Opinion: Alaska senate race, Joe Miller campaign roiled by errant voicemail message


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An Alaska news station denied allegations Sunday its reporters conspired to fabricate negative stories about Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller in the closing hours of a tight race that’s being watched closely across the country.

Miller’s campaign sent out a transcript of a message accidentally left on a Miller aide’s cellphone Thursday that purportedly shows KTVA reporters talking about finding a child molester at a Miller rally and linking the candidate to them.


KTVA has confirmed the message is genuine but said in a statement that the message has been taken out of context. Sarah Palin, who has endorsed Miller, weighed in on the controversy, calling news station KTVA “corrupt bastards” on her Twitter feed.

In a measure of the controversy generated, CBS released a statement saying it does not own KTVA.

‘KTVA News is owned by the Alaska Broadcasting Co., not CBS. No CBS staffers were involved ...

... and CBS has no knowledge of and no comment on these allegations,’ it said.

The transcript sent out by Miller’s campaign team reads:

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.

KTVA General Manager Jerry Bever said in a statement: “While the recording is real, the allegations are untrue. 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.’

It’s not the first misplaced message that has roiled a campaign. Jerry Brown’s California senate campaign was thrown for a loop when a staffer was recorded on voice mail referring to his opponent, Meg Whitman, as a “whore.”

‘Tea party’ favorite Miller has dropped in recent polls in his race against write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski and Democrat Scott McAdams, but the race remains tight and could still swing either way.


-- Craig Howie

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