Laura MacCallum Slams Former Employer, News Director, for Buckling to Complaints from Rep. Heather Wilson's Campaign
Recently-Resigned Anchor Writes: 'This is Not journalism. It is Extortion.'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2008, 1:40pm PT  

KKOB's now-resigned, award-winning news anchor Laura MacCallum offers a full statement, in her own words, in the wake of the station having pulled her stories on allegations of vote-buying by New Mexico's U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson's campaign at a recent GOP Delegate Nominating Convention in the state.

Though she wrote it prior to our speaking with her at length yesterday, the full statement was not posted until today. (Many of her comments from that exclusive interview, in which she replies to new explanations by the station's News Director for having pulled her stories, were included in our detailed report last night)

The statement is posted in full on the blog of reporter Dennis Domrzalski, who originally broke the remarkable news of the spiked stories and MacCallum's resignation, last Monday.

A few notable snippets from her full statement --- in which she blasts KKOB, charging "This is not journalism. It is extortion," and "Honesty and guts in journalism, print or broadcast, is becoming a thing of the past." --- are posted below...

Being an ethical journalist carries a responsibility. You should have a sense of justice, a strong sense of right and wrong—a conscience—have the drive and resourcefulness to bring to light information in a truthful, objective way; to have an internal driving force that compels you to help people by giving them as much truthful information as you can. To abuse that responsibility is an abomination.

Those who do abuse it are not journalists. They play to whatever side is winning, to whoever complains the loudest about coverage; they bury the truth in ad sales, or potentially pissing off advertisers.

Let's say there was a car dealer who was finding ways to rip off buyers. The newspaper, radio station or TV station learns about the scam and does a story. Problem is for some of these journalist wannabes is this: The car dealer is a huge advertiser. He calls and bitches. Loudly. Threatens to take his money elsewhere. The news department now folds to those complaints. Readers, listeners and viewers are now done a disservice by cowardly news departments and managers who are afraid of losing ad revenue.

As I wrote in my letter of resignation to KKOB-AM last week after my pieces on alleged delegate-buying were canned by News Director Pat Allen:

This is not journalism. It is extortion.
...
Last time I checked, journos were supposed to serve the public interest. Last time I checked, it was a responsibility to inform voters of what some candidates were doing to influence the ability of OTHER qualified candidates from the SAME PARTY to run for office, and to alert them to any possible illegal...if not just plain cheesy...tactics to win. Things that were not ethical. Things that could affect voters in making their choices at the polls. Things that are now being investigated by the A/G's office.
...
Somewhere along the line, the way news is covered changed. If you have ethics in the news business, you're rapidly becoming a dinosaur.
...
Honesty and guts in journalism, print or broadcast, is becoming a thing of the past. Here in Albuquerque, the city's now-only newspaper has refused to cover this story. I must wonder why.

Here's the thing. While I may be unemployed today, I have no trouble sleeping. My conscience is clear. And, I certainly don't worry about washing off any of that residual slime.

See MacCallum's full statement for more details, including those on another recent allegation of political/ethical transgression by the KKOB management.

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