Monday, December 29, 2008

To KSFR: "We can't talk to the media"

Is it the result of the past eight years or has something bad infiltrated the water?

Too often, KSFR gets the response, "We can't talk to the media." It's beginning to bug me.

A year ago at this time, a Santa Fe County commissioner wanted to hold a meeting with a number of different citizen and industry groups on a growing issue. But he explicitly "un-invited" the media. We could not attend. I blew up. He soon backed off when the groups themselves, hearing from me, became uncomfortable with taking part in such a closed meeting.

A month ago, a representative of the FCC was in Santa Fe to talk to the public about the ins and outs of the television conversion from analog to digital signals. They hired a huge hall, hoping for hundreds of people to listen to his presentation. No one showed up except KSFR's reporter. We tried to interview the representative about his pitch, only to hear, "I'm not authorized to talk with the media.

What? He could talk with thousands of people but not answer the same questions before a microphone? The next day, I interviewed his supervisor (who is authorized to speak with the media) about that policy. To say she sounded like an idiot is an understatement. She knew we were taping, by the way.

The Santa Fe County public information officer sent out an email to all county employees, saying talk to the media at your own peril. They're probably out to gather dirt. It's had a chilling effect on good communications with the county. Yet, I just had an informative conversation with the director of one county program who was not afraid to talk. Good chat on the air. Her stock went up, I'm sure.

Yesterday, our reporter interviewed some passengers taking the Rail Runner commuter train from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. In this burg, the train has been the biggest news since Gov. Bill Richardson announced his run for the presidency. Nice interviews with riders. But Dan Gerrity asked some officials with the train, "Hey, how's it going?" The reply stunned him. "We can't talk with the media." Well, Gerrity said, we've been covering this a lot and we've been down here a lot. "Well, then you know we can't talk with the media."

Want to hear the exchange? Send me an email to and I'll send you an mp3 file of 15 seconds.

Boils down to this:

Passenger: What time does the train arrive?

Conductor: 4:30 is the schedule.

Reporter: What time does the train arrive?

Conductor: We can't talk with the media.

No joke.

Monday, October 27, 2008

About KSFR's listeners and an admission of being wrong

OK, so I was wrong about this. But he still faces possible charges, which will be interesting to see if he's elected.

As for reporting the news, I wonder where KSFR listeners would stand in this study?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Jerome Block won't talk with KSFR, but that's OK

We know what's going on, anyway.

It's hard to image how Jerome Block, Jr., is going to withstand the current firestorm. He complains about a "media circus" around his campaign to win the northern New Mexico seat on the Public Regulation Commission.

What campaign? All he's done are a few billboards. He has never appeared before a public audience. He won't give interviews.

The media have caught Block in a series of gaffes, from underplaying his record of police arrests to his admitted lying on a campaign finance report.

Some voters may be asleep. But others are voicing their concern, as in this page full of letters-to-the-editor.

Can fellow Democrat Gov. Bill Richardson be seen as condoning such behavior?

Here's my personal opinion how this will play out....

In a day or two, Block will announce that he's pulling out of the race to "be with his family," who have "gone through so much." Richardson will appoint a Democratic successor on the ballot, even though Block's name will remain on it because ballots have already been printed. The Dem will probably win as people vote straight-ticket (there are no Republican opponents). But Green Party candidate Rick Lass will make a good showing because of his positive campaign efforts over the summer.

Few repeats from '04 at KSFR's first debate event

A respectable crowd showed up for KSFR's first presidential debate-watching event of '08. But when I asked who among the audience was also in the same room for the same thing in '04, no hands went up. Why? No George Bush? No John Kerry? Forgone conclusion about this time? No interest (hardly, I think)?

Or was it expectation levels in the tank? Are these debates just political theater?

One audience member suggested we "fact check" the debate as it goes along. Good idea. We'll try to do that next time.

Meanwhile, here are some fact checks from the first debate at Fact Check dot ORG.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

KSFR visits BBC's bus tour

KSFR is BBC's only full-time New Mexico affiliate, so I decided to drop in on the BBC Bus when it arrived in Albuquerque.

A hospitable group of tired BBC'ers were on hand inside the touring-band-sized bus. They had started a few days before in L.A. and on day three or four had parked at the N.M. State Fair in Albuquerque.

Jon Kelly waved "hi" inside, but he was busy blogging about the trip. Man, is he prolific. Great blog stories as they make their way across the U.S.

Tricia Lodge handles press (hell -- they are the press). Very nice. She recounted for me the all-you-can-eat places that serve the road food we have to eat when we drive the interstates. She's convinced she'll go home many pounds heavier.

Ros Atkins is the reporter-presenter who's been filing stories for the BBC's English-language World Service. Other reporters from other services will join them along the way to report in other languages.

I asked Ros his view of "voting America" so far. Too bad that he's only been treated to the way-soutwestern U.S., coming most recently from Las Cruces. He was impressed with some he met -- A fiercely independent type of American, he calls them. "They'd rather go bankrupt paying medical bills than seek federal assistance."

Oh, yeah? Sounds like one of those independent Americans told a tall tale on Ros -- a "tale of derring do, against all odds, in the Ole American West." Bang, bang.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

KSFR sets debates-watching events

Has it been four years already?

KSFR 101.1 and Santa Fe Community College plan to do it again. Our 2004 presidential debates-watching events at the college packed the house. We followed each debate with a comment period for watchers to comment.

The events about the news also made news themselves as local newspapers reported on what local residents had to say.

Example from the Albuquerque Journal.

Friday, October 1, 2004

SFCC Hosts Debate Discussion

Being a Republican in Santa Fe is tough.
Ask James L. Montoya, who on Thursday joined a group of local residents to watch the first presidential debate between President Bush and his Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry, inside the Jemez rooms at Santa Fe Community College.
After the 90-minute debate, the remaining audience members shared their thoughts about the debate, the two candidates and other perspectives about politics and civic life in the United States.
Bill DuPuy, the news manager at KSFR-FM, moderated the discussion that lasted some 45 minutes after the official debate ended...............

And the New Mexican.

