The high-stakes game of chicken continues to be played out between Cable One and Nexstar with only eight days remaining until KODE and KSN will be removed from Cable One unless the company forks over big bucks to Nexstar Broadcasting.
It doesn't matter what finally happens in this modern-day version of the O.K. Corral. The only winner is going to be KOAM-TV.
KOAM General Manager Danny Thomas is pleased about the public brawl between Nexstar and Cable One. It has given him and his station a chance to stand above the fray and not get involved in the petty bickering.
It also has given him a chance to plug his station, which he did in a Dec. 15 interview with the Pittsburg Morning Sun. "KOAM- TV was the first and has been the longest airing free over-the-air television station in the four states," Thomas told the Sun. He continued, "We have substantially more viewers than any other local stations. We believe that providing our news, weather, and entertainment free to everyone is the best model for us. This strategy has served our viewers, our advertisers, and us for well over 50 years."
Thomas told the Sun he was upset about all the free publicity the other local stations are receiving as a result of this dispute, but that's a little hard to believe. If Cable One doesn't give in to Nexstar's demands, KOAM will increase its viewership over the two Joplin stations and it already has the most popular network in CBS and the most popular show on television in "CSI."
Thomas told the Sun, KOAM already has 75 to 80 percent of the viewers in southeast Kansas. If Nexstar loses this gamble (and it should) KOAM stands ready to make serious inroads in southwest Missouri, as well.
I'm sure Thomas got the Joplin stations' ire when he told The Sun, "For instance, it's all about 'oh, gosh what happens if we lose KODE and KSN." You weren't watching them anyway."
The Joplin Globe's poll on the Nexstar-Cable One feud shows that more than 60 percent of the people are siding with Cable One on the issue, with about 15 percent siding with Nexstar, 15 percent not caring which side wins and 10 percent not caring.
On their 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts, channels 12 and 16 carried the story about the Webb City R-7 School District's filing of a motion to dismiss former student Brad Mathewson's civil rights lawsuit against the district.
Those who read the content of that motion in the Dec. 22 Turner Report must have wondered why the local TV stations skirted the issue of the disturbances that school officials claim Mathewson caused at the high school.
The filing included a signed affidavit by High School Principal Steven Gollhofer, in which he said a complaint had been filed with the Webb City Police Department after Mathewson allegedly grabbed another boy's groin while the two were in the school library. Mathewson had also allegedly showed students photographs in which he and another young man were kissing each other. Gollhofer also said he had received numerous complaints about Mathewson's t-shirts. While it is politically correct these days for newscasts to reflect the viewpoint that gays have freedom of speech under the U. S. Constitution (and they do), it is journalistically correct to provide information that gives the school officials' side of the story.
I do not believe the TV stations purposely failed to carry this information, at least I hope that is not the case. More likely, they simply did not have access to it. Any representative of a local TV station who would like a copy of the motion and/or the affidavits submitted by Gollhofer and Assistant High School Principal Randy Richardson should e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org I will be happy to forward them. You don't even have to give The Turner Report credit...although that would be nice.
The TV stations weren't the only ones guilty of incomplete journalism. The Globe and the Neosho Daily News again failed to distinguish themselves on the coverage of the Missouri Ethics Commission's findings against Newton County Sheriff Ron Doerge. As long as the only person they contact for the story is Doerge, they are never going to get the complete story. The time for the area newspapers to contact these so-called "disgruntled employees" is long overdue. If they don't know who works or who has worked for the sheriff, those records are available at the county courthouse. The County Commission has to sign off on paychecks for the employees every month. Get those records and call everyone. Some of them won't talk, I'm sure. They all may back Doerge's version of events, but you are never going to know until you make the calls. It's all fine and good for The Joplin Globe to trumpet its Sunshine Law request for the copy of the letter of admonition that was sent to Doerge. If the Globe and the Daily had been doing their jobs instead of using one-source journalism (with that source being the subject of the investigation) the truth about this mess would have been much clearer by now.