GM of KELO-TV says trip with Mayor Huether to NFL game was ‘Personal’

reporter_mj

“Hey, thanks for those tickets to the Greenbay game, now for some (softball) questions.”

So last week I was shown some photos of Mayor Huether attending the KELO-TV employee Christmas party doing photo-ops with employees. Maybe he was the keynote speaker or the entertainment for the night. Thank Snowplows my work just sets up banquet tables in the warehouse and feeds us fried chicken for about 45 minutes for our Christmas party.

I was also shown photos of the mayor attending a Greenbay game at Lambeau with the general manager of KELO-TV, Jay Huizenga. I guess it didn’t shock me too much (the Christmas party I find stranger then the game trip).

So I sent this email off to Jay;

Jay, I recently was given a couple of photos of Mayor Huether attending the KELO-TV employee Christmas party and you and him attending an NFL football game in Greenbay. No big deal. What concerns me is that the General Manager of a local news organization is crossing the line of journalistic integrity. I don’t think I have to remind you of the 4th estate, and their duties. Sometimes that means you can’t be friends with certain people. Before I post anything on my blog, I would like to hear an explanation from you.

Thank You, Scott L. Ehrisman

southdacola.com

Jay replied;

Thank you for the email.  I have no comment on my personal life.

No Jay, thank you for not answering any of my questions. I did think about sending the mayor an email, but I’m sure his ‘personal’ friend Jay probably already made him aware there are photos of Santa Cheesehead Mayor floating around on the Facebooks. C’mon Mike, didn’t you learn anything from the Lamb Chislic incident?

Though I responded to Jay that ‘I understood’ I really didn’t know what to think, but the more I thought about them, the more it frustrated me that our local news media would be this cozy with an elected official.

Like I said at first, didn’t surprise me. But then I started thinking about all the very (soft) stories this organization has done about the city, especially when it comes to this mayor or the Events Center (remember, KELO is a sponsor), and it started adding up, that the relationship is way too cozy.

First off, I don’t think there is anything wrong with people in the news industry being friends with local elected officials. Hey, if you want to go for a jog together, meet up for drinks, or even have dinner at each other’s homes, I think it is perfectly within reason. I think the more cordial journalists are to elected officials and vice versa, the easier it may be to get a story. I know my cordial relationships with public officials have yielded me many leads and information. But I certainly don’t take them to NFL games, and I am certainly not a full-time, for profit, news organization. I think more importantly I share a common interest in transparency, and integrity in government with these officials. I don’t need to scratch their backs, and they don’t need to scratch mine to get truthful information out there.

What makes this situation different is, who invited who? And who paid for the tickets and travel expenses to the game? This is where it gets complicated, and NO longer ‘personal.’ Someone indicated to me that KELO may have supplied the tickets since that particular game was broadcast on CBS, and the mayor or others in the party paid for travel expenses to make it appear more 50/50. Either way, it’s one thing for an elected official to buy you lunch or even a beer, but a trip to an NFL game? I also find it ironic that a Mayor and an Events Center sponsor would have to travel a couple of states away to ‘entertain’ themselves when they told us we needed to build the Events Center so we can see world class entertainment here instead of traveling. So which is it? Isn’t Stampede Hockey entertaining enough for you guys?

I want to know what you think. Do you agree with Mr. Huizenga that this has to do with his ‘personal life’ only? While (political) business may or may not have been discussed on the trip, it seems this kind of cozy relationship may affect the kind of news we hear about this political figure. AND I think it has. But you know what they say at these media organizations, the sales department never dictates to the news department what to broadcast. So I guess the General Manager never talks to the news department either, you know, similar to the relationship Huether has with the city council.

Though Jay did say the football game trip was personal, he failed to say anything about the Christmas party, which leads me to believe Huether was invited.

Like I mentioned above, I have often felt that this news organization has done light hearted and non-controversial stories about the city, mayor and others (I’m convinced that Thune has a staffer with a desk in their studios), and after seeing and hearing the latest about the relationship they share, I have ZERO confidence in this organization ever doing anything investigative or controversial about Huether, or even giving us the full story.

So much for Doug Lund’s post about how much better KELO is at NEWS then the Argus Leader.

