Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Exclusive: KTVU Fake Pilot Name List OKed by Station 'Managing Editor Who Wasn't Fired; Station Feared Backlash by SF-Area Asian Community; Source That Provided Fake List Was Ex-Pilot







Several minutes before the moment the fake names of the Asiana Airlines pilots aired prematurely on KTVU News, a veteran staffer-- awarding winning TV News journalist, Roland De Wolk, (one of the four fired at the station over the incident), passed the names over to newsroom staffers whose duty was to make sure the names were authentic, according to a broadcast source close to the station. One of those staffers included the Managing Editor!

The source spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the story.

"You better check these, (names), out", said De Wolk after he passed the names over to newsroom personnel.  KTVU's Managing Editor, Michelle Toy, who saw the list and whose duty, (among normal news procedures),  was to read the names out loud, phonetically, raised the issue that the names sounded suspicious. Told that they were confirmed by an NTSB official, (later to be known as an intern), OKed the list.  Toy, who is of Asian descent, was not one of the four staffers let go by KTVU and its corporate owner, Cox Media.

Another individual close to De Wolk said that the source that provided the fake pilot's names,(electronically via e-mail or text), was an ex-pilot who had worked with KTVU in the past and was considered to be trustworthy.

I asked the source if the pilot knowingly sent the names as a joke and if so, did the station know? "Apparently not." At least 4-5 people saw the list of names, including anchor, Tori Campbell, who read them on the air on KTVU's Noon Newscast, Friday, July 12th.

Toy, according to the source, made note that even though the downed jetliner was a Korean airline, the pilot, (fake), names were that of Chinese descent. Furthermore, the real names had already been posted on-line and KTVU was one of several news organizations that published them.

So, why then was Toy spared? Said the source: "KTVU didn't want to offend the Asian Community. They'd already did so with the fake name scandal and they were worried about a backlash."

Attempts to reach Toy were unsuccessful.

KTVU management has ignored repeated requests for comment on this and other items related to the story. 

De Wolk has hired SF-area attorney, Michael Cardoza, over a wrongful-termination act.

KTVU has placed a gag order on its entire staff regarding the affair. It should be noted that Cox Media sent its own media attorney out to the Bay Area to head an internal investigation into the highly embarrassing incident. An incident that has tarnished KTVU's stellar news product reputation and continues to haunt several of its key personnel, both on and off the air.

**RICH LIEBERMAN 415 MEDIA EXCLUSIVE

**Follow me on Twitter

 
 
 
 




68 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. More like Wi Fuk Dup, right?

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  2. More intrepid reporting, thanks...this sounds plausible; every February, it's 28/29 days of Chinese new year and a handful of African-American Mc Donalds mid. mgmt. :30s' on Black History month

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  3. So was the ex-pilot, the guy who gave the phony names, a former KTVU reporter or staffer?
    Why was he so trusted.

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    1. Because reporters cultivate sources, dummy.

      Ever hear of a guy named Deep Throat? No, I don't mean the porn film.

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  4. Having worked for Cox, I really can't imagine Jim Kennedy and the corporate leadership team more worried about the Bay-area Asian community than its own news credibility. Obviously, this is part of the legal argument De Wolk's attorney will use, but there has to be something more-than-meets-the-eye here that is yet to be uncovered. I had colleagues in Cox who were fired for a whole lot less.

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  5. KTVU, you suck!!!!!

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  6. " Hello Micheal? Yeah, it's Roland. Could you please do me a favor and have KTVU send my HUGE settlement to me in Aruba. Yeah, that's right Aruba. I'm here Yacht shopping. Hey, while your at it, have them add another zero to the amount just so there's no hard feelings. Ciao Baby."

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    1. You've obviously never sued anybody.

      That would be Roland's lawyers talking, if anything. The "winner" in a settlement generally walks away with a third.

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  7. ..and yet Tori muddles on...Why hasn't the idiot at the desk who read the names been fired?

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    1. Wasn't her fault that they put up wrong stuff to read... Remember... Tori's primary function there is to simply read you the news...

