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Response from WIBX 950AM

The following is the verbatim written response from Jeff Monaski of WIBX 950AM. This response is a followup to the phone conversation on 3/28/14.

I accept the explanation of Mr. Monaski that this was an unintentional error, and has occurred on this program in the past, on calls of various natures. I thank Mr. Monaski for contacting me swiftly, and verifying that this was not an act of bias or misrepresentation, and no edit occurred – live or in post-edit.

As stated in my open letter, and as I have always done in my work as a political commentator for nearly a decade, I am providing the verbatim response so that there is clarity for all who may be concerned.

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Mr. Vasquez,

It was nice speaking with you this morning and I wanted to follow up with an email to clear up any misunderstanding as it relates to your interview on the WIBX First News with Keeler in the Morning program on WIBX 950 in Utica.

As I indicated on the phone with you, I absolutely disagree with your labeling of the interview and subsequent email as a misrepresentation of your comments/answers, and I do not believe there was any bias during the interview. It was also mentioned in your email to us that you felt the interview was edited:

…That recording makes it clear that my answers were edited, either live or in post-production, to limit the information that I believe is vital for voters and the general public in this election. It is an obvious and crude manipulation, the reason for which is unknown to me – nor that I care about….

I want to assure you that this is not the case with your interview, nor is it ever the case with our morning show or any local programming provided by WIBX. The audio found in ‘Keeler Show Notes’ (which can be found here: http://wibx950.com/keeler-in-the-morning-show-notes-for-thurs-march-27th/) is the full, exact and complete interview that aired LIVE when you joined us by phone on the morning of March 27, 2014.

There is one point in the interview where host Bill Keeler attempts to ask a question, and does so with the belief that you had completed your previous answer. In doing so, he lowers the ‘telephone’ line, which you are on. This is common and was not done to edit, mute or otherwise distort your answer. You did not hear his next question and continued to answer the previous one, as heard in the audio file you referenced. There was no fault of either party, and does sometimes happen with a fast paced, interview program.

We thank you for taking the time to join us on the show, and hope that you will consider doing so in the future to discuss your candidacy for New York’s 22nd Congressional District.

And, thank you for reaching out because this provided an opportunity to clear the air, if you will. I did not want you to think we edited or changed the content of your interview.

In the case that your supporters feel this is the case, I would appreciate you sharing this email – and your own feelings – to correct the record.

Thank you again

Jeff Monaski
WIBX Program Director

Media bias in the NY-22 mid-term elections

To the management of WIBX 950AM,

I am writing this letter in regard to my interview on 3/27/14 at 7:20am, on the Keeler in the Morning program on your station WIBX 950AM.

I am a candidate for the NY 22nd Congressional District, and as such I have had well over a dozen news media interviews, as well as speeches with questions & answers and private conversations with various political organizations where I have been grilled for literally hours on every aspect of the congressional race. In all cases I have never encountered the apparent bias that has occurred on this program.

While I cannot confirm how this program was heard live, I have listened to the interview posted on your website for the public. That recording makes it clear that my answers were edited, either live or in post-production, to limit the information that I believe is vital for voters and the general public in this election. It is an obvious and crude manipulation, the reason for which is unknown to me – nor that I care about.

WIBX 950AM, Keeler in the Morning

Keeler in the Morning


Let me be clear – the recording provided via your website active displays that my a portion of my answers were muted or otherwise cut off as I was speaking, the track overlaid with Mr. Keeler speaking, and then returns to me continuing to speak to the question asked. That is manipulation of the highest order and is beneath the quality of service I am sure you try to provide your audience.

I am not afraid of relevant questions asked of me. I am an advocate of the public making their own choice in this critical primary that will likely decide the congressional Representative for the NY-22. But I am livid when an interviewer unilaterally decides what content the public can or cannot receive in response to a question that is being asked of a candidate.

This action is a disservice to the public, and apparently may be a reflection of favoritism of Mr. Keeler for the incumbent. While I have no concern for what political preferences Mr. Keeler may have, it is a type of violation of the 1st Amendment to impose his preferences on the public and an insult to me as a candidate.

I will NOT accept another interview with Mr. Keeler, though I am open to interviews with any other member of your staff and organization. While it is your right to employ whomever you wish, it is my right to decline to support actions and/or individuals that I feel are deceptive and against the public good.

I hold no ill will to you or your radio station. I would ask that Mr. Keeler admit his actions, and publicly apologize for his apparent manipulation and deception against the public. Even if this action is taken, I will not interview with him again on any matter as I feel I cannot trust his character or intentions.

Sincerely

Michael Vasquez
Candidate for the NY 22nd Congressional District, 2014

** I have made this letter public as the actions taken directly affect the public, and they deserve to be aware of this. I will happily provide equal public notice of any response you request or provide to this letter. **

Sent to: Jeff Monaski, WIBX Program Director; Karen Carey, WIBX General Manager; TownSquare Media Corporate offices

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