Sat
Jul 15 2006
09:56 am

When it comes to sensational news no station can hold a candle to WATE.

WATE television news had another sensational news story where it made a production out of getting the story wrong. The story involved a debate in Halls Thursday evening with the Women’s League that the Sheriff was not able to attend because of a prior commitment. This is interesting since on Gene Patterson’s WATE blog the public was recently asked what could be done to make local television news better. Most people responded that WATE is too sensational in the reporting of the news. Was WATE sincere when they asked the public for their opinions?

On the 11:00 PM news on Friday WATE reporter Adam Longo had an exclusive phone call with Martha Dooley public information officer of the Knox County Sheriff’s Department. What was not clear is whether Dooley knew that the phone call was being recorded on videotape and would appear on television later. In fact Dooley asked Longo how he had found her private cell phone number. From both the television news broadcast and WATE’s website it appeared that Dooley was not aware her phone call with Adam Longo was being recorded.

As Longo held a cell phone in his hand Dooley could be on the cell speakerphone while video cameras rolled:

"We never told anyone where the sheriff was, Adam," she told Adam Longo.

"I didn't pull the information out of thin air," Longo responded.

"At no point did anyone ever tell you, that I'm aware of, that the sheriff was at Austin East. You made it up Adam. You made it up and are trying to cover your tracks is what you're trying to do," said Dooley.

A glance at Longo's reporter's notes taken before and during the debate prominently show the name of the sheriff's legal advisor and debate stand-in, Mike Ruble. Immediately following that notation is an arrow pointing towards the words "civic meeting at Austin East."

"Mike Ruble says he didn't say that," said Dooley.

On their website WATE has the first story that was aired Thursday evening where more sensational reporting claimed that the Sheriff lied about where he was during the debate. According to WATE the Sheriff said he was at an event at Austin East High School. WATE sent a camera crew to Austin East and reported that at 7:05 PM the school was deserted. The implication was that the Sheriff had lied. The actual event was at Vine Middle School and is an annual event that is a cookout for over 200 young children who are in the Baby Road Runners Football Leagues.

Instead of airing a correction WATE chose to have Adam Longo stalk Martha Dooley. Longo said he got the information from Mike Ruble and it is not his fault. Then he became agitated and repeatedly said to Dooley "I think it's preposterous to suggest that I made something up Martha.”

None of the other Knoxville television stations reported this story nor did the Knoxville News Sentinel. This is news you heard first on Six.

The final note is this is this entry from Gene Patterson on his blog at WATE.

You would think that would be enough mistakes in one news broadcast. Later in the Friday 11:00 PM program WATE confused Ed Bryant with Harold Ford. A picture was shown with three U.S. Senate candidates. It was supposed to be the three Republican candidates. The first picture was Bob Corker, the second was Van Hillary, and the third was Harold Ford. The third picture should have been Ed Bryant.

Can WATE get anything right?

Knoxquerious's picture

Sheriff is a Liar

Sensationalism? If that is what you want to call it fine. Other local news outlets were reporting on this (WVLT) so it's not your conspiracy filled mind WATE is picking on the sheriff stuff. If the "other civic duty" has been an annual event, and the debate was scheduled months ago then he should have let the Women League of Voters know earlier than 15 minutes before the debate. He will not disclose his taxes, and I am not talking about his paycheck because they are different. Sensationalism....LMAO

 

Rachel's picture

Oh, piffle.  Somebody make

Oh, piffle.  Somebody make an honest mistake about the Austin-East/Vine thing.  Either Mike Ruble said it wrong or Adam Longo got it wrong.  BFD.

The real question - as Gene Patterson points out - is why Shurf Tim said he'd be at Halls and then didn't show up.  I haven't heard him address that yet.  If he just messed up, he should say so.  Even such exalted beings as the Shurf occasionally mess up.

Yeah, the media sometimes beats up on Hutchison.  But he not only deserves it, he often goes out of his way to invite it.

Launching a broadside against Channel 6 on the county-funded website is just silly.  Shurf Tim thinks he's King of Knox County.  He's not, and it's time people like the digit stop acting like he is.

Number9's picture

The important issue is did

The important issue is did Martha Dooley know her phone call with Adam Longo was being recorded and would be broadcast? I am thinking if this had happened to you or me that it would be a big deal.

The film of an empty parking lot is a big deal. It conveyed an incorrect image. It made a suggestion that there was no event.

