By Stacy Drake
It has been suspected for some time now that the Alaska media has been playing favorites in their coverage of the Senate race between Joe Miller, Lisa Murkowski, and Scott McAdams. Media bias is one thing, but what Anchorage CBS affiliate KTVA got caught doing is even more outrageous. Their reporters were overheard on a message left on Miller campaign spokesman Randy DeSoto’s voicemail actually plotting stories to release that would smear Joe Miller’s campaign and those associated with it. BigGovernment reports:
The voices [on the voicemail] are believed to be those of the news director for CBS Anchorage affiliate KTVA, along with assignment editor Nick McDermott, and other reporters, openly discussing creating, if not fabricating, two stories about Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, Joe Miller.
The following is a transcript of a call recorded after CBS Alaska affiliate KTVA called Joe Miller’s Senate campaign spokesperson. The call failed to disconnect properly. It was later authenticated by McDermott, who sent a text to Randy DeSoto stating, “Damn iPhone… I left you a long message. I thought I hung up. Sorry.”
To view a transcript of the recoded conversation between the reporters, click here.
Clearly the reporters were conspiring to set up some type of smear of Joe Miller. With glee, they even cite a recent controversy over an incident involving the Rand Paul campaign, while discussing how they would spread the story via social media after whatever incident they had in mind came off. It also brings to mind another recent episode that ended with Jerry Brown’s California gubernatorial campaign being caught up in controversy when someone from Brown’s camp called Brown’s opponent, Republican Meg Whitman, a “whore.”
Truly shocking to hear the joy these so-called “reporters” get as they plot to trash other people. It is especially disturbing considering these are the people who the public are supposed to trust to give them honest facts about key issues such as Senatorial candidates during elections. KTVA has some serious explaining to do.
Hot Air posted KTVA’s response to the allegations:
A press release issued Saturday October 30, 2010, by the Joe Miller campaign claims that KTVA personnel, “openly discuss creating, if not fabricating, two stories about Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, Joe Miller.” KTVA General Manager Jerry Bever says, “It’s unfortunate that this recording has happened. It’s unfortunate because it does not accurately reflect the journalistic standards of our newsroom and the garbled context will no doubt leave more questions than answers. The Miller campaign’s analysis of the recording is incorrect in many material ways ranging from personnel involved in the conversation, the interpretation of conversation snippets and the reported transcript of the perceived garbled conversation.”
“While the recording is real, the allegations are untrue,” said Bever. “The recording was the result of a cell phone not being hung up after a call was placed to Randy DeSoto, Joe Miller campaign spokesperson, Thursday afternoon to discuss Joe Miller’s appearance on that evening’s newscast. That phone call was placed near the end of a coverage planning meeting in our newsroom regarding that evening’s Miller rally in downtown Anchorage. The group of KTVA news personnel was reviewing potential “what-if” scenarios, discussing the likelihood of events at the rally and how KTVA might logistically disseminate any breaking news.”
Bever continues, “The perception that this garbled, out of context recording may leave is unfortunate, but to allege that our staff was discussing or planning to create or fabricate stories regarding candidate Miller is absurd. The complete conversation was about what others might be able to do to cause disruption within the Miller campaign, not what KTVA could do.”
While Bever would not discuss any personnel issues linked with the recording, Bever says “Have we had internal discussions about the level of professionalism we need to bring to our conversations, internally and externally? Of course we have, this is a lesson to learn from.”
Dan Riehl at Big Journalism later commented and posted the response from the Joe Miller’s campaign:
The following brief statement has been released from the U.S. Senate campaign of Republican Joe Miller regarding audio posted on Big Government and Big Journalism last night:
Now the media has gone from trying to create stories to openly lying. The audio was pulled directly from the voicemail message. Nothing was altered. “Everything that was recorded on my phone is what we released without change,” said Randy Desoto.
Both Politico and the Washington Post appear content to embarrass themselves by pushing a response from CBS-KTVA which Ed Morrissey termed “absurd,” in addition to some propaganda and an attempt at obfuscation from the Soros-funded Media Matters in its weak attempts to attack the messenger, be that Breitbart, Inc., or former Governor Sarah Palin.
We stand fully behind the original posting and view KTVA’s response as unserious, amounting to little more than, who are you going to believe, us or your lying ears?
The published audio and transcript of KTVA reporters conspiring against the Miller campaign make the truth abundantly clear for all to see and hear. A call to KTVA’s Nick McDermott made prior to publication has yet to be returned. In the event CBS-KTVA opts to issue a genuine response to these serious charges, we will publish it when received.
For now, all there is, is KTVA General Manager Jerry Bever’s ridiculous characterization the Miller campaign describes as a lie. It is difficult to disagree with that characterization. Consequently, as unfortunate as it may be, as things stand, we see no reason for Alaskans to trust CBS-KTVA’s campaign 2010 coverage given their unwillingness to honestly address concerns raised by their reporters disturbing behavior.