KSTP Owner Blames Social Media For #Pointergate Backlash

By Kevin Eck 

kstp_304Stanley Hubbard, chairman and CEO of Hubbard Broadcasting, parent company of the station at the center of the #pointergate controversy, went on the defensive against detractors of the KSTP story that claimed the mayor and a get-out-the-vote volunteer were throwing gang signs in a picture.

Hubbard responded to the Minnesota Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists after it called on the Minneapolis ABC affiliate to “disavow” the story, which came to be known as #pointergate.

In his letter, Hubbard stands by his station’s report and blames social media for fomenting controversy, at one point saying the internet lacks credibility.

We know that social media is able to control Internet conversation on any given topic. As I am sure you know, much of what appears on the Internet lacks credibility. We have read all too many Internet messages about our coverage from people (and, in many cases, “bots”) who obviously had not seen our coverage, or who came to the Internet with a predetermined point of view. Sadly, a number of respected news organizations have engaged in what any unbiased professional journalist would recognize as inadequate independent reporting about our story. The fact that our report was the “top trending” story in the Twittersphere for a day or two does not lend veracity to the tweets, biogs and posts it engendered.

Read the full letter after the jump.

Hubbard went on to give a point by point defense of the story by reporter Jay Kolls, focusing on the Minnesota SPJ Chapter calling the Mayor’s pointing in the picture nothing more than a “silly gesture.”

He added that those who criticized his station’s coverage, including what he called “serious news organizations,” only “followed the herd” in their attack on the story. “Rather than responsibly questioning law enforcement’s motivation in bringing this story forward, and digging deep into whether it truly represented a public safety issue,” he wrote. “They instead chose to simply ignore that which was reported, and go with the much easier and much more popular ‘silly gesture’ angle.

He was particularly critical of the Minnesota SPJ, saying it’s OK for other media to criticize, but the Minnesota SPJ should never have called on his station to disavow the story.

Hubbard finished his letter by writing, “I believe that any news organization which is concerned with the news, and not political correctness, would run the story that Channel 5 ran.

For the record, TVSpy has repeatedly asked KSTP for comment but has never heard back.

Stanley Hubbard Pointergate Response