Sunday, February 24, 2008

Alabama TV Station BLOCKS 60 Minutes Siegelman Broadcast

CBS: More Prosecutorial Misconduct in Siegelman Case Alleged

CBS aired its long-awaited feature on the prosecution and imprisonment of former Alabama Governor Don E. Siegelman this evening at 7:00. In a stunning move of censorship, the transmission was blocked across the northern third of Alabama by CBS affiliate WHNT, which is owned by interests of the Bass Family.

----

Off the Air in Alabama
I am now hearing from readers all across Northern Alabama—from Decatur to Huntsville and considerably on down—that a mysterious “service interruption” blocked the broadcast of only the Siegelman segment of 60 Minutes this evening. The broadcaster is Channel 19 WHNT, which serves Northern Alabama and Southern Tennessee.

This station was noteworthy for its hostility to Siegelman and support for his Republican adversary. The station ran a trailer stating “We apologize that you missed the first segment of 60 Minutes tonight featuring ‘The Prosecution of Don Siegelman.’ It was a techincal problem with CBS out of New York.”

I contacted CBS News in New York and was told that “there is no delicate way to put this: the WHNT claim is not true. There were no transmission difficulties.

The problems were peculiar to Channel 19, which had the signal and had functioning transmitters.” I was told that the decision to blacken screens across Northern Alabama “could only have been an editorial call.”

Channel 19 is owned by Oak Hill Capital Partners, who can be contacted through Rhonda Barnat, 212-371-5999 or rb@abmac.com. Oak Hill Partners represents interests of the Bass family, which contribute heavily to the Republican Party.

Viewers displeased about the channel’s decision to censor the broadcast should express their views directly to the station management or to the owners.


*************************

Here's WHNT-TV's latest statement:

We apologize that you missed the first segment of 60 Minutes tonight featuring a report titled, "The Prosecution of Don Siegelman."

NewsChannel 19 lost our program feed from CBS. Upon investigation, WHNT has learned that the CBS receiver that allows us to receive programming from CBS failed. WHNT engineers responded as quickly as possible to restore the feed at 6:12 p.m.

Our sincere apologies to our viewers across the Tennessee Valley.

To correct the problem, we will re-air the broadcast of that segment during NewsChannel 19 at 10 Sunday night.

You can also watch the interview on the CBS website.

1 comment:

ras said...

Will the FCC get involved to determine any mis-conduct by WHNT?