February 27, 2008

Karl Rove's America

The 60 Minutes story on the prosecution of former Democratic Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, which aired Sunday, failed to appear on a CBS affiliated TV station in Alabama, WHNT-TV. Viewers who tuned in to WHNT instead found the following message:

  • We apologize that you missed the first segment of 60 Minutes tonight featuring ‘The Prosecution of Don Siegelman.’ It was a technical problem with CBS out of New York.

However, CBS told Scott Horton, a writer who has covered the Siegelman story while blogging at Harper’s, that;

  • There is no delicate way to put this: the WHNT claim is not true. There were no transmission difficulties. The problems were peculiar to Channel 19, which had the signal and had functioning transmitters.

Horton goes on to state "I was told that the decision to blacken screens across Northern Alabama could only have been an editorial call." While WHNT denies it was an editorial decision it later changed its story on why the 60 Minutes piece did not run at the scheduled time. The station ran the segment later.

Why would WHNT censor the Siegelman story? The following from the blog Facing South might help explain the decision;

  • WHNT is owned by Oak Hill Capital Partners, an investment company managed by prominent supporters of President Bush, whose former advisor Karl Rove was implicated in the "60 Minutes" Siegelman investigation. But as the New York Times notes, the station is managed by a separate company, Local TV -- whose chief executive, Robert "Bobby" Lawrence, is a former Clear Channel Communications executive and also a major Bush contributor.

The Siegelman story is not going away but if we are lucky maybe Karl Rove will be, for a long time.

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