A ‘garbled, out of context recording’

A ‘GARBLED, OUT OF CONTEXT RECORDING’…. Apparently one of the bigger campaign controversies of the day yesterday comes out of Alaska, with a dubious recording being pushed by a far-right website known for pushing dubious recordings.

Is another Andrew Breitbart Web site production about to be unmasked as bogus?

Breitbart’s Big Journalism site is making an incendiary accusation: That reporters at the Anchorage CBS affiliate KTVA were caught conspiring to damage Tea Party Senate candidate Joe Miller. Big Journalism posted a snippet of audio allegedly showing this: It features KTVA reporters talking among themselves while — unbeknownst to them — they were accidentally being recorded on the voicemail of Miller’s campaign manager.

But it’s unclear from the recording precisely what, if anything, was being plotted. And now the station is adamantly denying the charges, claiming the audio was clipped and taken out of the fuller context. KTVA general manager Jerry Bever sends over a statement claiming the “complete recording was about what others might be able to do to cause disruption within the Miller campaign.”

I’d like to think skepticism would rule the day in a situation like this. After all, in the wake of the Shirley Sherrod fiasco, suspect Breitbart-published recordings aren’t exactly proof of much.

The local CBS affiliate is pushing back hard against the “garbled, out of context recording,” explaining, “To allege that our staff was discussing or planning to create or fabricate stories regarding candidate Miller is absurd. The complete conversation was about what others might be able to do to cause disruption within the Miller campaign, not what KTVA could do.”

Nevertheless, Miller’s highest-profile backer, Alaska’s former half-term governor, is raising the visibility of the allegations. Yesterday, Sarah Palin seized on Breitbart’s piece to suggest that the initials CBS stand for “Corrupt Bastards Club.”

Here’s hoping Palin realizes there is no “s” in “club.”

The story, such as it is, has the feel of manufactured outrage, and is probably being pushed by a campaign that fears its support is fading as it reaches the finish line. “The media is out to get us” is a standard GOP pitch to get the base riled up, whether it makes sense or not.

In this case, outlets that run with this as a credible story are almost certainly making a mistake.