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Alaska TV Station Fires Staff for ‘Phonegate’ Plot Against Joe Miller

November 3, 2010

In an election week bombshell, the Senate campaign of Alaska Republican Joe Miller released audio captured on a phone message left by a local television affiliate. In the audio, the Miller campaign claimed, employees of KTVA could be heard discussing plans to undermine Miller’s campaign by purposefully negatively skewing their reports.

After former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin derided the reporters as “corrupt bastards” during a Fox News interview, KTVA claimed the accusations were “absurd” and the comments were taken out of context. “The complete conversation was about what others might be able to do to cause disruption within the Miller campaign, not what KTVA could do,” the station said.

Now the station is backtracking on its comments and has announced that the staff involved in the recorded conversation have been fired.

Local CBS affiliate KTVA announced Tuesday afternoon via press release (.doc) that two producers are no longer with the station as a result of an accidental voice recording which captured newsroom staff discussing coverage plans for Joe Miller rally last Thursday.

“At no time did any of the elements associated with the recorded comments become part of any coverage or broadcast. The recorded conversation in question specifically involved how that evening’s Miller rally might be promoted and the ensuing dialogue went downhill from there. These particular comments were not in line with KTVA standards,” states KTVA General Manager Jerry Bever in the press release.

“As a result of this incident, the two producers involved in the recorded conversation are no longer with the station,” he continued.

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