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MediaNews station accused of fabrication

When a controversy erupted in Alaska about whether a CBS TV affiliate was plotting to fabricate a negative story about a U.S. Senate candidate, CBS News quickly issued a statement saying it didn’t own the station in question. CBS News emphasized KTVA in Anchorage, which brands itself as “CBS 11,” is only an affilate.

Who owns KTVA? The license is held by a trust controlled by MediaNews Group, also owner of the San Jose Mercury News and several other Bay Area newspapers. The CEO of MediaNews is Dean Singleton, who is also chairman of The Associated Press. KTVA is Singleton’s only TV station.

So far Singleton hasn’t weighed in on the controversy.

According to local news reports and the LA Times, KTVA’s news director and a reporter were inadvertently recorded on a voicemail recording left for Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller when the news director failed to terminate a call (like the Jerry Brown incident where one of his aides was caught on tape calling Meg Whitman a whore).

On the tape, the news director and an unidentified reporter talk about whether they can find a Miller campaign supporter who was a registered sex offender.

The reporter says, “We know that out of all the people that will show up tonight, at least one of them will be a registered sex offender.”

That is followed by a male voice, believed to be the news director: “You have to find that one person. …”

The station hasn’t disputed authenticity of the tape, but General Manager Jerry Bever said the comments were taken out of context.

“The group of KTVA news personnel was reviewing potential ‘what-if’ scenarios, discussing the likelihood of events at the rally and how KTVA might logistically disseminate any breaking news,” Bever said in a statement.

Given that Miller is a Republican, did former governor Sarah Palin jump into the controversy? You betcha. On “Fox News Sunday,” she said the tape proves the station’s news staff are “corrupt bastards.”

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