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Posted: 12/14/2002 4:14:01 AM EDT
Dave Workman of [url]www.gunweek.com[/url] is the author of this article. Subject: [Gun_Talk] Caught In Collusion? Seattle TV ‘Gun Show Expose’ Exposed Caught In Collusion? Seattle TV ‘Gun Show Expose’ Exposed By Dave Workman Senior EditorGun Week NewsDecember 12, 2002 An undercover story by a Seattle, WA television news team that purported to expose a so-called “gun show loophole” by showing film of the legal private purchase of an AR-15 rifle at a gun show set off a firestorm after Gun Week uncovered a direct link between the gun buyer and a major gun control organization. Western Washington gun activists now argue that the investigative news team, led by a reporter whose earlier work at a television station in Oklahoma City resulted in a $6.5 million defamation judgment, colluded with an operative of Washington CeaseFire to produce the report. Less than 24 hours after the report aired on KIRO-TV’s evening news broadcast, a Gun Week investigation revealed that the individual who had agreed to purchase the rifle while being filmed with a hidden camera is the brother of an official at CeaseFire, the state’s largest anti-gun group. KIRO is the CBS affiliate in Seattle. The buyer, Justin Martin, was identified by a CeaseFire staffer as the brother of DeAnna Martin, who served as interim executive director of the group this past summer. On camera, Martin claimed to be a gun owner and avid shooter. His connection to CeaseFire was never mentioned. It was not explained whether KIRO actually did the covert filming, or whether Justin and a companion provided the film. Martin was also the subject of a similar story that appeared on Seattle’s KING the local NBC affiliate about two weeks prior to the KIRO “expose.” In that piece, his connection to CeaseFire was also not revealed, but KING reporter Deborah Feldman confirmed to Gun Week that she knows his connection to CeaseFire. She said she contacted him, with “some assistance,” and that he did not initiate the KING story. But at least one local talk show host, John Carlson at KVI, suggested on the air that CeaseFire may have been “shopping this story around” to local news organizations. The KIRO piece aired Monday, Nov. 18. An undercover cameraman attended the gun show with Martin, held at the Southwest Washington fairgrounds in Centralia, Lewis County. Martin purchased the rifle without having to go through a background check. It was a legal, private sale, as acknowledged by award-winning KIRO investigative reporter Chris Halsne. KIRO had promoted the broadcast for several days prior to airing the report, even noting on its website how the station’s “hidden cameras expose how easy it is to buy a sniper's assault rifle at local gun shows. No waiting, no background checks. A Team 7 Investigation that reveals the gun control loophole that puts you at risk.” However, Lewis County Sheriff John McCroskey told Gun Week that when he was invited to view a tape of the undercover purchase, he did not react the way that a KIRO reporter apparently expected. “I pointed out to them that it’s a gun show, and the sale was legal,” McCroskey said. “>From their promo (for the story), it is clear they had an agenda.” Halsne denied there was any agenda, other than to illustrate “what current laws allow.” He said he did not personally do the McCroskey interview. “It is a big national debate,” Halsne said. “We simply went to show…the simplicity of purchasing this AR-15.” But Halsne’s remarks during the televised report suggest otherwise to angry gun owners. After alluding to “bodies and blood-filled morgues from Washington, DC to Tacoma, Washington,” Halsne asserted, “Felons, guys angry at their wives, mental patients all are welcome here at the Chehalis gun show.” Leading into the Halsne report, a KIRO news anchor stated, “We show you how easy it is to skirt the law and walk away with a loaded gun.” Later, Halsne stated, “KIRO Team 7 investigators discovered anyone can legally buy an AR-15 semi-automatic.” Gun rights activists, including Joe Waldron, executive director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and a director on the Washington Arms Collectors board, are furious. He said gun shows do not “welcome” felons or mental patients, noting instead that such people are barred from gun shows. Waldron also said “nobody walks out of a gun show with a loaded gun.” Loaded firearms are strictly forbidden at gun shows. He said there are several categories of disqualified persons who may not legally buy or possess any kind of gun. Several gun owners promised to file formal complaints with KIRO. Some indicated they would also be contacting the Washington News Council, an independent media fairness group founded about four years ago to promote accuracy and balance in regional news. This mediation group operates a website at: www.wanewscouncil.org. Waldron suggested that Martin’s appearance on two Seattle newscasts with essentially the same story may be a CeaseFire strategy to create public hysteria about gun shows just six weeks before the new Legislature convenes. Anti-gun show legislation has been a priority with CeaseFire for the past three years, and Waldron sees no coincidence that the reports aired, with the same individual. He called the KIRO story “sensational yellow journalism.” Halsne’s reporting has been challenged before.
