UPDATE: 'Transmission Difficulties' - Segment Blacked Out in Alabama!
By Alan Breslauer on 2/24/2008, 7:55pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

[Now including a number of UPDATES at the bottom of the article...]

Part 1 (9:51), Part 2 (3:56)

UPDATES: (by Brad) Incredibly, Larisa Alexandrovna is reporting that the broadcast of the Siegelman segment --- and only the Siegelman segment --- got blacked out in Alabama. "Transmission Difficulties"...

NOTE: The 60 Minutes report does not delve into the Election Fraud issues that have emerged in the case, including allegations, on video tape, from Siegelman himself, claiming that his "election was stolen electronically," after having gone to bed on Election Night the winner in 2004, only to wake up the next morning to find that he had "lost" after a Republican Board of Elections member, in the middle of the night, allegedly all by himself, re-tallied the votes. Links to that angle on the story, along with the White House and Karl Rove's relation to all of it, can be found in "Related stories" linked at the bottom of this article.

Many more Monday updates on the "Alabama Blackout" situation, including statements from both CBS and the changing story of their affiliate station, WHNT, now follow below as well. More still being added as notable...

UPDATE 2/25/08: Scott Horton has much more at Harper's today, including this on the Alabama blackout, about which he says that CBS News told him there was "no transmission difficulties" [emphasis added]...

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 were no transmission difficulties. The problems were peculiar to Channel 19, which had the signal and had functioning transmitters.” 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.

UPDATE 2/25/08 12:53pm PT: NY Times' Mike Nizza confirms the incident, and now reports that the local Alabama affiliate, WHNT, is offering a fresh reason for the problem today:

The station later denied that it was an editorial decision, but it also changed its explanation. It was the receiver of the signal in Alabama, not the feed from CBS, that caused the blackout, the station said in a statement.

“We can assure you there was no intent whatsoever to keep anyone from seeing the broadcast,” Stan Pylant, WHNT’s president, told The Huntsville Times.

But the assurance alone seemed unlikely to appease all of his viewers. According to Mr. Pylant, the problem was fixed quickly, resulting in only 12 minutes of down time. But that mostly covered the controversial segment, which lasted about 13 minutes.

Nizza goes on, in the same blog item, to note a parrallel incident elsewhere...

Thousands of miles away, another channel abruptly turned dark on Friday night. But this one didn’t claim technical difficulties.

After two broadcasters who had been banned by the Pakistani government appeared on the Aaj TV channel there on Friday night, the channel’s programming was suddenly cut off, and replaced with a message, according to CNN:

Dear Users, Please note Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) temporarily suspended transmission of independent news TV channels till further instructions.

The message, notable not only because it comes by way of the NY Times: Welcome to Americastan.

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Recently related at The BRAD BLOG:

12/14/07:'Bush League Justice' Video - MSNBC Investigates Controversial Siegelman Prosecution In Alabama
Evidence Suggests The Former Democratic Governor Was Unjustly Prosecuted By Political Partisans
Karl Rove's Involvement In Case Questioned
12/22/07: How To Rig a Republican Election (or Two)
Former Alabama Gov. in Newly Unearthed Video: 'My Election Was Stolen Electronically, No Other Sugar-Coated Way to Say It'
2/22/08: American Gangsters

RAW STORY's related investigative series, "The Permanent Republican Majority":

Part 1: How a coterie of Republican heavyweights sent a governor to jail
Part 2: Daughter of jailed governor sees White House hand in her father's fall
Part 3: Running elections from the White House

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