CITIZEN COMMENTS ON SAM REED vs. KIRO7 COMPLAINT
(NOTE: The following people voted and commented in the WNC’s “virtual hearing” as part of a Citizens Online News Council. Identifications are included when known.)
This station does not care. They have some outstanding people on the
air like Steve Raible and others. This is one reporter and one news director
I am making a criticism about….A hurtful and stupid example of a bad
performance by a reporter who carries the mantle of public trust. The
reporter failed and so did the news director who must have been asleep
at the wheel as they say….KIRO TV News Director, Reporter, and General
Manager should come clean and be a good example by admitting that a journalist
made a mistake...a big scam of a mistake.
Given the hypersensitivity of Washington state voters following the
2004 Gubernatorial election recounts and lawsuits, KIRO knew full well
how volatile the topic was. The election-eve timing of the report and
the unwillingness to do better fact-checking or to include rebutting
comments from state officials leaves one to seriously question their
sense of responsibility for fair or accurate reporting.
It was sad that KIRO did not learn from the earlier incident which had
many of the same flaws.They do many positive things but these incidents
harm their credibility which is ultimately their most precious asset.
KIRO should be forced to retract the story, admit wrongdoing and do
so each day for a month on all the news shows
Your intent to have this case used in "mock trials" at high
schools and colleges is tremendous. It will be as effective as the Oriental
method of drip water torture on KIRO.
This case deserves coverage in media journals to show how careless coverage
KIRO was clearly cautioned about checking its facts, but seemed more
driven by getting a sensational story than by being accurate….In all
media companies, the CEO is the ultimate custodian of the company's image
for truth, accuracy and integrity. And for whatever incomprehensible
reason, KIRO's management has chosen to delegate the future of its news
business to an inept employee protected by the immediate superior whose
only gain is in protecting the employee he supported and put on the street.
The most grievous and unfathomable ineptitude is that of management,
which thus put its stamp of approval on this unacceptable display of "journalism."
This story is totally backwards. Even if the information is correct,
Washington's numbers are much lower than those of other areas given in
the story. Washington appears to be doing very well. Given that nothing
is perfect, this should have been a story about the good job being done
I watch KIRO/CBS most often of the major networks. This story, and more
importantly how KIRO handled the complaint by Sec of State Reed is very
troubling and has hurt the credibility of KIRO's news department and
Cox Broadcasting should be ashamed of this and Chris Halsne is the worst
reporter I have ever observed in nearly 50 years of being in or around
the news business. I have no idea why so many otherwise decent people
associate themselves with this dirtbag.
This has damaged my ability to believe KIRO...their credibility has
been damaged...Chris Halsne’s personality is much too negative to have
this investigative role at the news station.
We've stopped watching KIRO news.
KIRO and other media should strive to present both sides of controversial
stories and keep one sided opinions on the editorial page.
I no longer watch KIRO-TV. In these times (nor at any time) we do not
need news organizations intentionally distorting facts to make their
purported investigations seem important.
KIRO's behavior is dishonest and disgusting. KIRO has lost all credibility
Like most of the sensational news the TV media thrives on publishing,
the record can never be totally 'made right' for the objects of the story….Too
bad that common sense is not common to some -- in this case both the
reporter and station; from my point of view there is not another public
official with the record of honesty and integrity shown by Sam Reed during
his lifetime of public service; shame on KIRO for allowing a shadow to
be cast on Sam Reed and his exemplary career and then failing to promptly
retract the mis-statements contained therein!
This story with all its falsehoods was very damaging to the electoral
process because it came after the very poor performance of King County
elections staff in other recent elections.
With the loss of a major print media (the P. I.) TV and radio news are
going to have to put more effort into making sure that their facts are
straight and accurate.
TV sensationalism serves no purpose, except maybe to temporarily inflate
ratings. What's worse is KIRO’s failure to admit its errors.
Grossly inaccurate and misleading. KIRO's behavior is dishonest and
disgusting. KIRO has lost all credibility with me.
It would appear KIRO was going for the sensational side of they story
that would incite a particular block of voters who already hold a bias
against the Secretary of State and his office. This is an injustice to
the office of the Secretary of State, an affront to the voting and news-watching
public, and certainly not journalism. Thank you for ferreting out the
real story. I only wish the rest of KIRO's audience could know "the
rest of the story."
