Let’s begin with Sarah Palin tweeting “those corrupt bastards.”
The Alaska Senate candidate that Sarah Palin endorsed, Joe Miller, has cratered, putting one of Palin’s political adversaries, Lisa Murkowski, in the position to possibly get re-elected. In the middle of this tableau comes a weird audio from a CBS affiliate that has reporters caught in a garbled conversation on tape.
All hell’s broken loose, with Sarah Palin accusing CBS on Fox News of targeting Joe Miller with dirty tricks. However, one Fox reporter who has looked into it says there’s no evidence to support Palin’s charges.
As for the KTVA tape, could it possibly be a bunch of reporters blowing off steam and having a laugh?
The statement from the KTVA General Manager Jerry Bever of the CBS affiliate doesn’t clear up anything, but adds to the notion it might be just that. From Ben Smith:
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.” …
“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.”
David Brock of Media Matters has called on Sarah Palin to release the entire tape, after she made charges of journalistic malfeasance against CBS.
Andrew Breitbart, the man who was humiliated in the doctored Shirley Sherrod video, posted some of the KTVA audio of on Big Government.
Sarah Palin has made a serious charge, which she has a responsibility to back up, while CBS’ statement just adds more mystery to the plot that might be absolutely nothing.
Speculating here for a moment, but if it turns out that Palin is churning the charges up to help Joe Miller she’ll look very silly.
It will also be more ammunition for the Republican establishment who’s already turning toward 2012, predictably beginning a campaign to stop Sarah from making moves on the nomination. The old boys’ club never learns, because all these types of stories will do is play into Palin’s hands.