Alaska's turbulent three-way Senate race grew even more heated over the weekend, as Andrew Breitbart's Big Journalism website accused CBS Anchorage affiliate KTVA of conspiring to "smear" Tea Party-backed Republican candidate Joe Miller. KTVA's assignment editor inadvertently recorded part of a staff meeting in a voicemail to Miller's spokesman. Big Journalism says the reporters discussed "creating, if not fabricating," damaging stories, such as finding a sex offender among Miller's supporters. Sarah Palin called the reporters "corrupt bastards." KTVA says the allegations are "absurd," and that the reporters were discussing how others might disrupt Miller's campaign. Is this really evidence of a plot to sink Miller? (Listen to the recorded comments)
The anti-Miller bias is undeniable: KTVA insists that its reporters were merely discussing how to handle surprise developments, says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, but that "explanation is absurd." News stations do not "strategize about finding child molesters in campaign rallies" — this conversation "shows a strong bias against Miller." If network leaders at CBS take their role as a news organization seriously, they'll come down hard on their disgraceful affiliate.
"KTVA: Yeah, that was us, but it's not what you think"
Breitbart is the one running a conspiracy: This is just Andrew Breitbart's latest attempt to "smear" the press, says Eric Boehlert at Media Matters. If he and his band of "irresponsible bloggers" were "genuinely serious" about getting to the truth behind this "garbled" voicemail, they would have "contacted KTVA prior to publication and asked for a comment." But they didn't — because they knew their attack would "go poof," and that wouldn't have done Breitbart's "GOP Noise Machine" any good.
"Because Andrew Breitbart can't handle the truth"
At best, the conspiracy allegation is weak tea: It is not clear from this largely inaudible recording "precisely what, if anything, was being plotted," says Greg Sargent at The Washington Post, so Breitbart's charge is "pretty questionable," at best. And KTVA's general manager says the complete recording would make it clear nothing funny was going on. Breitbart has a history of using misleadingly edited tapes to back up an "incendiary accusation" — remember the ACORN videos, and the Shirley Sherrod debacle? — so without the complete audio it's hard to take him seriously.
"Alaska station says Breitbart Web site audio attack is bogus"