Very poor ethics on KIRO's part. Like most of the sensational news the
TV media thrives on publishing, the record can never be totally “made
right” for the objects of the story. Too bad that common sense is not
common to some -- in this case both the reporter and station. From my
point of view there is not another public official with the record of
honesty and integrity shown by Sam Reed during his lifetime of public
service; shame on KIRO for allowing a shadow to be cast on Sam Reed and
his exemplary career and then failing to promptly retract the misstatements
The news coverage was short on facts and accuracy. I rather think KIRO
failed to do sufficient research. Remember the newsroom credo: “Your
mother loves you. Check it!” KIRO damaged credibility of our election
process and of government with shoddy and special interest reporting.
KIRO did not do us proud! Nice service, Washington News Council!
KIRO's conduct issuing these stories and its arrogance in refusing to
retract them when confronted with overwhelming evidence that the stories
were patently untrue has undermined my confidence in ALL local broadcast
news reporting. As Richard Nixon begat an entire generation of
political cynics, KIRO risks destroying the credibility of all local
broadcast news, especially news "reported" by KIRO.
The stories were unconscionable lapses in basic journalistic fairness.
The average informed voter struggles to understand the issues and the
candidates. Misinformation like this makes their struggle much
more difficult….What a disgrace on the part of KIRO.
KIRO should understand its business is to report the news, not manipulate
the news to sell to viewers….All these misrepresentations are why I never
Sadly, this is a commentary on the state of journalism. Bad news,
inflammatory news, will hold peoples prurient interest. But KIRO
wants to sell advertising, not report the truth!
KIRO's credibility has been severely damaged by their unwillingness
to correct these stories. Halsne should be fired.
That KIRO removed the story from their web amounts to retraction.
They should have done more research. I think they should make a public
announcement that they were not accurate in their reporting and state
the inaccuracies for all to see and hear.
The coverage was not fair and balanced. The coverage was misleading.
This was utterly amazing. It illustrates exactly why the data upon which
they relied was utterly unreliable. This must be the most amazingly irresponsible
story I've encountered.
Perhaps they need to spend a little more time on fact verification.
At best sloppy, but more likely biased sensationalism. Trust is everything
I believe that Secretary Reed's clarification of law indicates KIRO
didn't tell the whole story. Secretary Reed wasn't given an opportunity
to clarify, only a short sound bite.Even before reading Reed's response
I questioned the methodology and lists used by KIRO. Bad data in means
bad data out. These types of TV "investigative" reports are
intended to raise ratings by inciting viewer outrage, not to legitimately
investigate and inform about the true situation.
Shame on you KIRO -- I thought you had more integrity! You should pay
a hefty fine or contribute $100,000 to the Heritage Center!
I don’t see how making up lies to broadcast is acting in the public’s
best interest. Guilty.
Rather typical sensationalized reporting.
Why doesn't KIRO use its energies to investigate ACORN's perversion
of the U.S. electoral process?
Now that the Washington News Council has shed light on the stories’
accuracy, we are angry with KIRO. This type of reporting is inexcusable;
the public was deliberately misled at a time when emotions around these
two issues were in hyper gear. Halsne, Mokhtari, and Benson should all
be fired; Lerner should issue a public apology –- on air and in a media
advisory. I will never trust KIRO, even if they do publicly apologize
to the Secretary of State.
KIRO gave in to a need to be sensational. They also damaged their own
credibility and reputation. Pretty stupid.
It is irresponsible to use uncorroborated information to further damage
the fragile confidence in the electoral process.
They tried to capitalize on a citizen’s misunderstanding of her status,
rather than conduct honest research. They seem to only be interested
in sensationalized complaints about government, and to play on peoples'
fears of wrongdoing, rather than honestly portraying the truth. I'm shocked
to read that the voter's mother called the reporter's attention to the
fact that her son had the same name as her husband, and the reporter
ignored the facts, again to try to play on peoples' fears. I have yet
to see a television "news" team recant an incorrect report.
Printed media does this on a regular basis. Shameful! [KIRO] has done
much harm to the television media as a news source. When will they realize
they shoot themselves in the foot too?
While it may be true that the WNC can't force KIRO to change its ways,
it would seem from these factually inaccurate, inflammatory and unbalanced
news stories, that KIRO as a broadcast station is failing in its obligation
to the public to keep us informed. Perhaps the FCC could have more of
an impact the next time their broadcast license comes up for renewal.
Sam Reed is not a saint but this is smear tactics based upon false information.
KIRO 7 owes both the Secretary of State, the taxpayers and voters of
Washington, and Tracy Joy Williamson an apology, and possibly restitution….It
is possible that some of the errors were unintentional -- but KIRO 7
should be professional enough to double- and triple-check before airing
the story, and to admit the error when it is pointed out! My tax dollars
are being wasted by the Secretary of State's office having to go through
The news media frequently distorts facts and sensationalizes stories. Omitting
facts or blatantly lying isn't that uncommon.