Friday, October 1, 2004

Local Voters Watch Debate at SFCC

Majority in attendance said they were unswayed by the candidates
As soon as President Bush and Sen. John Kerry stopped their debate Thursday night, dozens of Santa Fe residents continued the debate at Santa Fe Community College. Both Democrats and Republicans were well represented at the event in which the audience first watched the 90-minute debate on a large screen. In all, about 100 people attended. Later, KSFR radio news director Bill Dupuy went around the room getting comments from...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Palin confusion

The McCain campaign is not helping the media or supporters understand what's going on.

For days, the campaign has told media that thepresumed vice president pick Sarah Palin would join John McCain in Albuquerque this Saturday. KSFR questioned that appearance when the campaign sent out an email yesterday (Sept. 2) promoting the event but not mentioning Palin. We called and the New Mexico Republican party
continued to insist Palin would be in Albuquerque.

Today, the New Mexico office tells KSFR Palin will, in fact, not appear. But the
McCain campaign website still carries an event notice saying that he will be joined in the Duke City by the vice presidential pick.

Palin's name is not mentioned as that pick. Nor is it mentioned in the schedule for events before and after Albuquerque.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

KSFR: Bush names Michael Moore to protect New Orleans

We may be among the first among conventional media to announce this irony.

The Bush Administration has named "W. Michael Moore" to head up FEMA's relief efforts in the Gulf Coast, as Hurricane Gustav approaches.

The official statement is on the web but not on the FEMA website yet.
The more prominent Michael Moore, the film maker, couldn't help but take notice.

Here's what it says:

R. David Paulison, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named W. Michael Moore as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected area.


White House Press Office

Saturday, August 23, 2008

KSFR files "Sunshine Law" inquiry

More on the issue I've been posting about -- the maneuvers at the Santa Fe County administration building.

In a very serious move, I've filed a compaint -- I called it an "inquiry" -- into whether Santa Fe County had violated New Mexico's Open Meeting Act. In addition to our own newscasts, it was the front page of the Santa Fe New Mexican's local section and in the Albuerque Journal's Northern New Mexico section .

Here's the Journal's story in case their link disappears:

Open Meetings Violation Alleged

KSFR News has asked the state Attorney General's Office to investigate whether Santa Fe County violated the New Mexico Open Meetings Act by failing to give proper notice of the meetings of a county land use board.
KSFR news director Bill Dupuy, in a news release Wednesday, said KSFR reporters missed an Aug. 5 County Development Review Committee meeting because notice was not published on the county's Web site.
“KSFR had attempted to find out about a rumored discussion of oil and gas drilling in Santa Fe County. It was not until after the meeting had taken place that the reporters found the discussion had taken place at the open meeting,” KSFR said.
County spokesman Stephen Ulibarri said Wednesday that notice of the meeting was published July 29 in a local newspaper, meeting requirements of the Open Meetings Act.
KSFR, Santa Fe's public radio station, said the County Commission requires that notices of all county committees be posted on the county Web site but that no meeting notices for the CDRC had been posted between March 2007 and this month.
Ulibarri said that until recently, individual county departments were allowed to post information about meetings at their own discretion, as long as it was legally noticed.
Information about all county meetings can now be found on the County's Web site, Ulibarri said. “Should they be posted? The answer to that is yes, they should be posted. And that has been addressed,” he said.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

KSFR and Santa Fe County's gatekeeper

The previous post described the public-policy of Santa Fe County. It seems there are pesky reporters looking for "dirt." To protect administrators and staff, the public information officer would stand his post at the gate.

No need to look very far for interesting material, however. It results from their own doings, it's public, and it abounds.

KSFR's Marion Cox and Dave Obler are excellent researchers. The story of how they "discovered" a half-baked county procedure wasn't hard to find. It just took a little work.

There will be more to come about Santa Fe County and how it conducts its taxpayer-paid business in the "public interest."

Yet another story on how the county conducts it business in the "public's interest" is coming. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Constituent Relations 101

How a municipality should get along with its constituents.

Memo from Steve Ulibarri, head of public information for Santa Fe County, New Mexico, to all staff and county commissioners:

(With thanks to the Santa Fe New Mexican for doing this story.)

All: As some of you may have noticed, SF County has been coming under much closer scrutiny in the media lately. I receive calls on a daily basis looking for information on stories that focus on investigations seeking to find evidence of mismanagement and scandal. This is not a coincidence. After a KOB-TV news interview yesterday, the reporter told me that he's leaving the station because a new station manager has been brought into boost ratings (KOB has been #2 for the past 18 months). Her new approach: "turn up the crime and negativity." I responded "you mean more death and violence". The reporter said "more scandal and seeking mismanagement, immorality, dirt." He said he didn't have the stomach for it anymore.

The news media (TV, radio, and newspapers) are in business to make money. They make most of their money through advertising revenue. When the economy goes bad, the first place businesses cut expenses is in advertising. So, the news media immediately feel the pinch and competition for scarce advertising dollars becomes fierce. The way to get your share of that advertising revenue is to increase readership/viewers. How do they do that? "Turn up the crime and negativity."

It has already begun and will probably intensify.

To reiterate SF County's policy on media contact: All SF County staff are free to speak to the press, if they choose to. However, it will be that individual speaking and not SF County's official position. No staff member is under any obligation to speak to the media regardless of what they may tell you. SF County is obligated to prove public information and that is one of my main responsibilities — to make sure the public information gets to the public. If you feel uncomfortable speaking with the media or are just busy doing your job, I am here to help. Send the reporters to me and I will immediately get them what they need. Any official County Statement will come thru me to ensure consistency and accuracy of information. If you are contacted by any member of the press, please let me know ASAP.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.


PS SF County is in the midst of working to increase our transparency and access to residents — more on that in the next few months.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Podcasts, now cell-phone casts

Thought we might try something new, since we've been offering audio downloads and podcasts from for years.

The new wrinkle is the Fone Show.

While podcast subscribers can subscribe to an automatic download of a show to their computer, the Fone Show does the same for cell phones.

It took a little while for me to figure out how to subscribe, but I finally got it and received the very newscast I had posted earlier.

This advance has the potential for bringing spot news to folks who might not ordinarily catch a newscast at the exact hour it's broadcast.

From Inside Radio, a review about Fone Show.

You can subscribe to a KSFR News brief by cell phone here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

BBC gives Ted Koppel new gig

The Independent of London got my chuckle when talking about former ABC News heavyweight Ted Koppel's joining BBC. The newspaper said after Koppel left ABC (ditched actually, because what TV viewer wants news?), he wound up doing commentary on NPR, "America's pale imitation of the BBC."

