Reporters from a CBS affiliate in Anchorage, Alaska, allegedly left a voicemail by mistake at the campaign of the state’s Republican nominee for Senate, Joe Miller, in which the journalists can be heard plotting to “find” a “child molester” among the politician’s supporters.
The reporters are also overheard hoping for violence against Miller so they can “send out a tweet” and Facebook alert that “Miller got punched” at a rally he held four days ago.
The apparent accidental voicemail message was left on the cell phone of Miller’s spokesperson, Randy DeSoto.
In the recording, the assignment editor for the CBS Anchorage affiliate, KTVA, Nick McDermott, along with other reporters, can be heard openly discussing concocting the two stories about Miller.
DeSoto says the voicemail message was later authenticated by McDermott himself, who sent a text to the Miller spokesman stating, “D— iPhone … I left you a long message. I thought I hung up. Sorry.”
“Frankly, when I first heard this I was shocked,” said DeSoto. “Though a bit garbled at times, there are disturbing comments in this conversation that never should have occurred.”
According to the Miller campaign, another voice in the message was that of KTVA’s news director.
A recording of the audio can be heard below:
In the first portion of the discussion, the CBS reporters are heard plotting to get a list of Miller campaign supporters in order to “find” a “child molester.”
“You have to find that one person,” says the male reporter, apparently McDermott, to laughter in the news room.
The KTVA reporters then discuss creating a “Rand Paul incident” at a Miller rally last Thursday, hoping for violence so that they can “send out a tweet” and “Facebook” that “Miller got punched” at the rally.
In a statement released today, KTVA General Manager Jerry Bever said, “It’s unfortunate that this recording has happened.”
Although he does not dispute the veracity of the conversation, he said Miller’s “allegations are untrue” and to allege that KTVA was intending to fabricate stories was “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,” Bever said.
Ed Morrisey at HotAir.com took aim at the CBS affiliate’s explanation.
“Really? Do most news stations strategize about finding child molesters in campaign rallies?” he asked. “KTVA’s explanation is absurd. What possible context can they put around the suggestion that they start looking for child molesters at a political rally in order to exploit that for their television coverage?”
Miller’s fellow Alaskan Sarah Palin also weighed in on the issue in a discussion with Chris Wallace on Fox News this morning:
“We have the tape, Chris, and I can’t wait until it busts out all over the nation, that shows what it is that we … kinda what I put up with for two years now from the media … but what Joe Miller is faced with,” the former Alaska governor and vice-presidential candidate said.
“I am saying that we have on tape the CBS reporters in the affiliate up there in Alaska saying, ‘Let’s find a child molester in the crowd as a supporter of Joe Miller. Let’s blast that,”‘ she continued. “‘Let’s concoct a Rand Paul moment there. Let’s find any kind of chaos so we can tweet, “Ooh, there’s chaos. Joe Miller got punched.”‘ That’s sick. Those are corrupt bastards, Chris.”
A full transcript of the recorded conversation:
FEMALE REPORTER: That’s up to you because you’re the expert, but that’s what I would
do. … I’d wait until you see who showed up because that indicates we already know
FEMALE REPORTER: Child molesters …
MALE REPORTER: Oh yeah … can you repeat Joe Miller’s … uh … list of people, campaign
workers, which one’s the molester?
FEMALE VOICE: We know that out of all the people that will show up tonight, at least one of
them will be a registered sex offender.
MALE REPORTER: You have to find that one person …
FEMALE REPORTER: And the one thing we can do is … we won’t know … we won’t know but if there is any sort of chaos whatsoever we can put out a Twitter/Facebook alert saying what
the … ‘Hey Joe Miller punched at rally.’
FEMALE REPORTER: Kinda like Rand Paul … I like that.
FEMALE REPORTER: That’s a good one.
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