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.
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 something. ...
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.
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?"