Ole NPR is the best we have, but I couldn't agree more that it a pale imitation. KSFR, after all, teamed up with BBC, not NPR.

More from the Independent about Koppel.

Monday, July 28, 2008

New media a danger to journalism

A Canadian journalism professor calls it the biggest ethical revolution to hit journalism in 120 years. It's the internet and the new "citizen journalism."

He says:

Here are a few ethical issues coming to a head with the rise of the new media:
* Internet journalism is bringing many more "voices" and viewpoints into the public sphere, which is positive for democracy. But many of those voices are vitriolic, lack credibility or have tiny audiences -- often amounting to a few people just "twittering to each other."

* The rise in citizen journalism can be creative and provide context on trends in society, but much of it is agenda-driven and unreliable. It's leading to a decline of journalistic values, including what Ward calls "pragmatic objectivity." Few online journalists know the difference between emotion-fuelled opinion and analysis, the latter sticking more respectfully to the facts.

* Internet journalism may be adding to the increasing "trivialization" of the news, including in the mainstream media. Sex, violence, celebrities and rants often draw more readers and viewers, and create more online "hits," than serious stories, which have wider but more subtle-to-discern social consequences.

* With newsroom staff declining in the mainstream print and broadcast media, fewer resources are available to mount investigative examinations of important, complex developments, including political and economic policy, organized crime, seniors centre standards and environmental degradation. Online media outlets typically cannot afford such investigations.

There's more about Stephen Ward, outgoing head of the University of British Columbia's journalism school, in the Vancouver Sun.

Friday, July 25, 2008

KSFR News: Best of Santa Fe

What a surprise.

KSFR News has been named the "Best Local Radio Program" in the 2008 issue of the Santa Fe Reporter's Best of Santa Fe awards special edition.

My hat is off to the entire KSFR news team.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

AP vs. bloggers: AP may have little if any rights

On further reflection about Associated Press' Take Down Order against some bloggers for excerpting and linking, I question whether Associated Press actually has much say in the matter. These are the reasons:

(1) Much of the material Associated Press runs is taken from its member newspapers and publications. As soon as the member generates material, "Copyright is secured automatically when the work is created," according to the Copyright Office Thus, with material picked up from members, the original copyright rests with them, not Associated Press.

(2) Associated Press would be able to acquire the original copyright from the member source, but it takes written documentation and registration with the copyright office. It's unlikely, however, that the Washington Post is going to transfer all of its rights in full.

(3) Associated Press would be able to "share" the copyright under transfer rules, but it must have an agreement with the original author to do so. Just asking to use and redistribute the material shouldn't be sufficient.

**(My broadcast organization is a "subscriber member" of the Associated Press. Here is the total sum of all our membership agreement has to say about AP's right to use my material:

**"Subscriber shall, without cost to (AP), promptly make available to (AP) .... all information original to the Subscribe in all forms gathered by Subscriber that is spontaneous in its origin, for use in news report(s) of AP and its subsidiaries."

**That's it. No request to "share" copyright.

Associated Press may place the copyright notice on material I and other subscriber members turn over under our agreement, but it is meaningless. We've simply granted them a license to use it, not to share in the copyright.

I may place a copyright notice on any material I get from an associate and I may do it forever. But it has no meaning. Thus, the Associated Press notice on material picked up from the Washington Post similarly has no meaning.

The Copyright Office has no means or authority or desire to enforce the notion of copyrighted material. It is the concern of the original author who may, or may not, call on a trespasser to cease and desist.

My conclusion: Member subscribers of Associated Press have not taken steps to tell their press association to stop "pretending" to have the copyright authority over material they supply AP. But that's OK. They still own the copyright anyway. It cannot be taken away. By the same token, AP has oversteped in claiming rights they do not have.

All of this tempest about bloggers has been nothing more than "selective harrassment."

Jim Kennedy, vice president and strategy director of the AP, be ashamed.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

More on AP vs bloggers

Incredibly, I find that Associated Press signed an agreement in 2007 with NowPublic.Com to use material FROM NowPublic.

NowPublic defines itself as a "social networking" site, as does the Drudge Retort.

"Contributors" to NowPublic copy material directly from copyrighted publications and post the material to the NowPublic site with a link to original source. I've reviewed a number of these contributions. The pasted items are quite lengthy.

Take a look at this paste-job, copied from the New York Times.

This is a practice that's more-than-identical to what the Drudge Retort was challenged for, because the NowPublic paste jobs are much, much, much longer.

Meanwhile, the folk at PBS Idea Lab agree with my first post that Associated Press has no claim to "Hot News Misappropriation" and probably not to simple copyright infringement either. To AP's offer to set up guidelines for bloggers, the Idea Lab author writes:

"While AP is entitled to issue a set of guidelines for the use of its articles, these guidelines are not legally enforceable and they cannot narrow the scope of what is permissible under the fair use doctrine. The blogging community needs to be careful not to allow these guidelines to become a de facto set of norms that constrain the permissible uses of news content."

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bloggers: Is AP wrong on copyright issue?

Quick post -- more to come.

It's about the imbroglio between Associated Press and bloggers, with AP demanding that they not selectively quote from an AP story, then link to the site where it's actually published.

I'm not surprised Associated Press calls the issue "Hot News Misappropriation," because it would be next to impossible to claim "harm" from copyright infringement by someone quoting selectively and linking to already-published articles.

But while it's a stronger claim, "Hot News Misappropriation" (A useful summary of cases here) could be very difficult to prove in the case of selective quoting and linking. This concept applies most strongly "before" news hits the public realm, or at least simultaneously with publication. That's when the news has the most value, because stealing it at that point CAN cause harm. Imagine stealing a reporter's story and printing it before it hits the press. Or linking to it in the seconds and minutes (not hours) after the story is distributed by AP. That's Hot News Misappropriation, as has already been defined in the courts.

(Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer. But I have managed intellectual corporate properties for years, hiring some of the best intellectual property lawyers to handle the actual legal work.)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Well, duh

And here we are, five years later and 4,085 dead U.S. service members dead:

"The Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, and a bipartisan majority of the Committee (10-5), today unveiled the final two sections of its Phase II report on prewar intelligence.

