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WTMJ-TV used this image and video for an investigation and sweeps promo in May.

MPD officer sues WTMJ-TV for sweeps story

Back in May, the four local TV news outlets planned and broadcast large investigative reports, as they battled with each other to win the ratings period.

One report in particular, promoted as "has people talking," featured a video submitted by a security staffer to WTMJ-TV Ch. 4 with a police officer holding money accessed at an area ATM machine.

As I wrote in early May, the report and the promotion of it raised a number of questions.

Milwaukee Police Department Chief Ed Flynn had a number of questions, too. He even held a press conference questioning why WTMJ was going ahead with the report, promoting a story in which, upon investigation, the officer involved on the case was cleared of any wrong-doing.

Now, that same police officer has a number of questions for the WTMJ news staff and its parent company Journal Communications.

Last week Tuesday, MPD officer Matthew Knight filed a lawsuit in Milwaukee County Circuit Court that claims that the station's promotion of the i-Team investigation implied misconduct and criminal activity.

As I wrote earlier, the actual report that aired covered all of the bases – reporter Jermont Terry presented the video, the situation behind why Knight was helping a person access cash at an ATM machine, and that Knight was cleared of any misconduct. The question, which will have to be decided by a jury, is if the promotion of the report, characterized as "explosive," defamed the officer's professional reputation, as the suit claims.

RETRANSMISSION: In the past two weeks the negotiations between Time Warner Cable and Journal Communications Group has gone public. The current deal between the cable outlet and WTMJ-TV Ch. 4 in Milwaukee, WGBA-TV and WACY-TV in Green Bay and stations in Omaha and Lincoln, Neb., and Palm Springs, Calif., was set to expire last week. An extension was made through to Wednesday.

Depending on your perspective, usually these talks for pennies per subscriber deals don't ever become more than a nuisance. More often than not these contracts go public, and get settled. Sometimes, a station may go dark for a few days to a couple of weeks – as was the case between TWC and WISN-TV Ch. 12 a year ago.

After a check over the weekend, language on Time Warner Cable's conversations web site have been changed to read: "We continue to negotiate with Journal Broadcasting, parent company of the stations listed below, but there is no risk that customers' viewing will be interrupted at this time."

The link for Journal Communications of jbganswers.com was no longer active. The Journal last used the site when its talks with DISH Network went public a couple of years ago. Forecast the situation as you would like, but for me, I'm guessing a deal will be finalized shortly.

NO MORE 'GMA' DEBATE: Page Six of the New York Post is reporting that CNN leadership has put a ban on CNN and HLN staffers appearing on other network news programs. That means Nancy Grace will no longer have those wonderful debates with Dan Abrams on ABC's "Good Morning America."

Grace, whose show appears weeknights on HLN, would often bring her own style of legal analysis on the same network she was a cast member on "Dancing with the Stars."

"While it is true that Nancy no longer appears on 'GMA,' it has nothing to do with banning [particular] clients. Like every other cable network and broadcast outlet with a morning show, we ask that CNN/HLN talent not appear on other network's morning shows, unless they are promoting a book or a personal project," a CNN source said to the New York Post.

CNN launched its new morning news program "New Day" in June.

Talkbacks

Otto | July 8, 2013 at 10:21 p.m. (report)

I hope the officer wins a nice settlement. The public humiliation might get today's TMZ 4 will stop being so sensational and get back to reporting the news.

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