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KMOV (Channel 4) fired Larry Conners after a social-media controversy, prompting St. Louis’ longest-tenured anchorman to defend his claim that IRS “pressure” followed his 2012 interview of President Barack Obama.

Freed from a KMOV gag-order Wednesday, Conners said his statements on Facebook were simply questions about the possibility of an Internal Revenue Service vendetta in the wake of national stories about the agency.

“I never said that’s what happened, and I’m still not saying it,” Conners said. “I’m only asking that question.”

Conners also said a televised statement he made about the situation last week — which he conceded damaged his position — was forced on him to read “as-is.”

KMOV announced Conners’ firing with a statement posted about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday on its website.

“We regret to announce that Larry Conners is no longer a KMOV news reporter,” president and general manager Mark Pimentel said in the statement.

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