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TEGNA8's lengthy report on an alleged three-way gang rape by members of UNT's basketball team raises questions about both a university coverup and the station's on-air display of a document that should have been kept very private

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TEGNA8 reporter Charlotte Huffman at the outset of her two-part investigation on the station’s Thursday, Nov. 15th 10 p.m. newscast. Screenshot by Ed Bark

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
TEGNA8 co-anchor John McCaa, touting the top stories on Thursday’s 10 p.m. newscast, began with reporter Charlotte Huffman’s two-part look into “allegations of gang rape by high profile athletes.”

The TEGNA8 investigator was on camera several minutes later to report at length on an 18-year-old former University of North Texas freshman’s charges that two members of the school’s basketball team and the team’s manager had gang-raped her in an off-campus apartment and later asked her via cell phone if she wanted to be part of an escort service where she’d at least be paid for having sex. McCaa told viewers it was all part of an eight-month investigation that also strongly implies UNT has engaged in a coverup dating back more than a year.

Huffman never identified the alleged sexual assault victim, who was silhouetted during an interview, as was her dorm wing’s Resident Assistant and best friend at the time. But relatively early in the elongated story, which was bridged by a commercial break, TEGNA8 showed a Nov. 12, 2018 document that had questions from Huffman (and producer Mark Smith) accompanied by answers from UNT officials.

Near the bottom of the document, a woman’s name could be seen (we’re leaving it blank) at the start of this question: “_________, a UNT student, told WFAA she was sexually assaulted by the three suspects . . .” Part of the rest of the question was obscured by an on-air “WFAA8” logo. The final words are “discussed or pursued?”

The response, from UNT police chief Ed Reynolds, is that “no such allegations were ever made to UNT police.”

But more to the point, had TEGNA8 basically violated the woman and her privacy by exposing her name on-screen while at the same time keeping her identity secret throughout Huffman’s interview? That would be a huge journalistic transgression during an otherwise seemingly solid story in which Huffman had the courage to confront, one by one, all three of the alleged rapists on-camera. None of them has been punished in any way. And not surprisingly, they wouldn’t talk to her.

A vigilant viewer, who also happens to be an experienced reporter, phoned me while Thursday’s 10 p.m. newscast was still in progress. The viewer also provided a direct Twitter exchange with a member of TEGNA8’s social media team.

“FYI,” the viewer said, “please tell your investigative reporter that the letter that you show from UNT in the story reveals the name of the accuser . . . It should be blocked out.”

“Oh no!” the TEGNA8 representative responded. “I’ll tell her. That definitely needs to be blocked out.”

The viewer noted that the story already had aired.

“Yeah but for any version on the web, needs to be re-edited,” the TEGNA8 representative replied.

The late night replay of TEGNA8’s 10 p.m. newscast omitted the aforementioned document entirely while the station’s web version blurred the alleged victim’s name. But as of mid-Friday afternoon, I could still see the entire original story, which includes the woman’s name, via a national app that won’t be further identified here.

On Friday at 7:52 a.m., I emailed TEGNA8 executive news director Carolyn Mungo, who has ignored all inquiries from unclebarky.com for well over a year. This time she quickly replied, within six minutes, when questioned about whether her station had seriously erred in using the woman’s name.

“The woman we interviewed for last night’s piece is not the name seen in the document,” she said. “If you feel you need to write something up please give me your number and I will call you later this morning.”

I gave her my number, waited more than two hours and then tried again via email. Shortly after, Mungo again replied.

“The person we interviewed and promised anonymity to in our report, was not listed in the document you reference,” she said. “Out of an abundance of caution and clarity, we removed all names in the documents for our late news rerun and on our digital platforms.”

Mungo also said emphatically, “As we mentioned in our report, the person we interviewed is a former freshman at UNT. She does not currently attend the university. Her name does not appear in any documents in our report.”

I phoned Mungo in an effort to further clarify. Were we talking about the same name and document? A detailed message was left, but she didn’t return the call. I also emailed her a screen shot of the document and asked, “Are you saying the woman named near the bottom of this document, as part of your questions to UNT officials, is NOT the woman who was silhouetted in the story? If not, then who is this person? And how could she have possibly shown up in the document if she’s not the subject of your story?”