"The Committee’s report cites several conclusions in which the Administration’s public statements were NOT supported by the intelligence. They include:

Ø Statements and implications by the President and Secretary of State suggesting that Iraq and al-Qa’ida had a partnership, or that Iraq had provided al-Qa’ida with weapons training, were not substantiated by the intelligence.

Ø Statements by the President and the Vice President indicating that Saddam Hussein was prepared to give weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups for attacks against the United States were contradicted by available intelligence information.

Ø Statements by President Bush and Vice President Cheney regarding the postwar situation in Iraq, in terms of the political, security, and economic, did not reflect the concerns and uncertainties expressed in the intelligence products.

Ø Statements by the President and Vice President prior to the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate regarding Iraq’s chemical weapons production capability and activities did not reflect the intelligence community’s uncertainties as to whether such production was ongoing.

Ø The Secretary of Defense’s statement that the Iraqi government operated underground WMD facilities that were not vulnerable to conventional airstrikes because they were underground and deeply buried was not substantiated by available intelligence information.

Ø The Intelligence Community did not confirm that Muhammad Atta met an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in 2001 as the Vice President repeatedly claimed."

The report in pdf format is here.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Shoot the messenger

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan was a lethal weapon. I knew it listening to him then, and it's confirmed now in his book. I won't spend the money to read his lilly-livered attempt to cover up his own complicity in misleading the American public about Iraq.

What should McClellan have done? Quit. He would, of course, have been replaced by another messenger. That one also should have quit. The logical conclusion is that after awhile, there would be no messengers left.

McClellan should have known what we knew at the time -- that it was all bosh.

Even before 2003, I was advising KSFR's news staff to be ultra cautious with so-called "news stories" about the need to invade Iraq. I did not want KSFR to be part of carrying messages that smelled of lies.

There was the UN nuclear weapons inspectors reports that they could find no WMD in Iraq. I read it and believed it then.

I had closely followed the revelation, debunked at the time but admitted to now, that Tony Blair had "sexed up" British intelligence with the claim that WMD from Iraq could strike England in 45 minutes. A BBC reporter and BBC leadership got the axe over revealing that.

Consider Former ambassador Joe Wilson and his debunking of one of the Bush administration's claims.

Terrorism advisor Richard Clarke was talking. Why hadn't McClellan listened? I did.

Of course, the media sucked it all up thanks to Scott McClellan and Ari Fleischer before him.

A little radio station in New Mexico chose not to listen to Scott McClellan. He was the messenger carrying sleazy messages.

We wanted no part in the whole, rotten thing.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Big number, or small?

In an on-air interview with New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman recently, I asked about the $800 billion, 30-year carbon cap-and-trade program he and other senators were considering. If you believe the projections about climate change, I asked, was it enough money? He said, it was a lot of money. But, I asked, if you are in a sinking ship, do you worry about the cost of life jackets? He said, it depends on who's paying the bill.

My thinking: That $800 billion amounts to $27 billion a year. Combine New Mexico state government, the two national labs and the military in New Mexico, and you digest virtually that entire amount. That doesn't even count the other 49 states. Now, the number becomes pretty small.

Our conversation is about 12 minutes into this audio file.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Illegal propaganda

More about those Pentagon "generals" sucked up by TV nets as "analysts" and how it was illegal proganda under U.S. law.

This from a crusty reporter.

There's little doubt that this program violated the laws against covert propaganda operations mounted against the American public by their own government. But in this administration, there's no one left to enforce that law or any of the other laws the Bush operatives have been busy violating.

The real crime is that the scheme worked. The television network bosses swallowed the bait, the hook, the line and the sinker, and they have yet to answer for it.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Better news on Spanish TV

At least that appears to be the case in Los Angeles. Consider this:

Take a recent night, after a typical day of Los Angeles news. English-language TV led with the weather (it was raining, which is not as unusual as you might think during an L.A. winter), then moved into splashy reports with dramatic footage of a gang shootout and possible hostage situation in a city neighborhood. Less than eight minutes into the newscast, trivia took over. The CBS affiliate's third piece involved new questions about the death of Marilyn Monroe. The NBC affiliate dwelled on a hepatitis scare at a party for celebrities and swimsuit models, then attempted a brief consumer-oriented investigation about people's need to replace their tires more frequently. The ABC affiliate gave five minutes to movies and entertainment, from an Oscar preview to a sit-down interview with Jon Stewart.

In Spanish, viewers got fewer soft features and more deeply reported, longer pieces. KMEX mentioned the gang shootout but provided far more context, interviewing local residents about recent crime and about how local businesses and schools were affected by an hours-long neighborhood lockdown as police searched for a suspect. KMEX also aired a detailed report on a major beef recall from a local firm, a couple of pieces on local politics (including a roundup of what city and county leaders had done that day) and a four-minute examination of key policy issues in the presidential campaign. The Oscars went unmentioned. KVEA's half-hour newscast, " En Contexto" (which means what it sounds like), was even more substantive. It gave a thorough review of local political and government news, then delved deeply into nearly 20 minutes of explanation of rising home foreclosures and mortgage problems. (Yes, Spanish-language viewers were callously left to figure out that it was raining all by themselves.)

They get the best ratings, too: KMEX's 6 p.m. program has ranked either first or second for years among newscasts in the market in any language; its 11 p.m. newscast leads the ratings among nearly every adult demographic. KVEA lags behind, but its audience is increasing. "There's such a thirst for news," says Maelia Macin, vice president and general manager of Univision's Los Angeles stations.

More in the Washington Post.

Friday, May 9, 2008

The story TV "missed"

NYT reporter David Barstow’s investigation of the Pentagon’s military analyst program — whereby ex-military talking heads, often with direct ties to contractors, parroted Defense Department talking points on the air — has been noticeably absent from television airwaves since the story broke on April 20.

But, according to The Politico.Com, a possible congressional inquiry may force the story to be covered by television and could prompt stories on an investigation into themselves.

Here's the full list of documents the Pentagon released.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Domenici disclosure and newspaper copyright

I've long had a problem with newspapers like the Albuquerque Journal posting a copyright notice right under the headline and byline. After all, the entire publication is copyrighted. The only reason for doing that is as a marketing tool to show they have somethig no one else has.

