BY KEITH ROLLMAN – When I got a call from KITV reporter Daryl Huff asking for an interview, I was hopeful that his story would be a follow-up to the KITV coverage of a last minute smear attempt just days before the 2008 election.
A mass email blast had gone out to city employees and the news media with my name forged as the sender from a fake gmail account made to look like it came from the campaign. The content threw around some racist and other obnoxious comments about how proud we were of our derogatory website “FirePanos.” I had nothing to do with either the email or the website, and we called a press conference to say so. I also filed a police report on the matter because I felt that the new law against harassment by impersonation had been broken.
Now, Huff said that he had a summary letter from the prosecutor’s office about the investigation, and they had traced the “offending e-mail” to the office of John Carroll and his anti-rail minions including Eric Ryan (we had traced it to the same place over 2 years earlier). The investigation showed that not only had Eric Ryan sent the fake email, but also operated the derogatory website he accused us of running. In fact the report concluded “the evidence is sufficient to prove Ryan’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt.”
Ok, maybe Daryl was really trying to put an honest cap on the old story after all. I looked up the link to the old story to review where it had left off.
Here’s the KITV story from 2008. (Ryan’s theatrical denial at 1:40 is especially entertaining)
You will also notice that the one pressing question on the lips of reporter Catherine Cruz, directed to me, had nothing to do with the facts before them:
“have you ever been involved in any smear tactics in any previous campaign?”
I remember thinking WTF? How about focusing on what’s really going on here?
Even after being presented with proof that the email had been traced to the office of John Carroll, KITV couldn’t figure it out and left the story hanging.
Cathrine Cruz: “it’s not clear just who’s behind this latest dirty campaign trick, and it may take some time to get to the bottom of who’s smearing whom in this race and there’s less than a week before the election.”
Considering all the conflicting accusations, wouldn’t it be nice for KITV to run a conclusion to this old story, and finally determine who had been telling the truth? No such luck.
Enter Daryl Huff and his camerman. First thing out of his mouth is that it’s his last day at KITV. Hmmm, I wonder what Daryl would like to accomplish on his last day as a reporter after twenty something years? My first comment was pretty straight forward:
“Daryl, if this story is “Ex-Hannemann staffer steals city paper clips” don’t bother unfolding your tripod. I was assured it wasn’t and we proceeded. Daryl mentioned that Eric Ryan had hung up the phone on him (proving that he really is smarter than me.) Halfway through the interview I felt like I was covered with centipedes. Here’s how the new KITV story ran.
What I had actually “admitted” was that I, like almost everybody else, use a “screen name” on the internet sometimes. The question of how that got twisted into “Former Hannemann Aide Admits Anonymous Attacks,” and attached to a story where they should have finally named the perpetrator of a real cyber crime and cleared up the 2008 incident, lies at the feet of the bizzare, manipulative and unethical KITV News. I remember thinking WTF? Again.
At least they didn’t say I took any paper clips.