charges against CEO Witherspoon as serious and they have eroded the morale of the Spoon Talk Show.
He said in the wake of CEO Witherspoon’s criminal indictment, the talk show has been reduced to a mere talk shop for politicians. Moreover, the Liberian Journalist said the charges have drawn Mr. Witherspoon’s integrity and trustworthiness, and that of Spoon Communication Network, especially the Spoon Talk Show into question.
He said until CEO Witherspoon is cleared of the criminal charges levied against him by federal authorities, he and Spoon Communication Network’s reputation and credibility remain shattered. The media guru observed, “It is often said in journalism that the medium is the message. This implies that if the medium is not trustworthy, the message will also, not be credible”.
He termed the charges against Mr. Witherspoon as embarrassing for him and the Spoon Communication Network management. He said as a result of the ongoing federal investigation against Mr. Spoon for alleged malfeasance, he and the entire Spoon Talk Show crew have lost the moral rectitude to frown on or question any Liberian including officials of the President Weah administration for shady deals in the country. He noted, “CEO Spoon’s legal woes are severe distractions for the Spoon Talk Show and the network as a whole”.
Meanwhile, Journalist Sandy is calling on Mr. Witherspoon to muster the courage to recuse himself from the show permanently and resign as CEO of the Spoon Communication network with immediacy. He said taking such actions, would enable him and his family to focus on his legal battle at this critical time in their life. Mr. Sandy furthered, “Resigning as CEO of Spoon Communication Network would also, enable the entity’s management to put in place strategies for restoring the lost credibility his criminal charges have caused the network”. Spoon Communication Network owns and operates Spoon FM and TV, Farbric FM, and Super FM in Liberia.