Such was the case in March 2007 when Sen. Pete Domenici's office handed an exclusive story to the Albuquerque Journal, thus allowing the newspaper to post the copyright notice under the headline and the byline.

But this exclusive gift to the newspaper should not have been made. Instead, the news should have been disclosed to all New Mexico media, if not to all national media. There was no such press release until the next day.

It was the disclosure that Domenici in fact had placed that now-famous phone call to the now-former federal prosecutor for New Mexico, David Iglesias, about a fraud investigation into prominent New Mexico Democrats. Domenici has now since been admonished slightly by the Senate Ethics Committee. The April 26, 2008, Washington Post editorial critiques him for not apologizing for the phone call that started it all, saying, "Mr. Domenici suffers from health problems and is retiring at the end of this Congress after a distinguished Senate career. It's too bad he will depart on this unbecoming note."

But what got my goat in March 2007 was the selective disclosure, thus the gift of an exclusive story when it was a broad matter of public interest.

Why did they do it that way? I firmly believe it was to get the disclosure out in a way that could get the story a soft landing. Such a plan would carry the hope that words written by a friendly newspaper would be picked up by the wires and others, casting as good a light as possible on the news.

I complained loudly to Domenici's office and let other media know my feelings about the sequence of events. Not only is such action unfair to the rest of the media, it also begs the ethical question about a senior elected official ignoring his total constituency in favor of one media outlet. The newspaper carry the extra copyright banner, that marketing tool I presume is there to help enrich themselves.

Furious, I dashed off an email at the crack of dawn that Sunday morning to Domenici's office. They then released this statement that same day, hours after the Journal had gone to press.

(The Albuquerque Journal story appeared Sunday, March 4, 2007. It's no longer available in archive.)

Domenici's statement March 4, 2007(also no longer available on the senator's website but I found it in another blog)

I take this opportunity to comment directly on media statements by former U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico, David Iglesias.
Since my knowledge of his remarks stems only from a variety of media accounts, I have hesitated to respond. Nevertheless, in light of substantial public interest, I have decided to comment.

I called Mr. Iglesias late last year. My call had been preceded by months of extensive media reports about acknowledged investigations into courthouse construction, including public comments from the FBI that it had completed its work months earlier, and a growing number of inquiries from constituents. I asked Mr. Iglesias if he could tell me what was going on in that investigation and give me an idea of what timeframe we were looking at. It was a very brief conversation, which concluded when I was told that the courthouse investigation would be continuing for a lengthy period.

In retrospect, I regret making that call and I apologize. However, at no time in that conversation or any other conversation with Mr. Iglesias did I ever tell him what course of action I thought he should take on any legal matter. I have never pressured him nor threatened him in any way.

I was pleased to recommend to the President of the United States in early 2001 that he nominate Mr. Iglesias as U.S. Attorney for New Mexico. I knew from many discussions with federal law enforcement and judicial officials that the caseload had become extremely heavy within our state.

During the course of the last six years, that already heavy caseload in our state has been swamped by unresolved new federal cases, especially in the areas of immigration and illegal drugs. I have asked, and my staff has asked, on many occasions whether the federal prosecutors and federal judiciary within our state had enough resources. I have been repeatedly told that we needed more resources. As a result I have introduced a variety of legislative measures, including new courthouse construction monies, to help alleviate the situation.

My conversations with Mr. Iglesias over the years have been almost exclusively about this resource problem and complaints by constituents. He consistently told me that he needed more help, as have many other New Mexicans within the legal community.

My frustration with the U.S. Attorney’s office mounted as we tried to get more resources for it, but public accounts indicated an inability within the office to move more quickly on cases. Indeed, in 2004 and 2005 my staff and I expressed my frustration with the U.S. Attorney’s office to the Justice Department and asked the Department to see if the New Mexico U.S. Attorney’s office needed more help, including perhaps an infusion of professionals from other districts.

This ongoing dialogue and experience led me, several months before my call with Mr. Iglesias, to conclude and recommend to the Department of Justice that New Mexico needed a new United States Attorney.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Heresy from a newspaper guy?

Editor & Publisher is the trade journal of the newspaper industry and its editor and writers are not easy on their sbuscribers. For one, they've been screaming for years about the lack of real journalistic coverage of why Iraq.

Now, one of E&P's columnists writes that he's actually canceled his subscription to the print edition of his local, hometown newspaper.

Columnist Steve Outing writes: "A print edition is no longer as relevant to our lives. We're flooded with information -- most of it free -- from the Web, e-mail, RSS feeds, podcasts, phone alerts, TV and radio news. Most of the information that comes in the daily print edition is not new to me. To continue to support the Camera's print edition would just delay the inevitable."

I've wondered about this, too. Before my early morning trek to my broadcast job, I trudge up the driveway to find the local newspaper print edition in order to thrown it closer to the house for my wife to read when she wakes up later.

A strange thought has crossed my mind any number of times as I've done this: That is, what if I had drivers drop off a recording this morning of what my news team broadcast yesterday? The morning newspaper certainly has some new stuff. But much of it is material gleaned from government press releases, and other sources, that we've already broadcast. Sometimes we do it in full, sometimes in brief. But 85% of the time, all local media are operating with info from the same sources.

Better yet -- instead of physically throwing a CD or a tape of yesterday's fullest broadcast in everyone's driveway, we post our most relevant stuff on our website, where it's accessible yesterday, today and tomorrow -- even next week.

My point is a broad generalization, of course. Santa Fe is blessed to have not one but two morning newspapers. They do a fine job. But so does KSFR, with much more meager resources.

The essential difference are style (they are restricted by theirs, we by ours) and immediacy.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I almost broke up reading this one on air

Strange but true. As a woman is freed after two years sitting on a toilet seat in Kansas, "the seat went with her to the hospital." Her legs had appeared to atrophy.

How reporters got the story here.

Friday, March 7, 2008

The world must be upside down

Two stories, same day. Were they from the same planet?

FIRST -- WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House says President Bush will veto legislation on Saturday that would have barred the CIA from using waterboarding - a technique that simulates drowning - and other harsh interrogation methods on terror suspects.