I get angry when people I know in the broadcast news business, who work every bit as hard at their craft and are as dedicated to journalistic excellence as anyone at the Argus.

More like working on craft beers at an NFL game with the mayor. Speaking of the ‘100 Eyed Spaghetti Monster’ I told them about the situation and encouraged them to do a real story about it, instead of just my farting around stuff on my blog. I don’t have much confidence in that happening after reading Whitney’s column on Sunday about the mayor smiling a lot and beating up on Kermit over a wishing well. Stu, was that supposed to be a parody column? You know, parodies are supposed to make people laugh, right? At least you didn’t mention Dan Scott, and well, Janklow is dead anyway.

So much for the 4th Estate in Sioux Falls being the watchdog of local government, more like the lapdog.

I guess it is good to be King, and it only cost a couple of football tickets. I suspect to see another story about evil bloggers after this post gets published. Hey Jay, wanna join me for a Storm game? I’ll even drive, of course we would have to see it in our lousy stadium, be careful not to trip on any of the cracks in the floor and watch out for flying siding.



26 comments ↓

#1 Kevin on 12.29.14 at 3:48 pm

There are so many things that could be said but what would be the point? Kelo used to be such a mighty force in this town, now it, like the Argus, is but a shell of it’s former glory. Oh, how the mighty fall.

#2 Greg Neitzert on 12.29.14 at 5:20 pm

Good post. My feeling is that when you are supposed to be in the business of straight news reporting, you have a duty to strive by action and appearance to be impartial. You should be reporting the news as straight as possible and holding everyone’s feet to the fire. In that capacity, not only is the appearance compromised but in real life it would seem your actions would be compromised if you are too cozy with elected officials. It would be OK with me for you to be cordial with them when you see them, but attending events with each other, going out to dinner with each other socially, would seem to violate your duty. I know in a smaller city like Sioux Falls this may get difficult when its very possible someone could have an established relationship with another who is then elected to public office, but you still have to do your best. If I see news reporters, anchors, or news station executives engaging personally with elected officials, for example going to a sporting event, I can’t help but think they aren’t going to be affected by that in terms of what stories they choose to cover and how they cover them. Its simple human nature. When it comes to straight news, if I can’t figure out what your political views are personally, I know you are doing a great job. The best straight news reporters/anchors are very hard to impossible to pinpoint what their personal views are. All that being said, I don’t see how a straight news executive should be going on trips with a sitting Mayor, regardless of who paid what. I’d say the same principal reciprocates with a Mayor as well. I don’t think its unethical on his part, but I do think its not a wise thing to do optics wise, getting that cozy with those who are supposedly covering you impartially. Straight news organizations have a serious responsibility to broadcast news as truthfully as possible, and they shouldn’t compromise it like this.

In terms of Stu Whitney, it was apparent a long time ago what his bent was. He was totally in the tank for the event center, which he has a right to be, he was (and still is) a columnist, which unlike straight news reporters are allowed to have a public opinion (that’s the whole point after all). It was obvious before, and especially after seeing the first handful of columns, that the current Mayor has a great press secretary in Stu Whitney. The stories and coverage so far have been uncompromising in their worship for Mayor Huether (and derisive of any opponents perceived or actual). Once again, he’s a columnist so he’s allowed to have any opinion he wants, but it is good to know there will be no hard hitting stories, investigative journalism, or useful coverage coming out of the Argus city beat, at least for the next 3 years or so.

So apparently our current state of affairs is that our most powerful TV and print organizations in the city aren’t going to be asking any hard questions of most city officials or elected leaders. That’s never good for accountable government.

#3 l3wis on 12.29.14 at 5:33 pm

Greg, I couldn’t agree more.

When I first saw the photos, it almost made me give up all hope and just say ‘screw it’ why do I even bother blogging? It’s obvious, as another journalist stated to me the other day, “All the ships are sinking.”

#4 Dan Daily on 12.29.14 at 5:48 pm

I don’t watch KELO news. They rarely cover and often curb city news. It’s obvious they’re cheap with their news budget. They’re not propaganda like the city channel but they deserve an FCC complaint for lack of unconstitutional city government coverage. There’s 5 civil rights court cases to prove it and they reported none of them.

