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A post-NBC5 McGarry blooms anew while putting her station behind her

Ex-NBC5 anchor Jane McGarry with a Campisi's pizza while also feted with a new hot dog in her name. Photos from McGarry's Facebook page

Free at last.

It's both ironic and sad that former NBC5 anchor Jane McGarry has regained her First Amendment rights only after ending a 30-year tenure with a media company.

Well, to a point. Reached by telephone Tuesday morning, McGarry continued to pleasantly but firmly state that "for the time being" her widely circulated exit statements on both NBC5's website and her Facebook page will have to speak for themselves. She also declined to discuss any future possibilities beyond life at the station she joined in 1982 before admittedly driving while intoxicated on an early morning in early May.

Meanwhile, McGarry is newly enabled to go a little nuts on her Facebook and Twitter pages after being completely silenced for more than two months. The old Jane had been a frequent poster on those two sites. The post-NBC5 Jane is pedal to the metal.

"How you like my hot dog? she asked Tuesday during a fusillade of tweets. "Try one Friday at the first Go Texan Cowtown Chowdown with Food Trucks. Mmmm:)"

A companion post on her now very busy Facebook page notes that the "Tarzan Me Jane" dog in her honor comes with "grilled onions, chili, cheddar cheese, chopped green onion, tomato, jalapeno & sour cream. 'We do not Cheetah on these toppings."

McGarry earlier had asked for her Facebook friends' input, noting that "a foot (sic) truck wants to name a hot dog after me." She said the choices were the aforementioned "Tarzan Me Jane" plus "Just Jane" (basic mustard, ketchup, relish) and "Texas Jane" (add jalapenos).

As of this writing she has 603 comments. Holy freakin' foot long!

McGarry also asked for tips on the "3 most important things a kid needs for his college dorm room." She received 275 comments. And her tout and picture of a plumbago plant that "LOVES the Texas heat" has received 117 comments to date.

The official nbcdfw.com website can only dream about such traffic. Even its trumpeted "Dez Bryant Accused of Assaulting His Mother" story, complete with mug shot, has gotten just eight comments as of this writing.

The l-o-o-o-o-ve also continues to pour in as McGarry lunches with pals, posts pictures and gets on with her life. One such Facebook valentine comes from Prince Morkan Vladeslas Dcc, who included a picture of the "main fountain of Savannah" with the notation "We were there in April. As is (sic) flows and cleanses, let a new start, do the same for you."

Another Facebook friend asked the basic Topic A question of McGarry: "Are you going back to KXAS? If not, where are you going?"

"I don't know the answer to where right now, but I'll keep you posted," she replied. "Thanks for asking."

Well, it won't be back to KXAS, a k a NBC5. That chapter is closed, liberating McGarry in the process. Some of this love and outright adulation will die down in time. But at this very moment, McGarry remains a big star within her Facebook and Twitter communities.

Unshackled in large part, she's tripping the light fandango while her former NBC5 colleagues remain wary of saying anything that might get them in trouble with both local and corporate management.

Anchors and reporters at both NBC5 and rival D-FW television stations increasingly feel compelled to operate under the same constraints. Not all of them, but their numbers are increasing. Big Brother is watching, and media companies are among the worst offenders. Put your head down, do your job and keep your mouth shut when it comes to "personnel matters." And in today's media world, personnel matters cover a wide spectrum.

One more thing. McGarry fully owned up -- on her Facebook page-- to driving while intoxicated. She vowed it would never happen again. It was her first criminal offense of any kind. Her station then almost simultaneously "supported" the 56-year-old anchor's "decision" to "resign."

Do you think for a minute that the New York Knicks will part ways with newly acquired guard Jason Kidd after he smashed his car into a telephone pole and was arrested on a DWI charge?

Do you really think the Dallas Cowboys will waive Bryant off the team after his latest incident?

Athletes time and again are given chances to redeem themselves. So are movie stars, politicians, etc., etc. I'm not saying that McGarry is Joan of Arc. Nor was she a trailblazing anchor. She assumed the position, capably did her job for 30 years at NBC5, got older, got downsized to lower profile newscasts and in the end got dismissed.

It's already been surmised in these spaces that McGarry's transgression gave NBC5 management a convenient reason to part ways with an aging, still comparatively high-salaried anchor who perhaps would have been let go in a year or two anyway. Readers of course are free to think otherwise.

Meanwhile, McGarry appears to have re-calibrated herself and moved on. Cripes, even her Facebook picture and post on lunch at Campisi's got 95 comments.

By the way, not one of these Facebook comments -- on any of the aforementioned subjects -- is from a current on-camera NBC5 employee. Um, you think that's coincidental?