Your View: Viewers Unhappy about Akin Ads Story
COLUMBIA - For more than a month, KOMU has been following the controversy surrounding Congressman Todd Akin. In September, KOMU 8 news covered the story of TV stations across Missouri pulling Akin's newest ad when his campaign failed to make payments. KOMU took a closer look at whether the story was unfair toward the senate candidate and whether it deserved to be published at all.
On September 6, KOMU 8 announced that it would no longer be running Akin's ads because his campaign had failed to pay the full amount. KOMU 8's Mary McGuire spoke to several other stations who had pulled the ad. She said all had similar stories. The bottom line was simply there was no money paid to run the ad.
Several viewers commented on KOMU 8's website and KOMU 8's facebook page, stating their displeasure with KOMU running the story at all. James Walker wrote on KOMU's facebook, "What is KOMU 8's agenda that it feels necessary to tell the public that it is pulling Akin's ad's because of not receiving a payment in time...KOMU - stop trying to turn this into a smear campaign!".
Lynn Woodward also said on KOMU 8's facebook page "I think it shows bias and a huge lack of integrity on the part of KOMU to share business dealings. Just don't show the ads and there would have been no appearance of bias. Too bad."
McGuire says she did the best she could to remain unbiased in the story. "I think it was a pretty transparent report. I tried to make it very fair and balanced. I called the Akin campaign to get a comment before I did the story so I tried to make it as balanced and as fair as possible."
The campaign did have a say in the story. "Our media buyers are constantly adusting our strategy according to different media markets in Missouri...Air time was reserved, an initial payment was made. And when the ad schedule was set in stone, the other final portion of the payment is being sent in tomorrow, " campaign spokesman for Akin, Ryan Hite, said.
McGuire also said that because the story was about Akin, who had generated so much recent controversy, its news value was inherent. "Todd Akin and his comments have sort of caused a huge splash in the 2012 election season and I think that any information about him that we can find is important to publish to the public," McGuire said.
KOMU 8 Executive Producer Randy Reeves said publishing the money side of the story was just as important as any political issue surrounding Akin. "Money is always an important part of covering politics. And when many of the republican party big money donors pulled out of Missouri, Akin's finances became a huge story. In particular, when he wasn't able to fulfill this particular order it became an indication that perhaps there was a problem," Reeves said.
So, what do you think? Was KOMU's coverage on Akin's ads biased? Should we have reported the story about the pulling of the ads at all? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus. Then watch each Friday at six as we bring you your view of the news.