After determining that Reed’s complaint met the “serious and substantive” threshold, the news council delivered a formal complaint to KIRO7 inviting them to respond to Reed and offering informal mediation that could avoid a public-hearing process. The station’s general manager Eric Lerner, joined by Halsne and two other staffers, finally agreed to meet with Reed and his aides on January 21, and Lerner said that at the meeting, the station stood by its stories. But several weeks later, the two stories in question were removed from KIRO7’s Web site, without explanation; a KIRO7 spokeswoman—the only representative from the station who would discuss the matter with CJR—said only that the station stands by the stories. “We take stories down from the Web site every day,” said Maria Lamarca Anderson.
What’s disappointing isn’t that KIRO7 made mistakes—journalists make mistakes all the time—but that it has refused to either own up to them or explain why it stands by the stories.