Ethics be Damned at Tegna Station

WFAA has been doing a sweeps stories about voter fraud in Dallas County elections.

But, the local paper says something is afoul with the Tegna stations stories. The station has been using a guy named Sidney Williams in their stories.

Williams was shown in the stories discussing secret recordings he made of conversations between him and another man, Jose Barrientos, wherein the two appeared to discuss how to commit mail-in ballot fraud.

Williams has said he came forward to ensure the integrity of the electoral process. But, the assistant district attorney leading the voter fraud investigation, confirmed that Williams and Barrientos are both persons of interest to authorities. 

And the kicker? 

WFAA is reported as paying Williams for his "secret recordings."

The Dallas Morning News writes that Williams' allegations went public this week through WFAA's stories, built largely around the secret recordings that Williams said the station paid him $2,500 to access. The station's news director said WFAA paid Williams a "licensing fee" in some amount less than $2,500.

Williams showed The News a contract with WFAA in which the station agreed to pay him $1,000 in exchange for exclusive use of his audiotapes. He said he had another agreement with the station for the rest of the money but declined to show that contract.

Carolyn Mungo, WFAA's executive news director, said the station paid Williams for a "licensing fee," though she said the $2,500 figure "grossly overstates" the amount, and "is not accurate."

"We do not pay for information," Mungo said in an email. "In this case, WFAA had already done its reporting. We conducted our on-camera interview. We then licensed the contents of the audio conversations as supporting documentation of information already obtained."

In the stories on WFAA, the station does not disclose the fact that they paid Williams, who said he was not allowed to let other reporters listen to his recordings based on his agreement with WFAA.

Seems that WFAA isn't telling the whole story to their viewers.