Then, incredibly -- WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush chastised most other countries Friday for "a sad and curious pattern" of doing little to speak out against human rights and political abuses in Cuba.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Questions that should have been asked five years ago

It's been five years this week since George W. Bush held a press conference on the runup to the Iraq invasion.

What questions should have been asked that night but were not? Our colleagues at Editor & Publisher, the newspaper trade magazine, raised the questions then and replay there here. It's worthwhile reading.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Circular blogs

Interesting how the blogsphere works.

First, I interview them.

Then, they quote me quoting them.

Then, I'm quoting them ... quoting me.

uh, oh: more media consolidation?

From the trade publication Editor and Publisher"

A bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday introduced a resolution to thwart a rule that loosens media ownership restrictions in the nation's 20 largest cities.

They fear the new rule would leave newspaper readers and TV viewers with fewer choices to get their information.

The "resolution of disapproval" was introduced by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., _ along with 13 Democratic and Republican co-sponsors _ to stop the Federal Communications Commission from implementing the new rule that the agency approved in December. The FCC released the formal order on Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It's been a year since ...

...I first wrote a memo. And the blogosphere continues to bring it up.

It was a memo to the news staff, asking them not to read wire service or newspaper stories with unattributed quotes by high administration officials talking about Iraq or any of the Axis of Evil powers. Why? There had been too many set-up stories, promoting the administration's agenda.

Was I ever surprised when that memo went around the world. It's still out there.

As I said at the time in a media interview: "Why am I being interviewed? I'm in the media, after all. Isn't this what we do -- check it out? Am I the only guy hanging out there alone?

Still, it's a curiosity that my memo is still being quoted, as in this blog, exactly a year later.

This public broadcasting trade magazinewrote about it at the time.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Needed: Pub broadcasting to separate from universities

When the Santa Fe Community College wanted to sell its public radio station license, the community rose up in arms. Out of that came the not-for-profit foundation that penned a management agreement with the college to operate KSFR radio independent of the rest of the college. The college retained the license.

We didn’t know it at the time, but this method of saving the radio station also gave it a great strength – its total independence.

More public broadcasting stations should examine whether they are truly independent under their current organization as part of a university or college. When crunch time comes, they may be under pressure from whatever administration is in charge of the school at the time.

Imagine the public broadcaster having to report, objectively, on a savory matter bubbling up inside the academic institution. Inevitably, there would be the pressure to succumb to playing the school’s tune about the matter.

There’s always the possibility the local college might try to strong-arm KSFR if push came to shove. But they wouldn’t get very far. We don’t work for them.

Now, public television in New Hampshire is splitting off from the University of New Hampshire to be an independent nonprofit. They don’t cover the point of journalistic independence in their statement about the move. But that’s what they’ll have. And that’s a mighty beneficial thing.

More public broadcasters should take this approach.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Why do newspapers "endorse" candidates?

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I've probably wondered this, too. But the tradition is so ingrained (I actually wait to read these endorsements), the thought in the back of my mind never fully marched forward into a question.

But now the editor of Time Magazine raises the question. And it's a good one.

An excerpt:

"How can a newspaper be objective on the front page when it endorses a candidate on the editorial page? They're dubious about whether the reporter who covers Hillary Clinton can be objective if his newspaper has endorsed Barack Obama — and vice versa. And they're right. At a time when newspapers are trying to ensure their survival by attracting younger readers, the idea of endorsements is both counterproductive and an anachronism. It's certainly the prerogative of newspapers and their owners to endorse candidates, but in doing so they are undermining the very basis for their business, which is impartiality. It's a recipe for having less influence, not more."

Read it here.

Monday, February 18, 2008

N.M. Superdelegates 2

It took some looking around to find it, but here's how New Mexico's superdelegates stand as of Feb. 14, 2008


Christine Trujillo MEMBERS-AT-LARGE




Democratic Governor
Bill Richardson

U.S. Senate
Jeff Bingaman

U.S. House of Representatives
Tom Udall

Brian Colon, state party chair

State's Total Number of Super Delegates: 11 with one yet to be named.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Gov. Bill finally speaks on "Super Delegates"

We've been asking the question: What if it's so tight a Democratic race for the presidential nomination that the party's nearly-800 superdelegates around the nation have to resolve the question? Some pundits predict a voter backlash if the final choice doesn't reflect the popular vote.

In New Mexico, about half of the state's superdelegates say they've already committed their support, and they did that before the final vote count was released.

No public statements yet to New Mexico media, but Gov. Bill Richardson tells the New York Times*** this weekend, "I just think there are too many superdelegates and I don’t think party bosses and elected officials should have the say they’re given today.” He goes on to say he hasn't yet decided who to support but believes it should be the candidate with the most popular votes.

And who are New Mexico's superdelegates?

Christine Trujillo MEMBERS-AT-LARGE

Democratic Governor
Bill Richardson

U.S. Senate
Jeff Bingaman

U.S. House of Representatives
Tom Udall

Distinguished Party Leader

State's Total Number of Super Delegates: 11

*** (Free registration required at the NYT)

Monday, February 11, 2008

5 years since Colin Powell's UN speech?

Times does fly. Greg Mitchell, editor of the newspaper trade journal Editor & Publisher reminds us that it's already the fifth anniversary of Colin Powell's persuasive speech to the UN about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Remember the image of George Tenet sitting behind him? Editor & Publisher's editor reminds newspaper editors this week that more than a dozen U.S. daily papers "signed on" to sell the war back in 2003.

How is it possible that the editor of a trade publication for the newspaper industry, and the news director for a small public radio station in New Mexico believed not one word of it?

Friday, February 8, 2008

Gov. Bill not a "spoiler" after all

Turns out New Mexicans were not asleep at the switch in large numbers. Gov. Bill got less than one-quarter of a percent of the total vote in the state's 2008 Democratic Presidential Caucus. He would have needed 15 percent to snare any delegates for the August Democrat National Convention.

But, then again, with the massive vote recount underway, who knows what the final tally will be?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

NYT still "coming clean" on Iraq

The New York Times is still trying to "come clean" years after I stopped reading it because of Judith Miller's shilling for the administration. They've already apologized for that.

Now, the public editor in her blog asks the question, why didn't the Times and other media write about criticism of media coverage of the Iraq occupation delivered by the general who was in charge of all forces in Iraq at the time of Abu Ghraib. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez delivered the media a rebuke in the same breath he blasted the administration for its "incompetent" management of the war.

