Monday, March 31, 2008

Investigating Siegelman Censorship In Alabama

Ex-Governor Don Siegelman is on his way out of jail following the overwhelming amount of new evidence in the case. So now that Don is on the road to vindication and Karl Rove is on his way into being investigated for his role in the matter, some people are turning their eye back to Huntsville, Alabama and the local CBS affiliate that censored the 60 Minutes special covering the case. Some of those people work at the Federal Communications Commission.

From Southern Studies:

Remember the curious glitch that prevented a CBS affliliate in northern Alabama from airing the recent 60 Minutes' report -- and that report only -- on the politics behind the controversial prosecution of former Gov. Don Siegelman? Well, the Federal Communications Commission has launched an inquiry into the incident, Reuters reports:
The FCC issued a "notice of inquiry" to WHNT, a CBS affiliate in Huntsville, Alabama, in connection with an outage that cut off a segment of the February 24 broadcast of "60 Minutes," an FCC spokeswoman said.

WHNT, which has blamed the black-out on equipment failure, has 30 days to respond with an explanation of what happened in the incident.
The inquiry came at the request of Commissioner Michael Copps, one of two Democratic appointees on the five-member body. The agency's chairman, Kevin Martin, is a Republican.

WHNT is owned by an investment firm whose founder's family has close ties to the Bushes, and it's managed by Local TV, a company headed by a former Clear Channel Communications executive and major Bush contributor. After initially blaming the blackout on a CBS transmission problem, the station management has since maintained that the problem was caused at the receiving end by an equipment failure that cut off the feed. The station later re-aired the segment twice.

It is good of WHNT to re-air the broadcast, but it seems that they only did this under intense pressure from the outside world. That whole "transmission problem" is a crock of shit and the fact that the station has ties to the Bushes (and subsequently Karl Rove) leads many to be suspicious of why the affiliate went to the level of censorship.