The fact that KIRO refuses to defend its stories leads me to believe
they know they are wrong. Chris Halsne should probably be disciplined
KIRO TV, as well as the other mainstream press, rarely, if ever, conduct
themselves in a responsible and unbiased fashion….The mainstream media,
by and large, never admit malfeasance or misfeasance, regardless of how
blatant or grotesque. Recall the thoroughly debunked "stories" by
Thorough verification of ballots is the cornerstone of a responsible
democratic voting system. HOWEVER, such an inquiry must be both complete
in pursuing all available information and non-partisan in the way the
facts are presented. KIRO's coverage was neither. The programs appeared
instead to sensationalize the topic and mislead the viewers on an issue
of major importance.
Thanks to the Washington News Council for trying to keep the press honest
and accurate. In a free society, accuracy of reporting and fairness of
coverage is a necessity. Press responsibility and acknowledgment of mistakes
will only add credibility to press coverage, and generate confidence
in the news stories we read, see and hear.
This is a vote against KIRO in this matter.
I would say that the damage was done to the state -- and the democracy
in which we live. Election officials are working for us, and it is our
confidence that has been damaged….[This was] an extremely interesting
KIRO only scratched the surface. Probably fearful that taking it to
true research levels would damage the sensationalism of their story.
They knew that further in-depth research would make the story less of
a story….Amazing disregard for the facts. Totally ignored the truth….KIRO
ignored much of the factual information presented in the meetings with
the Secretary of State and reported only what they (KIRO) wanted to report
to make the story more inflammatory….This person claims to be an investigive
reporter? Wow! Nothing could be further from truth….This was blatant
disregard for accurate and factual reporting in order to seemingly evoke
wrath upon the Secretary State's office...on the eve of an election.
The timing of the stories further would suggest the intent was to rile
TV news is not news. It is entertainment. "If it bleeds,
it leads." This just further enhances the reputation of the "newsies" as
being a waste of time.
It was sensationalized -- some facts were distorted, others were just
plain wrong, and some were ignored as they did not substantiate the story.
KIRO went through the motions -- that's all. This was a shame. Sam Reed's
office has done a great job trying to get the voters rolls cleaned up.
There will always be errors, but this report "created" errors
to substantiate a story that was not based upon facts, but based upon
the writer's idea. He manipulated data and made up facts to flesh out
his story. KIRO has a rogue reporter on their hands -- he has been caught
before -- weaving a web of lies and half-truths to fit his story. This
is not reporting, it is fiction at its worst, because real names and
institutions are used to further this reporter's taste for scandal. KIRO
needs to clean house, and find an investigative reporter who can tell
fact from fiction.
NOTE: THE FOLLOWING PEOPLE SIDED WITH KIRO7 AND CRITICIZED REED:
The reporter appears to have exercised due diligence and reported his
findings in a proper manner….The principal point of the [story] was not
the individual voters, but the omission of registered felons who committed
their crimes before the database was put on line. The credibility of
the Secretary of State's office was diminished by this act, not the story….The
reporter stated his findings. If subsequent facts, of which he was not
aware, change these findings, then it would be proper to revise the story
of remove it. This was done….If the reporter was aware of facts that
could cast doubt on his findings prior to publication, he should publish
these with his story. This does not appear to be the case here….The reputation
of election officials was severely damaged as a result of the irregularities
that came to light in the 2004 gubernatorial recounts. These stories
did not help that reputation, but did not damage it further….The KIRO
reporter appears to have done due diligence in the publication of the
subject stories. Afterward they were presented with information that
countered some, but not all of the facts presented in the stories. They
subsequently removed the stories. The facts of the two stories appear
to support the underlying electoral problems highlighted by the stories.
It appears that two of the anecdotal cases used to illustrate the problems
had problems. The latter does not negate the truth of the former.
It was absolutely dead on. Reed has ALWAYS wanted felon voting to make
HIS administrative life easier. He's done nothing to address the issue,
and insured that tens of thousands of felon voters received ballots in
the last election. THOUSANDS of felon voters got ballots. He's had EIGHT
years to fix this, and he's done nothing. If accurate coverage "damages," then
Sam is joking, isn't he? I would bet there are STILL dead and felon
voters on the rolls. Until we have a chip installed, there will be errors
on official records regarding individuals. Even the Feds are having trouble
finding my military records. Sam and his office have come a long way,
but not far enough to believe this story rated formal charges on the
reporter. Back to work; quit wasting time with complaining. Someday they
might report there are NO dead voters!