Just one day after The San Diego Union-Tribune drew attention to his query, a city attorney abandoned his request for information about a public television station’s news-programming decisions and details about its relationship with a newspaper owner.
Michael Aguirre had been investigating KPBS’s decision to cancel “Full Focus,” an evening news and public affairs program on which he regularly appeared. When it cancelled the program in early August, KPBS said that it doubted the program’s potential for future audience and revenue growth.
Aguirre questioned whether Copley Press, owner of the Union-Tribune, and the paper’s editorial page editor Robert Kittle exerted undue influence in the show’s cancellation. He said he wanted to uncover “the role that the very conservative establishment newspaper plays in whether we have a fair public broadcast system.”
KPBS’s general manager, Doug Myrland, and Kittle both denied the allegations.
Aguirre, who appeared as a guest on the show 15 times between July 2003 and August 2007, withdrew his request after Peter Scheer, executive director of the California First Amendment Coalition, advised him that such an inquiry was inappropriate for a government official. Thanks Pete.