A pair of producers involved in the "Phonegate" scandal in Alaska have been fired.
The former employees of the CBS affiliate in Anchorage left an accidental voicemail for an aide to GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller, in which they joked about the possibility of reporting on the appearance of sex offenders at a Miller rally.
KTVA's General Manager released this statement on the station's web site:
"KTVA today released findings of its internal assessment of allegations that the "news director for CBS Anchorage affiliate KTVA, along with assignment editor Nick McDermott, and other reporters, openly discussed creating, if not fabricating, two stories about Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, Joe Miller," as alleged by the Miller campaign. KTVA states that its review included multiple staff interviews, a review of that day's actual news coverage and a forensic transcript of the recorded audio conversation.
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.
KTVA has contacted the Miller campaign to set up a meeting to review its findings. "