Thursday, December 18

JUST THE FACTS, PLEASE

Russell Mokhiber, Corporate Crime Reporter - Washington, D.C. has one all news radio station. It's WTOP – owned by Bonneville Broadcasting – which is in turn owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

WTOP has one national security correspondent. He's J.J. Green.

With major American newspaper giants closing down their foreign bureaus – and even their Washington bureaus – WTOP somehow has the funding to send Green to Israel for a week to report on how Israel copes with terrorism and the conflict with the Palestinians. . .

WTOP has a history of getting corporations to pay for various parts of their news, business and sports segments. Most memorably, Ledo Pizza bought the naming rights to WTOP's news room -- "The Ledo Pizza Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center."

One day in November last year, a WTOP announcer came on the air to announce that the entire afternoon rush hour news on WTOP was being sponsored by Boeing.

When we asked last year about details of the Boeing sponsorship, we were told by a WTOP spokesperson that "much of the information you are looking for we normally do not disclose."

Yesterday, we picked up the phone and dialed up J.J. Green.

We were just wondering, J.J. Green, now that you're back in the United States, who paid for your trip to Israel?

"That's not public information," Green says.

You mean, WTOP paid for it?

"The station will not release that information."

Did someone else subsidize your trip to Israel?

"You may not get that information.". . .

We ask [VP Jim] Farley – was there outside sponsorship for Green's trip to Israel?

"That's information we keep to ourselves," Farley says.

Did WTOP pay for it?

"It's information we keep to ourselves."

Are you saying that WTOP paid for the trip?

"No, I'm saying it's information we keep to ourselves. And we're not going to tell you."

Why not?

"Because you are obnoxious," Farley says. "We've dealt with you in the past. We have no need to deal with you in the future."

"Good bye."

And Farley hangs up.

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