The KTVB Memo: We Translate


So Idaho Public Television wanted to host a debate with the eight Republicans running for U.S. Senate.

But, Lt. Gov. Jim Risch said, "Nah." He liked the KTVB debate format better.

So they went to tape the show at Northwest Nazarene University. And Jim Gilchriest, the KTVB news director, told the school to keep out the other newsies who might attend.

With us so far? Hokay, so, the newsies cried foul. The debate (yawn) went on. And Gilchriest's boss sent out a memo that suggested, cordially, that the newsies ought to go pound sand.

Here's some excerpts from the memo, sent by KTVB general manager Doug Armstrong, with helpful translation:

Recently questions have been raised regarding the KTVB News Group and our statewide political debates. It’s worth noting the authentic facts of our election commitment.

"Hello, Statesman? Got a problem?"

The KTVB News Group seeks to increase the quantity and quality of political debate in Idaho. For this campaign season we made two promises to the public; first, we promise to showcase debates statewide and distribute them in more ways. To this end our statewide debates will air on KTVB-Boise, KTFT-Twin Falls, KPVI-Pocatello, and KREM/KSKN-Spokane. In addition, we have made our debates available to Idaho Public Television, Peak Radio Broadcasting Group, and the Idaho Telecommunications Association. The debates will be repeated on the 24/7 NewsChannel. The debates can also been seen statewide on-demand on KTVB.COM.

"If your dead-tree news format is dying and Socialist television can't make the grade, don't come crying to me."

Secondarily we promise to make our debates the “fairest in the land”. We have a well tested equal-time format designed to generate more-issues-per-hour than any debate in the State. This format gives Idahoans opportunity to compare and contrast candidates over a wider breadth of issues and responses. The debate panel includes other journalists from the KREM, KPVI, Idaho Press Tribune, and the Idaho Business Review. While other debates may probe fewer issues, ours provides information viewers may not get elsewhere.

"Does the word 'softball' mean anything to you? Nobody likes you and the candidates think you're fat and ugly. They told us so."

Finally, we believe other media comments unwittingly promote media homogeny and discourage media independence and diversity. It is our sincere conviction that candidates should accept all debates and not pick and choose. We encourage diversity and frequency of debate. Some candidates are accepting the KTVB News Group debates because of our proven track record, our promise of the broadest statewide distribution, and an earned reputation of structured fairness in our format. We seek the highest standards possible for ourselves and our debate partners.

"Our green room snacks rule, and we have podiums for the short candidates."

Doug Armstrong President & General Manager KTVB News Group

Hugs and kisses,