KLAS is calling out a freelance TV news producer whose actions Las Vegas police are calling “an underhanded act of subterfuge.”
According to police, Shelley Osterloh, a former Salt Lake City anchor and current freelance producer for NBC News, gained entry into the home of one of the two officers slain in Sunday’s Walmart shooting by saying she was a friend of the family and by offering flowers.
The Las Vegas CBS affiliate ran a commentary last night at 6:00 p.m. with George Knapp telling viewers, “When we heard Tuesday night that a TV producer had used a phony cover story and maybe outright lies to weasel her way into the home of one of the slain officers, our initial thought was, ‘There must be a mistake. No journalist could possibly be so heartless, so creepy. But we were wrong. It happened.'”
>UPDATE: An NBC News spokesperson responded to the story by saying, “The report is inaccurate. Our freelance producer, who has done excellent work for NBC News for many years, clearly identified herself as a journalist to the family. She was subsequently invited into their home and they helped facilitate an interview with the siblings and colleague of the fallen officer, which appeared on the Today show this morning. A police officer was present during our interview, and as far as we know, the family has had no objections to our dealings with them. At no time did she misrepresent herself; there was unfortunately some confusion during an earlier conversation she had with a police officer, when she was asked for her name but not her affiliation.”
KLAS reported the story without commentary on its 11:00 p.m. show and three times during the news this morning. The station said police were “beyond furious” and cited Osterloh for parking her car in a red zone while reminding viewers KLAS does not agree with her methods.
“This transgression is beyond the pale,” said Knapp. “The problem is, it reflects on everyone who works in journalism because there’s already a suspicion within law enforcement that people in our line of work would do anything to get a story. Well, we wouldn’t. And we didn’t””
KLAS said they spoke to Osterloh. She denied she lied to gain access to the house and said she didn’t identify herself as news media because no one asked. “When we asked if she should have volunteered that information, ” said KLAS anchor Paula Francis. “Osterloh said, ‘Probably.'”
TVSpy has asked NBC News for comment. We will update when we hear back.