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  8. Bet KTVU is more fun than a barrel full of monkeys right now especially with this floating around. Probably more than a few staffers a little angry at the world.

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  9. So lemme get this straight Rich. She saw the names before they went to air and gets to keep her job. A guy who had nothing to do with it gets canned over a Tweet? WHAT THE HELL????

    I don't think we should be "trusting" KTVU anymore. What a joke of a station. Way to "take action" fools.

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  10. I hear Michelle Toy recently accepted a job as KTVU's "social media manager." I wonder if she was able to argue that she wasn't technically Managing Editor at the time.

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    1. Yeah, well KTVU, Toy and Mr. Social Media Rosenfuckface sent out a BREAKING NEWS tweet that Captain Kangaroo died today. Oops!

      What the hell is going on at 2 Jack London Square?

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    2. Bottom line. She raised the red flag and was clearly overruled. The buck did not stop there. It wasn't her final decision to make.

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  11. So Toy flagged the names and was overruled by someone who quoted the NTSB intern. What got them in trouble was wanting to be first. Did anyone check back with the "pilot"? Ask him where he got the info and was it a reliable source? Something is missing from this story. You almost wonder if the names were passed along as a prank that someone assumed would be caught in time. As for Campbell, can someone who actually reads news from a teleprompter tells us if the reader is expected to edit as they read?

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    1. @6:02 Yes, anchors are supposed to read, edit, and approve all of their scripts. Most anchor do, including Tori from what I hear. The only time they are not able to do so, is if there is breaking news, and when stories are added at the very last-minute. But since this story went through so many hands, it doesn't seem likely that it was added without enough time for the anchor to check it. The problem here is that even if the names seemed strange to Tori, if the producers and managing editors assured her that the information was legit and confirmed by the NTSB, it put her in a position to read the names any way. Anchors are supposed to question things that raise a red-flag, but they also have to trust their team. You have to remember that these were not rookies that made this mistake. This mistake was made by people who had been getting it right for years.

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    2. Thank you. That explanation helps a lot because I understood this was breaking and shoved at her at the last minute. I liked what you said about trusting your team.

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    3. 7:12PM - My God, finally someone who understands how it works! A first for this topic.

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  12. If Toy flagged the names and noted they were Chinese even though the pilots were Korean, then she did her job. She shouldn't have been terminated, Asian or not.

    That's the trouble with TV news. The person responsible often has no real authority. They are frequently overruled by higher-ups and then fired if something blows up, a la KRON's Penis Puppet fiasco, or KGO-TV's firing of a segment producer because she used courtesy video when the station *instructed* her to do so as a cost-saving measure. Shit always rolls downhill in the TV business. Who gets fired is determined by politics, not who did what.

    Though I'm not fan of De Wolk, I hope he sues their asses off. They're a bunch of effing hypocrites.

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  13. I am unclear on Toy's role. Are you saying she questioned the names, but got overruled? Or did she not push back when someone else approved the name list?

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    1. That's a good question. As Managing editor, the only person who should have been able to overrule Toy is the news director, Lee Rosenthal. Did he overrule her? If so, Dewolk may actually have a case.

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  14. When I set up my laptop to show my son the video of this news segment (without clueing him in on what was coming) I made sure he could not see the graphic before hearing the anchor read off the names. I did this for a reason: I knew the jig would be up the moment he saw "Sum Ting Wong." There was no question in my mind that my son -- who is neither Chinese, Korean, or a news editor, would immediately realize the station had been pranked.

    I'm not suggesting my son is a whiz kid, but I'm quite sure that by the time he saw "Wi Tu Lo" there would be no person, agency, or deity who could ever convince him the names were real. He's not an idiot.

    KTVU had a field day/week/month/year trying to make the Oscar Grant case more than what it was: an unfathomable brain fart on the part of a panicked police officer. Now they have an unfathomable error of their own, but they sure don't seem interested in publicly analyzing it.