Mungo chose to reply confidentially this time. But she basically reiterated her statement that the woman named in the document as a victim of a three-way gang rape and the woman interviewed in silhouette (who is making the same charge) are not the same person.

Before writing this, I tried one last time, telling Mungo that “what you did then is publicly identify another alleged rape victim on camera.”

There has been no response this time.

A woman with the same name that appeared in the document has a Facebook page that says she’s still a UNT student. It’s the only person of that name I could find. The page appears to be up to date.

This is a complicated story that’s not easy to communicate in print. I’ll leave it up to readers to determine whether TEGNA8’s responses, via the station’s executive news director, are completely truthful or just don’t add up.

In the end, the problem doesn’t appear to be with Huffman’s overall reporting. She obviously invested considerable effort into this story. But the on-air document originally used by TEGNA8 at the very least raises serious questions that needed to be asked. And perhaps are yet to be fully answered.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed.-Thurs., Nov. 14-15) -- football and country music call the tunes

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Your friendly content provider’s native state Green Bay Packers lost another could-have-won game on the road Thursday on Fox’s prime-time stage.

The Seattle Seahawks’ comeback 27-24 win dominated the ratings, drawing 414,729 total viewers and 126,806 within the advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-old age range. This doesn’t include the largely inconsequential add-ons from the NFL Net’s simulcast, which peaked at 56,234 total viewers and 33,211 in the 18-to-49 demographic.

Wednesday’s prime-time festivities were paced by ABC’s three-hour Country Music Association Awards, which drew 260,084 total viewers and 75,480 in the 18-to-49 realm.

Here are the Wednesday and Thursday local news derby results for the 15th and 16th weekdays of the November “sweeps” ratings period, which runs through Thanksgiving eve.

Wednesday -- Capitalizing on a rare plus-sized 9 p.m. lead-in from the ABC network, TEGNA8 won at 10 p.m. in total viewers and edged Fox4 for first place with 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 ran the table at 6 a.m. and NBC5 did likewise at 5 p.m.

CBS11 topped the 6 p.m. competitions in total viewers while sharing the 25-to-54-year-old lead with NBC5.

Thursday -- NBC5 drew the most total viewers in a downsized three-way 10 p.m. race, and TEGNA8 was No.1 among 25-to-54-year-olds.

Fox4 extended its now seven-and-half month winning streak with twin wins at 6 a.m. and NBC5 again had a doubleheader win at 5 p.m. TEGNA8 countered with a 6 p.m. sweep in both audience measurements.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., Nov. 13) -- CBS dominates in total viewers; NBC plays best with 18-to-49ers

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
CBS again made crime pay in a big way during Tuesday’s prime-time ratings wars.

NCIS as usual amassed the most total D-FW viewers, drawing 379,582 in the 7 p.m. hour before the network’s FBI (309,289) and NCIS: New Orleans (246,026) also controlled their time slots.

Among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds, NBC’s The Voice won the 7 p.m. hour with 42,269 and the Peacock’s This Is Us took the top spot from 8 to 9 p.m. (51,326), holding off the solidly performing FBI (48,307).

At 9 p.m., Fox4’s local newscast prevailed with 37,438 viewers in the 18-to-49 realm, edging ABC’s competing The Rookie (35,023).

Here are the local news derby results for the 14th weekday of the November “sweeps” ratings period, which runs through next Wednesday.

TEGNA8 and CBS11 tied for the most total viewers at 10 p.m. while Fox4 won outright with 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. competitions and NBC5 did likewise at 6 p.m. The Peacock was tops with total viewers at 5 p.m. and tied Fox4 for the lead among 25-to-54-year-olds.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs.-Mon., Nov. 8-12) -- Cowboying up in catchup round

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
The Dallas Cowboys’ upset 27-20 road win at Philadelphia on NBC’s Sunday Night Football gave them a ratings booster shot compared to last year’s Game 9, where they started a three-game losing streak that killed their season.

Cowboys-Eagles averaged 1,180,922 D-FW viewers, with 437,784 in the advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-old age range. Last year’s Game 9, a 27-7 road loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Fox, had 1,082,559 total viewers and 393,196 in the 18-to-49 realm.

Sunday’s runner-up NFL attraction, CBS’ mid-afternoon/early evening Los Angeles Rams-Seattle Seahawks game, averaged 492,051 total viewers.

