Sunday, October 31, 2010

AK - Miller Campaign Claims Tape Shows Reporters Trying to Connect Him to 'Child Molesters'

Original Article


Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller's campaign claims it has audio proof of local reporters scheming about ways to connect the Republican nominee to "child molesters."

The Miller campaign blasted out an e-mail overnight containing a transcript and audio recording of what it claimed were reporters at CBS affiliate KTVA discussing story ideas. The conversation, according to the Miller campaign, was recorded on spokesman Randy DeSoto's voicemail apparently by accident after an assignment editor with the station called him and mistakenly left his phone on instead of hanging up.

KTVA confirmed the authenticity of the tape Sunday but rejected as "absurd" the suggestion that reporters were trying to "fabricate" a negative story about Miller.

The recording is garbled and occasionally cuts out. But one woman can clearly be heard saying, "child molesters," after another suggests they "wait until you see" who shows up -- at an event the Miller campaign claims was a rally last week.

The message, circulated by Miller and posted on YouTube, gets choppier after the opening exchange. Miller's campaign claims a woman says that, of all the people that show up at the event, "at least one of them will be a registered sex offender."

The individuals identified by the campaign as reporters also discuss sending a "Twitter and Facebook alert" if there is "any sort of chaos" at the event, which somebody on the call compares to the incident at a debate last week when a supporter of Kentucky GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul stepped on the head of a protester.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, in an interview with "Fox News Sunday," said the conversation on the call was "sick."

"We have the tape that proves it -- that the CBS reporters, the affiliate in Alaska, conspired to make up stories about Joe Miller," Palin said. "Those are corrupt bastards. ... That's what is wrong with the media today."

The Miller campaign said in a written statement that the reporters in the tape "openly discuss creating, if not fabricating" stories about the Republican candidate.

KTVA General Manager Jerry Bever issued a lengthy statement Sunday calling the recording "unfortunate because it does not accurately reflect the journalistic standards of our newsroom." But he said Miller's analysis and transcript of the recording are "inaccurate," noting that the recording only captured newsroom personnel talking at the end of a "coverage planning meeting" regarding the Anchorage rally last Thursday.

"The group of KTVA news personnel was reviewing potential 'what-if' scenarios, discussing the likelihood of events at the rally and how KTVA might logistically disseminate any breaking news," Bever said.

"The perception that this garbled, out of context recording may leave is unfortunate, but 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," he said.

He added: "Have we had internal discussions about the level of professionalism we need to bring to our conversations, internally and externally? Of course we have, this is a lesson to learn from."

The campaign said the voicemail was first authenticated by KTVA when the assignment editor sent a text message to Miller spokesman Randy DeSoto saying, "Damn iPhone ... I left you a long message. I thought I hung up. Sorry."

"Frankly when I first heard this I was shocked," DeSoto said. "Though a bit garbled at times, there are disturbing comments in this (conversation) that never should have occurred."

Miller is running against independent candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Democratic nominee Scott McAdams.

FL - Keeping the sex offender Halloween urban legend alive

Moral Panic | Mass Hysteria | Urban Legend

This is the last time I report on the Halloween sex offender myth!

WA - North Mason Students Get a Different Kind of Sex Education

Original Article
Another Story of the same school


By Marietta Nelson

BELFAIR — When it comes to taboo subjects, how to deal with sex offenders is probably pretty close to the top of the list.

But the eighth-grade honors students in Julie Sullivan’s class at Hawkins Middle School in North Mason tackled the thorny subject head on. Divided into four teams, the 24 students researched how the justice system deals with a particular class of sex offenders and then developed ways to fix it. At a “showcase” event on Friday the students presented their work as part of Project Citizen, a national civics education program for middle schools.

I commend you on this difficult topic,” said Project Citizen judge John Campbell. “It not only requires intelligence, but courage.”

Project Citizen helps students research and develop solutions for public policy problems. The project helps students “develop support for democratic values and principles, tolerance, and feelings of political efficacy,” according to Project Citizen’s Web site.

After talking through tough subjects like teen pregnancy and abortion over the winter while researching topics, the group eventually settled on the punishment for sex offenders who are convicted of consensual sex with someone younger than 16. The students used an “example offender” of an 18- or 19-year-old who had a sexual relationship with a 14- or 15-year-old.

On Friday they showcased their work for teachers, parents, Campbell, who also serves on the North Mason School Board, and two other judges, retired attorney Scott Smith and Hawkins Principal Thom Worlund.

The class interviewed a Mason County detective, discovering that there are about 240 sex offenders currently in the county. They researched the “age of consent” in different parts of the world. The students looked into how sex offenders are punished, how they are tracked once released from jail and also the different classes of sex offenses.

The students found that their example offender could be convicted of a class C felony and spend one to 10 years in jail. Once released, the offender would register as a sex offender and bear that stigma, making it hard to find a job or place to live.

It seems unfair to be punished for something that is consensual,” said Megan Hicks.

Smith said he appreciated that the students understood “how compassion is an important part of public policy.”

So the students came up with an alternative public policy that could apply to their example offender. They agreed that if convicted, the offender should serve jail time. After release, if the offender does not reoffend for two years, the offender should be allowed to petition the court to expunge the conviction. The student labeled it the “removal policy.”

Our policy gives them another chance so they don’t have this follow them around for the rest of their lives,” said Zak Humm.

Under questioning from Smith, Worlund and Campbell, the students argued that the removal policy would be good for society, allowing sex offenders to work and be productive, contributing members of society. They also agreed with Smith that a psychiatric evaluation might be another good tool to use for sex offenders.

After the showcase, 13-year-old Mikayla Mehelich said the students didn’t find talking about sex offenders difficult. It’s a reality kids today live with, she said. When she visits the Theler Center each week, Mehelich said she checks the bulletin board where sex offenders photos are posted. She wants to protect herself.

When she told her parents and grandparents her class was working on a sex offender project they were “dumbfounded.” But as the weeks have gone by, Mehelich said her family has been asking a lot of questions about the project.

Sullivan said the students handled the delicate subject well. These students are “very motivated” and “matter-of-fact,” she said. The project brought in all aspects of learning, including writing, interviewing, researching and letter writing.

I think it was so valuable and had so many valid learning opportunities,” she said.