#5 hornguy on 12.29.14 at 5:51 pm

How they got there? My five dollars is on First Premier’s jet. I know they have a suite, or at minimum a block of tickets in one of the suites, at Lambeau. They were always generous enough to auction off plane transport and game tickets at the symphony’s fundraising gala every year. We’ll chalk that up as using one’s powers for good.

I wouldn’t have a problem with the mayor being there, provided he paid the actual cost for the value of the transportation, etc. But the journalist tagging along as a buddy is pretty slimy. Huizenga should know better.

But then again, it’s sort of the same lament that you, and I, and others have shared. There’s the Sioux Falls royalty, a yawning chasm, and then everyone else at the bottom.

#6 Dan Daily on 12.29.14 at 5:54 pm

Stu Whitney is new. He’s wants to keep his foot in the mayor’s office. He’ll have to decide soon whether to report the truth or go to the Super Bowl with Huether.

#7 l3wis on 12.29.14 at 6:00 pm

Dan, I think it would be hard to get a FCC complaint to stick. Probably have a better chance getting an ethics complaint against the mayor to stick . . . . BAHAHAHAHAHA! I jest.

#8 Joan on 12.29.14 at 6:05 pm

This whole thing does sound fishy. I rarely watch KELO mainly because I don’t like their news people. The long time female employee’s voice sounds whiny. Of the three local channels, they are the only one, whose news people are almost constantly holding a tablet, I think that is annoying, as if KELO has to show off the budget that they can afford tablets.

#9 l3wis on 12.29.14 at 6:08 pm

HG – While what Jay did wasn’t very smart on his part, par for course from a KELO employee. As for the mayor taking part in this, that is where the real slime comes into play.

Now for some fun quotes about propaganda;

“Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.”
― Noam Chomsky

“No honest journalist should be willing to describe himself or herseif as ’embedded.’ To say, ‘I’m an embedded journalist’ is to say, ‘I’m a government Propagandist.”
― Noam Chomsky

“The news isn’t there to tell you what happened. It’s there to tell you what it wants you to hear or what it thinks you want to hear.”
― Joss Whedon

“Those who are capable of tyranny are capable of perjury to sustain it.”
― Lysander Spooner

“It would not be impossible to prove with sufficient repetition and a psychological understanding of the people concerned that a square is in fact a circle. They are mere words, and words can be molded until they clothe ideas and disguise.”
― Joseph Goebbels

“The American people are free to do exactly what they are told.”
― Ward Churchill

And my favorite one of all, repetition;

“But the most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. Here, as so often in this world, persistence is the first and most important requirement for success.”
― Adolf Hitler

#10 l3wis on 12.29.14 at 6:11 pm

“Events Center, Events Center, Events Center. Indoor Pool, Indoor Pool, Indoor Pool. The great folks of our city, The great folks of our city, The great folks of our city. Boomtown, Boomtown, Boomtown.”
-Mike Huether

#11 Dan Daily on 12.29.14 at 6:22 pm

Nothing can be done about KELO. There’s no penalty for traitors. They closed Guantonimo.

#12 enough of Shape Places and MMM legacy on 12.29.14 at 7:29 pm

Its so sad that US Code 18 doesn’t apply to this dirt bag. A low paid Govt worker would have been fired for this, and the appearances even if nothing were wrong would still get the person fired.
Like the old saying, if you steal for me, you will steal from me. He’s on the take, he won’t stop screwing the taxpayers of Sanford Falls and MMM will just keep on filling his pockets with the help of Rolfing and Erp. and he’ll keep doing it til the council grows a pair and stops him. Let’s hope the voters won’t forget this and he comes clean with a funny paupers tale about this Christmas season. Could call it “Lost in Huetherville”, ” A Tragic Dream on the Sanford Express” or “A Christmas Carol with MMM Scoogy Boy”

#13 anominous on 12.30.14 at 9:31 am

Honestly though, who wants to watch 50 yd indoor football? That stuff gets old. Better to go see the real thing, if you can.

#14 l3wis on 12.30.14 at 9:37 am

I wonder though if this was a EC sponsor trip. Which I guess is fine, but why would the mayor go along?

