KTVA Anchorage's newsroom came under fire over the weekend when a station employee failed to properly hang up on Senate candidate Joe Miller's spokesperson, Randy DeSoto, then engaged in a conversation with another KTVA staffer that the Miller camp felt was a plan to fabricate stories about the candidate.
The station staffers' at-times garbled message was recorded on DeSoto's phone.
According to Miller's camp, the KTVA reporters "discuss getting a list of Miller campaign supporters in order to ‘find' a ‘child molester.' ‘You have to find that one person,' says the male reporter, to laughter in the newsroom. 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."
DeSoto offers the transcript here, and Miller's headquarters has the audio on YouTube too.
Much of the recording is inaudible, and the reporters are laughing throughout.
KTVA General Manager Jerry Bever acknowledged the gaffe in a statement, saying the recording was "unfortunate" but not deceitful. He said:
"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."
"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," he continued. "The complete conversation was about what others might be able to do to cause disruption within the Miller campaign, not what KTVA could do."
Bever said the station has learned a lesson from the reporters' faux pas.
Affiliated Media's KTVA is a CBS affiliate in DMA No. 150.
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