Steven Harmon of the Contra Costa Times reports that Meg Whitman’s opponents are accusing her of trying to manipulate the media by providing selective footage of a campaign event to television stations around the state.
Whitman has advised television stations in all markets that she will be providing footage for events they are unable to attend for the rest of the campaign. The campaign sent its first footage Tuesday — eight minutes from a Riverside event in which she is shown talking to an audience.
Republican primary rival Steve Poizner’s campaign called it another attempt by Whitman to buy the election.
The Coco Times says Whitman spent 40 minutes Tuesday being interviewed by four TV stations through a satellite hookup the campaign engineered by hiring a satellite truck, at $5,000 for half a day.
KPIX was one of the stations that refused to take Whitman’s video feed. News director Dan Rosenheim said taking video feeds directly from campaigns raises ethical considerations:
- “It’s an issue of balance,” Rosenheim said. “If a candidate can provide large quantities of material through their ability to pay for it, is there the risk that station’s coverage becomes unbalanced in that candidate’s favor?”
- He also said he believes smaller stations with fewer resources would be tempted to use the material, which, while not prepackaged in a story form, is edited carefully by the Whitman campaign.
- “It was edited in the sense they decided what to include and what not to include,” Rosenheim said. “It has the potential to create some very unbalanced coverage. In our case, we’re not going to use that, and hopefully news stations in general won’t.”