Over the last few weeks, WIS TV 10 (NBC – Columbia, S.C.) has adopted an interesting new approach to its political coverage.
Basically, the website is taking stories that break here on FITSNews and passing those stories off as original reporting.
Within the last few months, they’ve done it with our “Sex, Lies and Troopers” scandal over at the S.C. Department of Public Safety (DPS) as well as our investigative reporting into the latest campaign finance shenanigans of embattled S.C. Lt. Gov. Ken Ard.
Oh, WIS also “exclusively” published an internal S.C. Highway Patrol memo on traffic ticket quotas … several weeks after we published it.
In none of those stories did our website get so much as a mention. Our founding editor Will Folks (a.k.a. Sic Willie) had a conversation with WIS general manager Donita Todd last week about these sleights, at which point Todd curtly informed him that WIS “doesn’t get stories from (our) website.”
Anyway, in the latest example of non-attributed “imitation is flattery,” the station is apparently digging into a report we published nearly a year ago regarding the involvement of S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley’s father – Ajit S. Randhawa – in the financial dealings of a local Sikh Temple.
According to sources and documents made available exclusively to FITS (hear that, WIS?), the temple has a history of serious accounting problems – including a habitual failure to pay contractors for their work and the issuance of fraudulent tax receipts for cash contributions.
The most damaging allegation? Several congregation members told FITS that Randhawa may have illegally funneled money intended for the temple into his daughter’s gubernatorial campaign.
So, who ran the books for the temple? Multiple sources have pointed the finger directly at Nikki Haley … who was exposed during the 2010 campaign as a pretty crappy accountant, if you recall.
Why does this matter? Well, Randhawa is reportedly the subject of a federal investigation – one that could make Ken Ard’s campaign finance issues look like child’s play.
Within the last few weeks, we’re told that a WIS reporter conducted an extensive interview with Randhawa – and that the interview “did not go well.”
“He said some incriminating things,” our source said, adding that “(WIS) is convinced it has a major story on its hands.”
Not so, says the station’s recently-hired news editor, Rashida Jones.
According to Jones, the station did interview Randhawa regarding the allegations – but the interview took place several months ago. Jones added that WIS has no plans to run a story on the Sikh Temple saga, at least “not anytime soon.”
In the event WIS does run a story, FITS will be sure to provide our readers with a link to it (and credit the station) … a courtesy that WIS clearly doesn’t believe should be extended to us.
Oh well, just bear that in mind the next time you hear people talking about “impolite” and “unaccountable” bloggers. Also, we can’t help but think that the WIS non-attribution policy is all about denying us traffic … a tactic other news outlets have attempted in the past.
Guess what … it doesn’t work.