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    1. Not exactly sure why you're comparing a fatal BART shooting with your kid analyzing a TV news gaffe. The two stories have nothing in common. For the first story, an unarmed man tragically lost his life, and a BART police officer lost his job, reputation, and probably more than a few nights of sleep. No winners here. Even if your son caught the names, as most of us did in hindsight, it still has nothing to do with the BART shooting. I'm sure you'd have a different opinion if a BART officer had a "brain fart" and killed your son. Even though I don't think the officer shot Grant on purpose, it doesn't justify the shooting, or make it any less newsworthy. And it certainly doesn't make it comparable with the holy fuk "name gate" gaffe at KTVU.

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    2. Oscar Grant's murder was a BRAIN FART?

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    3. @8:53 -- The comparison was between a professional police officer committing an error that was unfathomable to the public and fellow professionals alike, and the equally unfathomable error committed by the Noon News crew.

      @AUntie L -- No, you had a brain fart reading my post. Oscar Grant was killed by a bullet, a bullet fired by an officer under a level of stress not particularly unusual in police work. There was no intent or ill motive established, it was a mistake. Mistakes do kill, and sometimes mistakes are referred to as brain farts in casual discourse... among rational adults, that is.

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    4. Rational adults are rejecting your comparison because you obviously seek to minimize the murder of a black child. Bugs you that so many people don't criminalize black life the way you think they should, doesn't it. Boo hoo.

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    5. @9:08 PM -- The only thing that's been minimized is your display of intelligence. The widespread, hysterical need to find deep meaning and ill intent in the killing of Oscar Grant is not the mark of a smart and sophisticated society, it is instead the mark of the undeveloped, tribal mindset -- the kind that sees evil and requires reparation for even the most obvious of accidents.

      Each and every day some innocent person is killed by an illegal left turn, an unattended swimming pool, or job site inattention. Oscar Grant was killed by a stupid mistake made by a man with no history of such behavior. I apologize if you are not grown up enough to handle that simple truth.

      As for "rational adults," you referred to Oscar Grant as a "child," and, without a shred of evidence, formed wild conclusions about my view on African-Americans. Is that the mark of a rational mind?

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  15. This is the imaginary big story Lieberman has been working so hard to create.

    Strip away all Rich's excitement about his "exclusive story" and what you have is a terminated employee looking to collect damages for being fired. Lawsuits (and legitimate news stories) require evidence, not unsubstantiated claims from anonymous sources.

    Rich can you provide any factual evidence that backup your "exclusive story?"

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    1. My past reporting on this KTVU story speaks for itself and my sources are airtight.

      If you choose to think otherwise or merely want to ridicule that's your right to do so.

      I stand by the story.

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    2. Lee, are you trolling again???

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    3. put down the crack pipe "real" lawyer.

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    4. Rich, I give you a solid (TM Weiner) 10 points for that reply. Spot on!

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  16. Why does the NTSB get a pass on their lame ass excuse?


    Any brave journalist out there wanna go down that rabbit hole?

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    1. Pretty simple, really. The agency determined how many of its personnel were to blame and dismissed all of them, all one of them. Some lame kid working in Washington (I would assume), and likely trying to sound "official" on the phone. I don't think the "conspiracy" is at the federal level. It's entirely at Jack London broadcast central.

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  17. Hey Rich when are you going to cover the OJ Simpson murder trial? That's about how relevant this story is at this point.

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    1. The OJ Simpson murder trial was actually pretty relevant when it happened 20 years ago. And this story is pretty relevant now, but for a different reason. It's a classic commentary, albeit, involuntary commentary, on the state of TV news, and how we get our information as a democracy. This story absolutly has legs, and if you don't think so, or understand why, I suppose that's sadder than your lame OJ Simpson trial comparison.

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    2. @9:50pm WRONG. Not only is this still a hot story, it's a major embarrassment to America!

      Mr. L I applaud you for uncovering the truth.

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    3. Lieberman keeps insisting it's a hot story. No one else agrees.

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    4. I'm waiting for Lieberman to rehash the Lindbergh baby kidnapping once he tires of this story.