Good question. Why not write about his comments on the media? The Times tries to explain it this way: "Sanchez is an important figure in the history of U.S. involvement in Iraq, and if his criticisms of the administration were worth front-page play, his criticisms of the news media were also worth reporting." See the full mea culpa.

Gov. Bill a spoiler in New Mexico on Feb 5?

How many votes will Gov. Bill Richardson take from Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama when New Mexico Dems go to the polls Feb. 5?

Probably some big part of 5,000 is our conjecture.

The New Mexico Democratic Party sent out about 5,000 absentee ballots, starting in December. Some pundits suggested Bill would have gotten a huge part of the party turnout if he had stayed in the race. But he pulled out January 10, probably after some of those absentee ballots had been mailed in.

Plus, he's still on the ballot for walk-in voting Feb. 5. Voters who've been asleep this past week just might mark him in.

So, a news angle we'll be following on Tuesday night is the vote for Bill, and how much it may subtract from the remaining two candidates.

KSFR 101.1 and KSFR.ORG streaming live will carry election returns beginning at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 5, with Bill Dupuy at the news desk, Dan Gerrity at a local watering hole popular among local politicos, and national coverage from Public Radio Interactive.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The stories (other) reporters miss

New Mexico Republican Sen. Pete Domenici under a possible senate ethics investigation.

They missed the story the first time when the senator first asked the Federal Election Commission to dig into his campaign warchest for funds to pay his own legal expenses in connection with the ethics committee probe and for his the defense of members of his staff. It's not unusual for a member of congress to be granted the use of such funds for his/her legal expenses. But it's unheard of to pay for the defense of staff.

The information was out there, and KSFR did an extensive interview with Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington. That was in early January.

Then in late January came word that the Federal Election Commission could not deliver a formal opinion because it lacks enough members for a quorum. KSFR reported that one, too, from readily available information.

A prominent U.S. senator on a possible ethics charge and no other reporter in New Mexico gets it?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Man bites dog 2

Another endorsement message. I've underlined the boilerplate similarities:

Associated Press - January 17, 2008 2:25 PM ET

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) - Mayor Martin Chavez on Thursday endorsed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president.

Chavez said New Mexico is ready for change, and Clinton will be ready to lead from day one in office.

He said she will be the best president for working families - a constituency he said has been ignored by President Bush....."

And from the earlier post:
Associated Press

"SANTA FE — Lt. Gov. Diane Denish today endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton in the presidential race, saying Clinton will make the best president and is best prepared to win in November.
"We have to have a leader whose ready to start doing things on day one and make change happen," said Denish, who backed Gov. Bill Richardson's bid for the Democratic nomination until he dropped out of the race last week...."

Man bites dog

Political endorsements are beginning to roll in. And it beats me why some of the media are actually carrying campaign "commercials" instead of news.

The old cliche is that news is defined as "man bites dog." With stories about endorsements, it appears to be more like "dog bites man." Is it a news story that yet another dog has bitten yet another man, with quotes about who, what, when and where?

I took part in the conference call announcing New Mexico Lt. Gov. Diane Denish's endorsement of Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. What else could Denish say about Hillary other than the expected platitudes?

Why report a campaign commerical -- these platitudes -- as news? Associated Press did:

"SANTA FE — Lt. Gov. Diane Denish today endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton in the presidential race, saying Clinton will make the best president and is best prepared to win in November.
"We have to have a leader whose ready to start doing things on day one and make change happen," said Denish, who backed Gov. Bill Richardson's bid for the Democratic nomination until he dropped out of the race last week.
"I've read her plans for the country," Denish told a conference call announcing the endorsement. "They're thoughtful, they're detailed, they're comprehensive. They're not just press announcements."
She praised Clinton's record of fighting for children and families, and said Clinton would help states obtain affordable health care and would negotiate to end the war in Iraq quickly and responsibly.
Denish, the first female lieutenant governor in New Mexico history, was Richardson's running mate in 2002 and when they won re-election in 2006.

During the conference call, I asked about and then reported on the possibility of a conflict between the lieutenant governor and the governor, should he choose to endorse another candidate.

In the "man bites dog" category, it would have been BIG NEWS if the lieutenant governor had instead endorsed a distant possibiity like Dennis Kucinich or, even more way out, a Republican. In a case like that, the reasons for the candidate's appeal would be real news, since the endorsement would have been totally out of the ordinary.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Democrat from Mexico?

My son once mailed a package to Santa Fe from Washington, D.C. The postal clerk starting looking up international mailing rates, unaware that New Mexico was in the U.S.

Popular New Mexico political blogger Joe Monahan caught C-Span in a similar gaffe. Note the tag under Gov. Bill Richardson.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Pub radio editorial standards

A debate is stirring about the public radio station in Athens, Ohio, refusing to broadast Amy Goodman's "Demoracy Now." I ran across the issue in the pub radio journal Current. A retired professor challenges the station's position that Amy's "DM" does not meet its editorial standards.

In a local newspaper op-ed, he writes: "I challenged WOUB's assertion that "Democracy Now" does not measure up to certain journalistic standards. With respect to journalistic standards, we wonder about WOUB's own journalistic standards, when the station recently accepted a $500,000 donation from Roger Ailes to help pay for a technologically advanced newsroom. Ailes is best known for his association with the right-wing Fox News Channel as news chairman and then, since 2005, as chairman of the Fox Television Stations Group.

"Additionally, my first analysis focused on the coverage of Secretary of State Colin Powell's address to the United Nations Security Council on Feb. 5, 2003, in which Powell marshaled the evidence for invading Iraq. "Democracy Now" had experts who expressed skepticism about Powell's evidence, while the guests on NPR and PBS largely accepted the evidence in favor of an invasion. I will be investigating coverage of other significant events in coming months."

FYI, KSFR does air Amy Goodman and as news director I've found less reason to question her slant on issues I know about than some of the majors.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Happy birthday, KSFR News

We've been at this for six years now, going on seven.

When we started, it was with a commitment to local broadcast news. The naysayers said it couldn't be done with a volunteer news staff.