Rachel's picture

The important issue is did

The important issue is did Martha Dooley know her phone call with Adam Longo was being recorded and would be broadcast?

Piffle again.  Martha Dooley is the sheriff's spokesperson, who was speaking with someone who clearly identified himself as a reporter.  I didn't hear her go "off the record."  Anything she said was a matter of public record.

Look, I agree that WATE is often over the top lately with its "investigative" reporting.  But I still haven't heard the sheriff explain why he said he'd be at the debate and then didn't show up.  That's a fair question for reporters to ask, and for the folks who showed up to want answered.

Angela's picture

How is the digit 9 aka Mike

How is the digit 9 aka Mike Mitchell going to take back the government if he doesnt take it from the high and mighty sheriff? On this one he blames the media for asking tough questions. Cmon Mike, you are beyond a hypocrite.

Oren Incandenza's picture

Sigh.

Local TeeVee vs. His Holiness Hutchison, Round 2,762.  Two lousy tastes that taste lousy together.

Gemini nails it: the real story here is why His Holiness no-showed.  And I suspect it's because he doesn't want anyone to see precisely how bad he looks when he has to stand next to Tyree.

Jim Smith's picture

Double posting

This same post from #9 was made at Saysuncle.com. Though I can understand why there's a desire to reach a larger audience, double posting makes it a little difficult to respond. Rather than repeat myself, I'll refer you to: (link...)
Anonymous's picture

Number 9 is truly amazing.

Number 9 is truly amazing. All the hundreds of postings about how the media is of one mind with the powers and all of the nonsense about how he is the great asker of questions from the powerful and he turns out to be the biggest buttboy for the most powerful elected official in the county. Very very interesting. Why again is it that you never voted mr. digit? And not a word about the sheriff dodging the debate with the next winner Mr. Tyree.

Number9's picture

Say Uncle update

(link...)

Jim wrote:

UPDATE: I have confirmed with Adam Longo that he told Ms. Dooley he was recording their conversation. In fact, he says, he told her twice and she acknowledged that she understood she was being recorded.

Thank you for confirming that Jim. It was that segment that disturbed me.

Jim wrote:

As for your statement, “It would have been a good idea to double check that before sending a film crew out to film an empty parking lot,” I have to ask this: When the sheriff’s personal representative tells us where the sheriff is, how much more checking would we need to make. Is it not reasonable to presume his information is accurate? He was the sheriff’s spokesman.

I saw the film of Adam Longo's reporter's notebook. It was very brief, the words "Mike Ruble" followed by an arrow, the next line was "Austin East" followed by an arrow. That is not very much detail. Considering what Sandra Clark wrote in the Halls News I wish those notes were more detailed.

"Essentially, a reporter overheard someone say Hutchison was at an event at Austin-East High School. He called the station which sent a camera crew to A-E. No sheriff. It was a Channel 6 “gotcha” moment.

But the Sheriff was actually at a cookout for the Austin-East grasscutters, a youth football program, at Vine Middle School. Witnesses included NAACP president Dewey Roberts and former A-E principal Marion Quinn.

The station that finds it easy to say “We got it first” cannot find words to say “We got it wrong,” so score another win for Shurf Tim. Tyree was simply lost in the dust.

Is it possible that your reporter did not understand that the Austin-East grasscutters were having a cookout at Vine Middle School? That would be easy to do. From the brief notes in the reporters notebook it seems that could be possible.

Thanks for finding out about the phone conversation. I think it would have helped if the viewers knew Martha Dooley gave permission for the phone conservation.

Anonymous's picture

To Knoxquerious:As far as I

To Knoxquerious:

As far as I can tell, WVLT only reported the sheriff had another "committment to a civic organization"...and said nothing about where the sheriff was. WATE seems to have pulled their information on the sheriff's whereabouts from thin air.

Knoxquerious's picture

To Anonymous

If WATE did pull A-E up out of thin air, that was a pretty good guess that he was at Vine with students from A-E. Honestly I don't really care where Diane Jordan wanted to put him for the debate, he knew all along he was not going to show the day after Tyree challenged him on his income taxes. True, WVLT did not say exactly where he was, but I am sure they asked and chose not to specify. All local news outlets have a tendency to act shady when dealing with the sheriff. The fact of the matter is the "civic duty" was an annual event (according to the sheriff) and the debate had been scheduled for months in advance. To cancel moments before was inexcusable on the sheriffs part. I am sure folks around here appreciate the fact he cares for the children, but I think the voters of Knox County would have rather seen him at the debate, don't you?