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    5. I still don't believe John Wilkes Booth was acting alone. Who was really behind the Lincoln assassination?

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  18. Ron Burgandy lives .... right in the SF area. What an idiot! She should have been the first to go and then a string of managers who hired her. Where's the accountability? "Well, Bob, she looks presentable and she reads really, really good. I think we should hire her to represent us." Got her cheap, I'll betcha, and got what you paid for.

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  19. De Wok is the idiot that started all this. Just remember to make him a "special wonton soup" if you ever see him in your restaurant.

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  20. This rocky road may lead to Janice Gin. Why? Toy was hired by Gin. Toy owed Gin. Gin promised Toy Assistant ND when she became ND. When Mr. Press Release booted Gin out the door they drank the Kool-Aid. It was Gin's LAST DAY figure it out!!

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  21. 1. There is absolutely no excuse for the anchor who read these names on the air to have failed to identify them as prank names. If she had time to read them before they were in the prompter and didn't pull the plug, then she's a complete idiot. If she read them cold and didn't stop in the middle of it and apologize, then she's a complete moron. She should have been first to be fired.

    2. Everyone who saw these names and didn't fight to their last breath to keep them from airing should have been fired. That means there should have been screaming, yelling, calls to the news director, calls to the GM and calls to corporate. No one with any sense at all (I don't care of Jesus confirmed them as real names) would have let those names go on the air without doing all of the above and then quitting their job immediately when they did air.

    3. NTSB my arse. If someone had told me that the NTSB had approved those names, then I would have immediately turned my I-Team loose on the NTSB and come up with that story for the next newscast -- "NTSB Has Interns Running Public Information Office and Approving Prank Names In Sensitive Case." Outraged representatives from the Asia community would have been on the set to complain about the NTSB's horrible handling of a sensitive matter.

    4. It is absolutely disturbing that such a collection of bozos was allowed to assemble in one shop. Guess what? There are similar collections all over the country.

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    1. With the encouragement of Mr. Lieberman, you are making a mountain out of a mole hill. This was a practical joke gone awry. People have been punished. KTVU has been embarrassed and apologized.

      There's kicking a dead horse and beating a dead horse. At this point you are sitting around watching the decaying carcass of a dead horse disintegrate.

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    2. @7:18 AM -- What kind of brain food did you have for breakfast? Whatever it was, I want some. Four hammer blows and you nailed it tight.

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    3. Coffee and fresh peaches. Every day.

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  22. So in other words, a couple of people screwed up and the list was shown and names read. WE GET IT.

    When this happened Lieberman was leading the charge demanding that people be fired. Now that some people have been fired, Lieberman is leading the charge about something else.

    KTVU didn't want to offend the Asian community, yeah so what? Is there something wrong about that?

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    1. Yes. As a matter of fact, there is something fundamentally wrong with that. What's wrong with that is the very reason the TV news business is the joke it is today: People are hired for every reason under the sun EXCEPT their ability to actually do the job. People are fired only when it won't cause a special interest group to protest. "We can't fire the gay guy because the gays will picket. We can't fire the Asian woman because the Asian community will be offended." It's total B.S. If you can't do the job, you shouldn't have the job. Period.

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  23. I hear De Wok has retained the services of that high-powered Asian Law Firm--Wi Su Yu--to represent him.

    The firm has assigned its top attorney--Ai Su Yu--on the case.

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  24. Another KTVU ERROR this AM involving outdated information:


    Stan Bunger
    ‏@BungerKCBS
    Oops, @KTVU . Your tweet: "Cosmo Allegretti, also known as 'Captain Kangaroo,' has died." Bob Keeshan was Captain. Cosmo did puppets/voices.
    Reply Retweet Favorite More
    2
    RETWEETS Vince FergusonGRIPP¹
    8:59 AM - 7 Aug 13
    Tweet text
    Reply to @BungerKCBS @KTVU
    Image will appear as a link
    Mark Foyer ‏@MarkFoyer 17m
    @BungerKCBS @KTVU Also, Bob Keeshan died several years ago.
    Details
    Joseph Phillips ‏@Jdphil07 12m
    @BungerKCBS @KTVU now what intern screwed up?
    Details



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    1. This is another example of KTVU trying to hide its errors. Note on Stan Bunger's feed that his reaction to the original KTVU tweet delivered at 4:59pm. The original, incorrect KTVU tweet was deleted and replaced with a "sanitized" version at 5:01pm. Keep it up Raponi & Rosenthal and your station's remaining credibility will vanish in a heartbeat. Pathetic, rank amateurs.

