KSL News Report Causing Stir in Voucher Debate

KSL News Report Causing Stir in Voucher Debate

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Marc Giauque and Tom Callan Reporting KSL Television is taking issue with a flyer that the company says implies Eyewitness News produced, or helped to produce, the pro-voucher ad.

The flyers center around a story aired in mid-October, aimed at putting some claims in the voucher debate to the "Truth Test."

A mailer being sent to voters thanks KSL and includes the company's logos. KSL Television News Director Con Psarras says the flyer suggests the station supports Referendum 1. "It's ironic that we do a ‘truth test,' the intent being to distinguish between spin and actual fact, and the people who like what we did in that story take our material and spin it out of context," Psarras said.

Meanwhile, the Utah Education Association is crying foul about the same story, claiming it showed a pro-voucher tilt.

Members of the board of education did not like the word "false" stamped across the face of the teacher of the year, who said vouchers would take money away from the public schools. "It was quite upsetting to many teachers that he would stamp ‘false' across that story when, in fact, you know, we've done our research," explained board member Marsha Ferguson.

Ferguson says that shows no respect to the 2006 Teacher of the Year.

Other board members claim the story ignored financial projections from the legislative fiscal analyst who estimates that vouchers will cost $429 million over the next decade.

KSL has now put a statement on its Web site clarifying that the news department is taking no position, either for or against vouchers.

On October 17, 2007, KSL 5 Eyewitness News aired a report evaluating the truth of certain claims made in recent political advertisements. One portion of this report evaluated ads being aired by both proponents and opponents of Referendum 1. In the story, KSL took no position for or against Referendum 1, and no position either for or against Referendum 1 was intended to be implied by the story. Recently, an organization that supports Referendum 1 sent out a direct mail flier quoting portions of KSL's news story as support for that organization's views about Referendum 1. KSL believes that the flier implies that KSL itself produced, or was at least involved in producing, the flier. This is not the case.

Indeed, the KSL Editorial Board has aired an editorial stating that it is opposed to Referendum 1. KSL strongly encourages all citizens to carefully and independently research this and other political issues before casting their votes at the polls.

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