TV reporter’s advice to GOP candidate West draws heatby George Bennett | May 14th, 2010
A WPTV Channel 5 reporter’s advice to Republican congressional candidate Allen West on his TV appearances has been deemed “inconsistent” with station policy and drawn fire from the campaign of U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton.
Klein supporters were alarmed recently when they saw a YouTube video of an event in which West introduced WPTV reporter Angela Sachitano and said she “does our media relations.”
Sachitano has no formal role with the West campaign, but she and her husband are friends with the candidate, West campaign manager Josh Grodin said. West said in an e-mail that Sachitano “provides me insights into how to improve my media appearance/presence and conduct of interviews.”
Sachitano has covered a handful of stories involving Klein and West, including a recent report on the political ramifications of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
When West opened his campaign headquarters in Deerfield Beach last month, a video posted on YouTube showed him introducing a variety of campaign staffers and volunteers, including Sachitano.
“Angela Sachitano, who does our media relations, has done such a great job in helping me to develop that presence, so that when I go on MSNBC, you notice I didn’t smile with those folks, because you have to know how to project the right type of presence, so Angela thank you,” West says in the clip.
West, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, said later that Sachitano’s husband, a former Army captian, was an early volunteer on West’s losing 2008 campaign against Klein.
Angela Sachitano wouldn’t comment and referred questions to WPTV News Director Jeff Brogan.
Said Brogan: “Through her husband Angela has a personal friendship with Allen West. While we have no reason to believe that relationship has negatively impacted her work as a journalist we did find her involvement with this campaign inconsistent with our policy. We’ve taken the appropriate action to address the situation.”
Brogan’s statement didn’t elaborate on the “appropriate action.”
Klein campaign spokeswoman Sarah Rothschild blasted West.
“To have a high profile member of the media personally advising Allen West, while that individual is also simultaneously reporting on the campaign, is beyond what is acceptable. Of course, unethical behavior from Allen West and his campaign is becoming the norm. South Florida residents deserve fair and unbiased coverage of the news and West is trying to undermine that.”
Tags: Allen West