#15 Poly43 on 12.30.14 at 12:31 pm

Someone earlier pegged whitney. The guy will be nothing more than a press secretary for the mayor. Oh sure, he’s gonna step on people, just not the elite. stu is a lot like one of his hero’s. Ndomnican Suh of the Lions. Eventually, this so called reporter will get suspended for more than just a week, like Suh pulled got. Unless of course his newspaper and himself start acting like the real 4th estate.

#16 anonymous on 12.30.14 at 1:17 pm

Scott, maybe the email you sent to Jay Huizenga should have gone to those who own KELO instead.

I have depended on KELO for accurate and impartial news going way back to the beginning of television in the 1950’s.

Now, more and more often, I find myself watching the news on KSFY and KDLT.

I do not like KELO’s affiliation with T. Denny and all which that implies. More recently, hearing stories about KELO’s cozy relationship with City Hall just solidifies my move to the other two local stations.

#17 l3wis on 12.30.14 at 1:35 pm

KELO gets NFL tickets and KSFY just gets proclamations. LOL!

http://www.ksfy.com/home/headlines/Dave-Hirsch-retires-after-45-years-behind-the-scenes-at-KSFY–287115221.html

#18 l3wis on 12.30.14 at 4:51 pm

Well besides proclaiming a news peep at KSFY a day in Sioux Falls, I guess on December 13, he announced ‘Jay Huizenga Day’ at the Xmas party.

What’s next ‘Stu Whitney Day’?

When is ‘Detroit Lewis Day’ coming . . . BAHAHAHAHAHA.

I guess the mayor has replaced the Bible with Proclamations these days.

#19 Angry Guy on 12.30.14 at 5:10 pm

I just puked a little in my mouth when I read this blatant ass kiss fluff piece. What a joke!

Your link didn’t work, can you retry?

#20 Poly43 on 12.31.14 at 9:50 am

The argus or kelo do not even come close to being a real news outlets Cheerleaders like whitney, lalley, schwan, and others have no clue what true journalism is. True journalism is put together slowly and carefully. In many instances it reveals a truth that is even worse for being covered up.

Here is a classic example of what you can expect from a real news outlet and not a flyer for city hall.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/10/14/world/middleeast/us-casualties-of-iraq-chemical-weapons.html

#21 Dan Daily on 12.31.14 at 11:46 am

This and other blogs gets more attention than KELO news. Maybe it’s time for a freedom radio station and/or low power TV channel. Call them ‘KSFM TV/Radio for Sioux Falls Free Media’.

#22 Dan Daily on 12.31.14 at 11:51 am

I miss KELO-land since it’s become Sanford Land.

#23 Angry Guy on 12.31.14 at 12:44 pm

Stu can probably see what MMM had for breakfast…

#24 l3wis on 12.31.14 at 1:07 pm

What’s funny is that it seems to never get old picking on Kermit as long as it makes the Mayor look good. As much as MMM complains about negativity towards him, I bet if you did a story search past four years of all the TV stations and newspaper you would find a higher percentage of negative stories about Kermit then Huether. Even though Kermit tromped Knudson’s butt two years ago for an at large seat and she spent 6x the $$ he did. he may not be popular with everyone, but he is respected by the citizens. The reason the media continues their constant assault on him is because Kermit never complains about it, he knows it is part of the job, unlike MMM who thinks he still works in the corporate world where you are allowed to step on people and grease palms without repercussions.

#25 Oh Dear! on 12.31.14 at 3:27 pm

Stay tuned to for all the latest information at SanfordLand 5, 6 and 10:00pm

Mayor Mike Huether singlehandedly helped increase Sanford Falls ranking in the “Best Places to Retire.”

Sanford Health System won another award for excellence!

The Denny Sanford Premier Event Center has landed the 2015 National Clown Competition.

All this with StormWatch and more at South Dakota’s # 1 station SanfordLand starting at 5,6 and 10:00pm

#26 Media General (owner of KELO-TV) evade my inquiry — South DaCola on 03.03.15 at 5:24 pm

[…] As you know, way back in December I posted about how the Mayor and his best buddy Jay went to a Green Bay game together; […]

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