Link Posted: 12/14/2002 4:14:31 AM EDT
In 1998, while working as an investigative reporter for KWTV in Oklahoma City another CBS affiliate Halsne did a series of reports focusing on allegations that a local veterinarian had drugged a race horse in 1997 and caused the death of another horse in 1994, during a time that he inspected horses for races in Oklahoma and New Mexico. According to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Halsne reported on several occasions that the veterinarian had been “accused” of drugging the horse, and that the doctor had been “suspected” of killing a racehorse. In fact, no such accusations had been brought against the veterinarian in a federal lawsuit involving the drugged horse, the Reporters Committee noted. The veterinarian, Dr. H.L. Mitchell, was not a defendant in that lawsuit, nor had he been associated with any serious wrongdoing, the Committee reported. Halsne reportedly relied on court papers filed in the federal lawsuit, and allegations made by a horse racing official, as a basis for his on-air statements about Mitchell, who subsequently sued the television station for defamation. Mitchell did lose his New Mexico owner’s license for practicing veterinary medicine illegally in the state, but not for killing a horse, the Committee report clarified. Last year, an Oklahoma jury awarded Mitchell $6.5 million in a libel verdict that was upheld by an appeals court in September. In its ruling, the appeals court said Halsne did “not truly and fairly report the allegations” contained in the federal lawsuit. The Reporters Committee noted, in discussing the Appeals Court ruling, that “Although he had read the complaint…Halsne failed to clarify in his report that the accusations in the lawsuit were aimed at someone other than Mitchell.” Halsne told Gun Week that the rifle purchased in Centralia was placed in a locked cabinet, but he did not elaborate. He used it as a prop in the report. He said the KIRO news team was accompanied by people who were not employees of the station, but who do regularly attend gun shows. He did not directly answer whether any of them were members of, operatives for, or employed by Washington CeaseFire. In the KIRO report, Martin was identified simply as “Justin.” But Martin’s earlier appearance on KING leaves Waldron convinced the stories were instigated by CeaseFire as part of an anti-gun show campaign strategy. Waldron recorded the KING segment, in which Martin complained about the ease with which he purchased a rifle at a gun show. He was shown in that report with an SKS-type rifle. Halsne seemed genuinely surprised that McCroskey wrote a column about the experience for his local newspaper before the story aired. He contended that McCroskey’s on-air remarks represent “a very well respected view” and that “helps us balance the story.”McCroskey said the news team brought the video to his office for a comment, a distance of about 90 miles from Seattle. Lewis County owns the fairgrounds and actually contracts with an independent manager to operate the gun show. “I agreed to the interview with them because I thought it would be a lot of fun,” McCroskey said. “I really don’t talk to the media much anymore.” After viewing the tape, McCroskey was astonished when the reporter apparently did not want to accept his explanation that the sale was perfectly legal. “All they wanted to talk about was the gun show loophole,” Sheriff McCroskey recalled. “They didn’t want to listen to the fact that it is not against the law, or that there are a lot of criminals out there now who are not being prosecuted for having a gun.” He said the KIRO reporter apparently wanted a much stronger reaction. “They acknowledged it was a perfectly legal transaction,” the sheriff said. “That didn’t seem to bother them. They just seemed to want me to be outraged that this perfectly legal transaction occurred. Well, I’ve got enough real crime to deal with. What law-abiding people do is not a concern to the police. We’re involved in (dealing with) crime, not in dealing with law-abiding citizens.” Recently elected to his third term as sheriff of the rural southwest Washington county, McCroskey said he asked the reporter if he was a convicted felon, or subject to a domestic violence restraining order; two things that would have disqualified him from making the purchase. The experience so infuriated the sheriff that he returned to his office and wrote the column. McCroskey pulled no punches, concluding that the only concern he now has is that there is a “liberal reporter with a gun.” “There is no question that they want to tie it (the gun show purchase) to the sniper in D.C.,” McCroskey observed. “This is a good example of ‘National Enquirer journalism’.” In his column, McCroskey asserted that, “I don’t believe restricting law-abiding citizens’ ownership of firearms does anything but make them easier victims.” He told Gun Week that if it is KIRO’s agenda to eliminate gun shows, it would not help reduce crime. “If you stopped having gun shows,” McCroskey said, “the reduction in crime would be so insignificant you would not notice it.” Asked by KIRO if he would support gun show legislation to close the perceived loophole, McCroskey said he explained there are already laws against illegal gun sales, and that he has no confidence in the Washington Legislature to solve a problem if one exists. “I’ve come to believe,” he said, “that there is an orchestrated effort to ignore (enforcement of existing) gun laws to make the matter appear worse, so they can pass more legislation to take the guns away from honest people.”
Link Posted: 12/14/2002 5:15:04 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/14/2002 5:38:31 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/14/2002 6:11:51 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/14/2002 6:12:42 AM EDT by M4]
KIRO TV: [u]Programing Dept[/u] [email]programming@kirotv.com[/email] [u]Inestigative Reporter Chris Halsne[/u] [email]chalsne@kirotv.com[/email] [U]KIRO Main Switchboard (M-F 9am - 5pm)[/U] [red](206) 728-7777[/red] KIRO 7 2807 Third Avenue Seattle, WA 98121
Link Posted: 12/14/2002 6:16:59 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/14/2002 7:04:40 AM EDT
Well, I fired off disgusted emails to KIRO and Chris "Truth, What's the Truth?" Halsne. Lets bury them with the things. [pissed]
Link Posted: 12/14/2002 8:48:44 AM EDT
Grrrrr! This kind of crap boils my blood. This is why I refuse to watch local news - nothing but sensationalistic, over-hyped stories designed to inflate ratings.
Link Posted: 12/14/2002 10:34:40 AM EDT
I work in the EMS field, a couple weeks ago we had a real bad car accident, The media always calls the stations looking for info...I told the gal from KIRO that I will not give her any info, and That I will never do another interview for them again, ( I have been interview'd and on the news several times) she asked why I told her!...then hung up! NO MORE KIRO IN MY HOUSE! and now Im pissed enuff to send more E-mail!...Those morons did not even return my e-mail from the last time[:D] I would love to give A few $$$$ if any legal action comes of this...
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