(Paul Jacob) – The campaign of U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller seems to have been at least twice targeted as November 2 approached.
In one case, questionable doings came to light after a reporter with CBS Anchorage affiliate KTVA forgot to turn off his phone after leaving a message with a campaign spokesman. Newsroom reporters then chatted about how to sabotage Miller’s campaign — for example, by finding that “one person” among campaign supporters who is a child molester. The station claims that a recording of the incident gives a “misleading” impression.
Then we have the campaign of Senator Lisa Murkowski, Miller’s opponent, acting to kick conservative talk-show host Don Fagan off the air.
After the Alaska Division of Elections aided Murkowski’s write-in campaign by deciding to distribute lists of write-in candidates at polling places, a listener said he had now become a registered write-in candidate himself. Fagan then suggested — on-air, as part of his regular talk programming — that other listeners might want to do the same. Uh oh. The station fired him after the incumbent’s campaign threatened to sue the station for so-called “electioneering.”
Compare the two cases. It’s fine for any media outlet to push its political opinions — but not to fabricate smears. It’s fine for candidates to make any complaint they wish to media outlets — but not to coercively curdle speech they happen to abhor.
I say, the wrong man got axed.