KTVX's Monday night call-in session with Vicki Singer was certainly a good idea, but it wasn't good journalism.
The Singer/Swapp standoff, recently recreated in an NBC movie, is still big news here. And many Utahns are still interested in the family involved in the incident.But more than once on Monday night, journalistic impartiality was forgotten as the KTVX anchors - Randall Carlisle in particular - went out of their way to stroke Singer.
Many of Singer's assertions went unchallenged. Particularly galling was her unrebutted statement that she'd heard that Fred House, the officer killed at the conclusion of the standoff, wanted to get in on the action - implying that he was responsible for his own death.
Now, there's nothing wrong with allowing Singer to express her opinions. But to laugh pleasantly with her, to appear to agree with many of her unsupported statements, and - worst of all - to actually help her answer the questions several times was, at the very least, unprofessional.
In many ways, the Ch. 4 broadcast echoed the worst of daytime talk shows - retrying a case that has been through the judicial system and declaring this seemingly pleasant person not-guilty. Singer is a convicted felon, after all.
The hour reached its nadir when Carlisle asserted that Singer appeared to be such a "loving, caring" individual who didn't seem capable of having been involved in the incident.
Singer complained of not having input into the "Siege At Marion" TV movie, although filmmakers relied on statements made by the Singers/Swapps to police and in court proceedings. Monday night's hour wasn't balanced in the least.
It was up to the KTVX anchors to provide that balance - to at least provide a counterpoint to Singer's statements. And, far too often, they failed in that duty.