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    2. I also saw that many of the people who retweeted the KTVU original tweet quickly updated with "CORRECTION" versions when it was clear that KTVU was in error.

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  25. How come no one else is reporting this "Exclusive"?
    Maybe it's "Exclusive" for a reason?
    IT'S NOT A REAL STORY

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  26. Now we know the name of the News Editor referred to by the Chronicle last week. But the pilot source, that's something new. We still don't know who actually wrote the story but at least we have the origin. And I swear I saw some where Janice Gin was actually gone the week before this happened so that would kill 6:13 AM's theory. July 12 might simply have been for accounting purposes. (July 12th was a Friday, possibly a pay day if the company pays its employees every 2 weeks)

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  27. Managing Editor Toy questioned the names and even stated they were Chinese not Korean but deferred to the expert. Sometimes that happens.

    Also if that's on record, and she questioned the whole thing, seems she has some protection under the law if terminated.

    Any way, methinks several people will visit the ex-pilot/new sources to KTVU and break his knee caps. Seriously, you cause four people to lose their jobs, something will happen.

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  28. Token Asian Female who thinks everything is All Wight!

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  29. This is a perfect example of how dumbed down "main stream" media has become. Coming in at 7th grade level at best. Now you know why the rest of the world considers Americans so incredibly ignorant and uninformed about the world.

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  30. the fact that she thought the names were strange because they seemed Chinese means she didnt even catch the joke! I wonder if she actually speaks the language.

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  31. I have lived in Oakland since 1978. I am white. I have observed the racial and ethnic divisions from the vantage point of living in the flatlands. There is no way you can convince me that anyone at KTVU, if they were intelligent, thoughtful, aware people, could have missed this kind of thing. I don't care about relying on people, I don't care about trusting your team, I don't care about working at deadline, I don't care about expressing concerns - at some point, you have to take responsibility for not being as perceptive as you are supposed to be. Everyone involved should be busy admitting how truly out of it they were at the time - even Toy - and admit that if they really lived a multicultural existence, this would not have been possible.

    That being said, what's up with the decision of the so-called consultant? What kind of character, background and personality does he have? I get American humor, I was raised here, but this is so beyond the pale that you have wonder what that person was doing in the business in the Bay Area in the first place? I would say that everything written above applies to him too, but clearly, his point of view was so deeply ingrained in insult and disrespect that he could not even pass it off as humor. We know humor about race and ethnicity when we hear it. It's 2013. This is not it.

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  32. So Ms Toy wa sspared. WOW. Talk about pandering and double standards...

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  33. For all the whiners complaining about why Rich is coverig this - and they think it's "not a story" - The Chron linked to it, and it's the NUMBA ONE read story on sfgate.com! (Numba one as in numba one; not numba one as a junior high fake stupid ethnic joke.)

    Are all of these folks NOT leaders??!! As several folks have said, anyone with common sense, a little life experience, some C-A-H-O-N-E-S -- would have STOPPED THE PRESSES - and done a double / triple / quadruple check on these names. Sorry, even that don't work. OK, I'll give you one accidental "We Too Loo" name... but FOUR?!?! Impossible!

    Because Ms. Toy let it go, I don't think should give her a pass.

    If Ms. Toy & Tori Campbell stay around, will we ever be able to trust them at their jobs?

    Rich: tip: why not call up and inerview former KTVU General Manager Kevin O'Brien - brash, colorful, fun, super bright - and get his take on the situation? That would be another way you could beat the local scribes!

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  34. Nice post with great details. Thanks for sharing. incident management

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