Number9's picture

There were two news reports on WATE

If WATE did pull A-E up out of thin air, that was a pretty good guess that he was at Vine with students from A-E.

There were two reports on WATE. The first report which was incorrect had the event at Austin East. The second report, which was meant to be a correction, told viewers the event was at Vine Middle.

A full account can be found here with responses from Jim Smith of WATE:

(link...)

Gene Patterson responds here:

(link...)

Knoxquerious's picture

Shady Sheriff

OK, I am not interested in checking out uncle's website. Just answer me this. The sheriff did not show up to any of the debates. When the proxy informed the public and the media that the sheriff had "other civic duties" I am sure the first question out of every media outlet from knoxnews to knoxviews was "Where is he?". Now, either the proxy said something along the lines of "I can not disclose that information" in which case is shady and lame. Or he told people where he was supposed to be, whether that be at A-E, vine, or at his house. WATE did make a mistake in it's initial report, but why? Because the KCSD was not shooting straight with them. It is obvious that nothing was pulled out of thin air. Bottom line is WATE is the only media outlet that questioned the KCSD and tried to get some answers from the sheriff first hand.

Number9's picture

OK, I am not interested in

OK, I am not interested in checking out uncle's website. Just answer me this. The sheriff did not show up to any of the debates. When the proxy informed the public and the media that the sheriff had "other civic duties" I am sure the first question out of every media outlet from knoxnews to knoxviews was "Where is he?". Now, either the proxy said something along the lines of "I can not disclose that information" in which case is shady and lame. Or he told people where he was supposed to be, whether that be at A-E, vine, or at his house. WATE did make a mistake in it's initial report, but why? Because the KCSD was not shooting straight with them. It is obvious that nothing was pulled out of thin air. Bottom line is WATE is the only media outlet that questioned the KCSD and tried to get some answers from the sheriff first hand.

You cannot smell cordite on the Internet. Uncle's site is fine. You can adjust the gun cootie or libertarian filters in IE6 if needed.

I know what you know. I watched the original broadcast, watched it again several times on the WATE website, and read the WATE website posts. I don't know the answer to your question.

But I do like debates, even if the ones we have in Knox County are really not debates. In real debates you do not get the questions before hand. Has anyone ever questioned Mayor Ragsdale when he sent Dwight Van De Vate in his place for a debate?

And like Sandra wrote where was the outrage over the five other candidates that did not show up? I think only the Sheriff sent a representative in his place. This happens all the time in Knox County. But it doesn't make it right. I hope there is a debate.

I don't think this is a case of misrepresentation. It appears to be a misunderstanding. But don't get me wrong on WATE and investigative reporting. I applaud any local station that does investigative reporting. I wish one of them would look at the Great Schools program in Knox County. I still prefer WATE over the other two stations. WATE is trying to bring investigative news. That is why I watch WATE.

I do not agree with the concept of being "first" at all costs. My concept is being "first with the correct facts", if that is not possible then be "second with the correct facts".

There is a mountain of under-reported and non-reported news in Knox County. Being first isn't that big a deal. Heck, just report the news. That's all I want.

Angela's picture

Number 9 or Mike Mitchell

Number 9 or Mike Mitchell listen mister. You are inaccurate all the time on just about all the so called facts you put on here about the city and the county. You do the same on the radio. You never apologize or even admit you are wrong. You just keep slinging crap to see if you can ever find something that sticks. Where do you get the gall to pick at WATE for something like this. Do you think you might ought to have one tenth of the accountability that you want everyone else to have. And just why does the high and mighty sheriff get a pass from you on everything. The voters spoke. All elected officials. That means Tim too. Tyree will win. I take it you are not with us on this one.

Rachel's picture

And just why does the high

And just why does the high and mighty sheriff get a pass from you on everything. The voters spoke. All elected officials. That means Tim too. Tyree will win. I take it you are not with us on this one.

The digit doesn't feel the need to "take back the government" from Shurf Tim.

Neither do a lot of other folks tho.  Tyree won't win - I don't even think he'll get as close as Jim Andrews did.  Although this is a weird year, and anything can happen.

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