ABC Reignites 'Troopergate': Officer Portrayed as Victim, Palin as Guilty

ABC Still Attacking Gov. Palin

On its Blotter from Brian Ross Blog, ABC News is trying to re-ignite the "Troopergate" issue by portraying Alaska state trooper Mike Wooten as a victim of "threatening phone calls." And, in reporting this new aspect of the story, ABC waits until the last sentence of the story to mention that Governor Palin was deemed innocent of charges of ethics violations in trying to be rid of Trooper Wooten even as 90% of the story pounds home what the supposed charges against the Governor were. Further, ABC misrepresents the charges against Wooten as a simple "she said" argument by Palin and fails to mention that he was actually found guilty of many of them.

In fact, this whole report subtlety makes Governor Palin look like the bad actor in this situation and garners sympathy from the reader for Trooper Wooten. In the first paragraph, the piece talks of Palin's "harsh allegations" and states that he has been "taken off patrols recently for his own safety" because of "threatening phone calls." The report mentions that both Wooten and his union are whining that he cannot get over time pay since he's stuck on a desk job "for his own safety." Looks like ABC thinks Trooper Wooten is a victim here.

The next paragraph goes on to recount how "Palin, her husband and top aides worked to get the trooper, Mike Wooten, booted from the ranks of the Alaska State Troopers" and says that "two separate investigations" eventually became the "'Troopergate' scandal." The ABC piece then goes on to report all of the "harsh allegations" that Governor Palin charged against Trooper Wooten. But, the way these several paragraphs are presented the charges are only discussed in a "she said" style.

Of course, the ABC piece did find room to mention that Wooten denies the charges and also gives Wooten's pals room to argue for his innocence.

Wooten has denied the claims or said his actions were misrepresented. His supporters have said Wooten was unfairly targeted by Palin and her family, because of his prolonged custody battle with Palin's sister, Molly.

So, all we get is Palin's claims of his guilt, the Trooper's claims of his innocence, and a lot to discussion of how an ethics panel found Palin herself guilty of violating ethics. We also get the sob story about how Wooten has been threatened over the phone and how this has caused the police to fix him to a desk job where his union whines that he now cannot get over time pay.

Not one of the charges that the article says "she said," though, were compared to the actual findings of Wooten's guilt. The piece did not, for instance, report the fact that the Alaska State Police actually found Trooper Wooten guilty of several of the charges directed against him by the Governor. The piece leaves his actual guilt unreported.

Here is the last deceptive paragraph of the story, the only paragraph that has any exculpatory words for Governor Palin at all.

The first Troopergate investigation, by the Alaska legislature, found that Palin had broken state ethics laws in her quest to punish Wooten. The second probe, by the state's gubernatorially-appointed Personnel Board, found she did not. Palin did not respond to inquiries from KIMO.

Notice that this report does not mention that the first panel that found Palin guilty of ethics violations was run by a partisan Democrat group out to damage the Governor. But also notice how they phrase the probes. The partisan Democrat panel is only called an investigation "by the Alaska legislature," whereas the second one is termed a probe carried out by "the state's gubernatorially-appointed Personnel Board." This is ABC's way of saying the first board was free of partisanship yet the second was made up of a board that Palin appointed!

This entire piece is yet one more slanted, hit piece against Governor Palin.