The folks at Seattle's KTVA-TV insist the incident was not as nefarious as some made it out to be. But it certainly wasn't very complimentary and it might very well be representative of the unfair treatment Republicans can expect if they surge to victory in today's elections.See, this is how the great smear works. The braintrust is counting on you not checking the story, not checking the facts (or "facts") for yourselves. They're hoping you'll trust them that they're telling the whole truth.
Here's what happened: A telephone call to discuss Alaska GOP U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller's upcoming appearance on a newscast never disconnected when it was "over." Station staffers then can, among other things, be heard laughing at the possibility of reporting on the appearance of sex offenders at a Miller rally.
The Miller campaign claims the station was plotting to fabricate stories. The station denies that interpretation as "out of context." Nevertheless, it was enough to prompt former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to label those involved at the CBS affiliate as "corrupt bastards."
Of course they're not.
The story popped up at Andrew Breitbart's website first. That should be the first clue that something's amiss. Breitbart, let's all take a minute to remember, lied about Shirley Sherrod. He championed another liar, James O'Keefe. In a rational journalistic world, that would completely undermine any claim of credibility Breitbart has, has ever had or ever will have.
And this is where this "corrupt bastard" story began.
But let's leap like a frog over that part and look at some examples of skepticism regarding the recording.
Ben Smith at Politico:
The transcript does not, in fact, make it terribly clear what they're talking about. KTVA General Manager Jerry Bever, in a statement to my colleague Byron Tau, confirms the authenticity of the recording left (in error) on the voice mail of a Miller aide but says that Miller's claims are wrong abut the details and "absurd" on their face.If Politico is not good enough a source for skepticism, how about Brit Hume of Fox News? About a 1:20 in, he says that while "it doesn't sound very good" he added that it was still "not utterly conclusive."
Brit Hume said that. NOT UTTERLY CONCLUSIVE.
But let's even assume the "not utterly conclusive" smear that Breitbart and Palin are doing - that this tape is evidence of the TV station making stuff up. What, then, do we make of this?
About 2:15 in, Fox News reporter Dan Miller says that his staff could find no bias or "hit pieces" against Joe Miller.
So, the charge itself floats up from a less-than-credible source. It's not clear from the tape or the transcript what they're talking about. Brit Hume himself says it's not utterly conclusive and then no bias can be found in the station's reporting on Miller himself.
Tell me again who the corrupt bastards are?