Since then:

-- More than 18,000 hourly newscasts
-- Live broadcasts of every county, municipal and primary election returns
-- Staffers at both the Democratic and Republican national conventions in 2004
-- More than three dozen awards for excellence in broadcast journalism
-- Ongoing professional development of the largest broadcast news team in northern New Mexico -- from 8 to 12 people on average throughout the year
-- Four years of affiliation with BBC

We began with one computer for the entire radio station and a rudimentary Radio Shack telephone connection for getting phone interviews. I bought two cassette tape recorders and cable to dub/edit tape from one to the other. Thanks to contributions, we've been able to add numerous computers, high-quality telephone connections, sophisticated audio software and super remote broadcast equipment.

It's been a wild ride. And there's more to come.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Osama dead? part 2

The BBC has finally said something about the missing sentence in the Frost-Bhutto interview.

Website Editor Steve Herrman blogs Jan. 4, 2008, that "Ms Bhutto made what was, on the face of it, an astonishing allegation - that Osama Bin Laden had been murdered by Omar Sheikh. The claim was brief, and went unchallenged by Sir David Frost. Under time pressure, the item producer responsible for publishing the video on the BBC website edited out the comment, with the intention of avoiding confusion. The claim appeared so unexpected that it seemed she had simply mis-spoken. However, editing out her comment was clearly a mistake, for which we apologise, and it should not have happened."

Astonishing equals "news" any day of the week.

If the video editor paused because this "astonishing revelation" (even "on the face of it") appeared to be news, then the intervening two months should have seen some fact-checking by BBC.

We can therefore assume these facts will be presented when the fully restored video is re-posted to the BBC website.

Correct assumption, Mr. Herrmann?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Top KSFR web views of 2007

I just took a look at the stats for the most viewed stories on KSFR.Org Local News for the full year 2007. Thousands hit these stories.

1: Dec. 19 Tom Udall on LANL job cuts (Podcast) Congressman Tom Udall on job cuts at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
He tells KSFR the current round of job cuts at the Los Alamos National Laboratory is the result of the lab's privatization. He also points to how the lab might diversify its scientific work.

2. Aug. 28 At Noon midday report (Podcast)
Congressman Tom Udall who wanted the US Attorney General impeached says Alberto Gonzales' troubles may not be behind him, even though he's quit his job.

Plus, Gov. Bill Richardson is spending a whale of a lot of money in Iowa. A news report says he may be among the big spenders there.
And we'll talk with a former staff writer for the Albuquerque Tribune as we learn that that afternoon newspaper may be changing hands or worse shutting its presses.

3. Dec. 4 Privatization at the Los Alamos national lab (Podcast)
The question has to be raised - is privatization of the Los Alamos National Lab working? The lab is planning to get rid of as many as 750 jobs - equal to $100 million off the budget. Perhaps coincidentally that number equals the profit the management company was promised to get for managing the lab under the new privatization set up, plus a good portion of the extra gross receipts sales taxes it has to pay because, unlike the previous contract holder, it is a for-profit partnership. We put the question to New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman - is privatization of the lab working?

4. Aug. 2 At Noon midday report (Podcast) We talk with the state Motor Vehicle Division about the new drivers license rules.

Cockfighting in New Mexico is now illegal. But what about dog fighting?

Congressman Tom Udall on why he's co-sponsoring a resolution to impeach the U.S. Attorney General.

5 Meet KSFR's news team (Video)

6. Sept. 4 At Noon midday report (Podcast) Did New Mexico's largest utility use the same accounting methods as that famous bankrupt Houston company named Enron?

A Santa Fe-based Think Tank is urging state lawmakers to dump a state law that has the state Public Regulation Commission set the rates for homeowner title insurance.

Good news for Santa Fe bicyclists.

We hear from the oldest rider taking part in the Great Santa Fe Trail horse race.

Aug. 22 At Noon midday report (Podcast)

About those credit cards in your wallet or purse - they could be costing you extra money.

Sheriff Greg Solano wants a new job - he'll tell us about his run for the job of lieutenant governor.

An environmentalist explains the problems he sees with New Mexico's latest foray into renewable energy.

And the former federal prosecutor for New Mexico has signed a book deal about his wrangles with the Bush administration.

8. Polling places -- School Board election

9. Supervisor of troubled Texas nuclear plant moved to Los Alamos (Podcast)"

The federal official in charge of overseeing a Texas nuclear-weapons plant where workers are complaining about safety issues has been transferred to oversee the Los Alamos National Laboratory's nuclear weapons operations.
Los Alamos Site Office Manager Dan Glenn has not returned our call for comment. But we talk to a watchdog group about charges critical of the Texas facility that were aired in a Los Angeles Times article.

10. Dec. 14: KSFR News files complaint against Santa Fe County Commission"

KSFR's letter of protest over a county commissioner's holding a closed-door meeting (no media invited or allowed in).

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Osama dead?

We are interested in news outside Santa Fe, though we don't pretend to be able to cover it and, so, we don't broadcast much if any of it from our local newsroom. We rely on BBC for that.

But a mention by Air America's Thom Hartmann of a Benazir Bhutto interview by David Frost got our attention. So we researched it.

Frost does BBC interviews and has a program on Al Jazeera English television. He talked with Bhutto after she survived a November 2007 assassination attempt. In the interview she makes an incredible claim -- that Osama bin Laden was murdered and she knew who did it.

We took a look at the video that Al Jazeera posted on its section on You Tube (yes, they are legitimate Al Jazeera videos). Then we compared it with a version of that same interview posted by the BBC on the BBC News website. BBC cut out the mention of Osama's murder and the name of the person Bhutto said murdered Osama.

Why? We'll try to find someone at BBC to answer that question, if we can.

Meanwhile, here's a typewritten transcipt of Bhutto's statement on Al Jazeera. We have underlined the sentence that did not appear in the BBC version:

Frost: These three people you mentioned, were they members of or associated with the government?

Bhutto: Yes, well one of them is a very key figure in security. He's a former military officer. He's someone who has had dealings with (she names a name and a group whom we could not understand the names of) who was in an Indian jail for decapitating three British tourists and three American tourists. And he also had dealings with Omar Sheikh, the man who murdered Osama bin Laden. Now I know having dealings with people does not necessarily mean having direct evidence....

Compare the two videos yourself.

The reference begins at 6:00 minutes into the Al Jazeera video.

The reference begins 5:00 minutes into the BBC video.