When a KTVA reporter failed to completely end a phone call with a Joe Miller for U.S. Senate spokesperson, the campaign accidentally heard a disturbing conversation among the CBS-affiliate reporters.
This week, Randy DeSoto, spokesperson for the Miller campaign, was left an accidental voicemail by members of KTVA, which appears to be a recording of ways the news station could fabricate stories about the Republican nominee.
Click here for transcripts and to hear a recording of the message.
KTVA reporters are heard discussing ways to “find” a “child molester,” who is involved with the campaign.
“You have to find that one person,” says the male reporter, to laughter in the news room. The reporters at KTVA then discuss creating a “Rand Paul” incident at the then upcoming Miller Rally (held on October 28, 2010) and hoping for violence so that they can “send out a tweet” and “Facebook” that “Miller got punched” at the rally.
When confronted, KTVA acknowledged that the message was inadvertently left by a member of the TV station staff but denied that the station was brainstorming ways to create negative news stories about Miller. Jerry Bever, general manager for KTVA, released a statement, which was published at Politico:
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.
Why would a news station review scenarios of a sexual predator attending a political rally? Transcripts indicate that the station was looking for a sexual predator affiliated with the campaign.
Campaign spokesman Randy DeSoto responded:
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."
Others around the web also questioned the true intentions of the KTVA voice mail.
Hot Air's Ed Morrissey wrote:
KTVA’s explanation is absurd. What possible context can they put around the suggestion that they start looking for child molesters at a political rally in order to exploit that for their television coverage? That’s a “potential what-if scenario”? Is this a suggestion that came up in strategy sessions when discussing a McAdams campaign rally?
The only absolution KTVA could have possibly had was showing that this conversation didn’t take place among their staff, but was left on the voicemail by some other people or organization. Even if KTVA approached coverage of every political event in this manner, it would be an embarrassment. In this case, it shows a strong bias against Miller and gives a window into the editorial direction at KTVA.
Dan Riehl at Big Government replied:
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.
We will keep you updated as this story progresses.