Tuesday, November 02, 2010

KTVA Channel 11 General Manager Jerry Bever Fires Two Producers Involved In "Phonegate" Incident With Senate Candidate Joe Miller

Some good news today! Alaska Dispatch reports that KTVA Channel 11 has fired two producers involved with the so-called "Phonegate" incident, in which the audio transcript gave the impression that the staffers were hoping to uncover a child molester on Joe Miller's staff or at a Joe Miller rally. You can read the transcript and listen to the audio HERE, and read KTVA's initial equivocal reaction HERE.

The producers have not been identified by name. But neither KTVA news director Staci Feger, assignment editor Nick McDermott, nor any other KTVA reporters were involved in the recorded conversation.

KTVA General Manager Jerry Bever issued a press release announcing the decision, and this time it's unequivocal. The full press release is available HERE in .doc format, readable by any Word-compatible processor. Bever was particularly eager to show that the producers' behavior was not in accordance with KTVA's standards. Bever wrote, in part:

General Manager Jerry Bever stated, “As we worked through this fact-finding process we noted that actual story assignments for that day had already been decided before the recorded conversation took place. At no time did any of the elements associated with the recorded comments become part of any coverage or broadcast. The recorded conversation in question specifically involved how that evening’s Miller rally might be promoted and the ensuing dialogue went down hill from there. These particular comments were not in line with KTVA standards.”

As a result of this incident, the two producers involved in the recorded conversation are no longer with the station. As a matter of policy KTVA did not identify the staff members involved, however KTVA clarified that neither the News Director, Assignment Editor Nick McDermott nor any other KTVA reporters were involved in the recorded conversation as previously reported by the Miller campaign.

KTVA believes that its actual broadcast coverage of Miller has been sound and fair during this election cycle and the history of our coverage speaks for itself. Bever noted that in the coverage of this issue, FOX News correspondent Dan Springer reported that in a review of recent Miller coverage by KTVA, Fox News could not find any articles or stories that showed any obvious bias or hit pieces against Joe Miller.

Bever said that KTVA has contacted the Miller campaign to set up a meeting in order to make amends. I strongly recommend the Miller campaign be magnaminous and accept the olive branch being proferred. KTVA actually did more than expected; I would have been satisfied with a one-week suspension without pay. So although KTVA remains a distant second to KTUU Channel 2 in both prominence and professionalism, they took a certain step towards closing the gap.

Some people will note the disparate treatment meted out to the KTVA staffers vs. KFQD's reinstatement of Dan Fagan. But there's a difference -- while KTVA is a hard news organization, Dan Fagan, as a talk show host, is also an entertainer. Thus the bar should be higher for a hard news organization than for a talk show host.

Now, for the remaining question; when will Alaska Dispatch at least suspend Tony Hopfinger for provoking that dustup at Central Middle School?

1 comment:

  1. i read your blog post regularly.you write

    very well.i want to inform if any one want


    then very good information form


    sity admission
    .keep posting regards