Monday’s prime-time Nielsens were paced by NBC’s 7 to 9 p.m. edition of The Voice, which edged ESPN’s Monday Night Football (Giants vs. 49ers) by a score of 281,172 total viewers to 267,113. But MNF won easily with 18-to-49ers, drawing 99,634 while Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscast ranked second for the night with 66,422.

On Saturday, Fox’s prime-time Texas-Texas Tech game led the college football parade with 267,113 total viewers. ABC’s afternoon Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game took the second spot with 210,879 viewers. Both were high-scoring epitomes of pinball football.

Friday’s top prime-time attraction in total viewers as usual was CBS’ 9 p.m. episode of Blue Bloods with 238,996. But NBC’s 8 p.m. hour of Midnight, Texas cashed in with 18-to-49-year-olds, comfortably leading the pack with 42,269.

Fox’s Thursday Night Football, in which the Pittsburgh Steelers clubbed the visiting Carolina Panthers, ranked first in both ratings measurements with 302,260 total viewers and 105,672 in the 18-to-49 motherlode. This doesn’t include the NFL Net’s simulcast numbers.

Here are the local news derby results for the 11th, 12th and 13th weekdays of the November “sweeps” ratings period, which ends next week on Thanksgiving eve.

Thursday -- TEGNA8 and CBS11 tied for the most total viewers at 10 p.m. in a downsized three-way race, but TEGNA8 won outright with 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 ran the table at 6 a.m. while NBC5 drew the most total viewers at both 5 and 6 p.m. Fox4 and the Peacock shared the 25-to-54 lead at 5 p.m., with Fox4 alone on top at 6 p.m.

Friday -- CBS11 swept the 10 p.m. competitions while Fox4 and NBC5 respectively enjoyed twin wins at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. The 5 p.m. golds went to TEGNA8 in total viewers and NBC5 in the 25-to-54 demographic.

Monday -- CBS11 stayed strong at 10 p.m. with another win in total viewers, and has a legitimate chance to pull off an upset sweeps win in this measurement. Fox4 led among 25-to-54-year-olds.

Fox4 again cruised at 6 a.m., where it remains unbeaten in both ratings measurements since starting an unprecedented winning streak way back on March 31st. Fox4 also had the most 25-to-54-year-olds at 5 and 6 p.m.

TEGNA8 won in total viewers at 5 p.m. and shared the lead with NBC5 in the 6 p.m. total viewers race.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., Nov. 7) -- CBS on the outs while three broadcast rivals all score prime-time wins

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
NBC’s Chicago Med ranked No. 1 in total D-FW viewers Wednesday night while Fox’s Empire and ABC’s Modern Family shared the first place spoils among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds.

Specifically, Med led with 189,791 viewers overall, and Empire/Modern Family drew 51,326 apiece in the 18-to-49 realm.

Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscast also fared well, winning its time slot in both ratings measurements. And although drawing more total viewers than any other prime-time attraction, Med needs an IV among 18-to-49ers, beating only ABC’s The Goldbergs during the 7 to to 8 p.m. hour.

Here are the local news derby results at the midway point of the 20-weekday November “ratings” sweeps.

Fox4 swept the 10 p.m. competitions in total viewers and with 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

The station again also scored twin wins at 6 a.m. while the 7 to 10 a.m. portion of its Good Day likewise continued to pound bumps on rival stations in both ratings measurements.

NBC5 ran the table at 5 p.m. and also ranked first in total viewers at 6 p.m. Fox4 drew the most 25-to-54-year-olds at 6 p.m.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., Nov. 6) -- election night special

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Even three of the Big Four broadcast networks participated in full by clearing out their prime-time schedules Tuesday for the unusually consequential “off-year” elections.

But Fox News Channel still sat comfortably atop the heap during the most-watched 7 to 10 p.m. segments. In order of eyeballs, here are D-FW’s total viewer averages during those three hours.

Fox News Channel -- 217,908
NBC -- 175,733
ABC -- 140,586
CNN -- 119,498
MSNBC -- 84,352
CBS - 77,322
PBS -- 21,088

It’s no surprise that FNC led the parade. But for CBS and its once storied news division, finishing behind all three cable news nets plus NBC and ABC is a very hard fall into near irrelevance. (CBS’ coverage also ran third nationally behind NBC’s and ABC’s.)

The Fox broadcasting network ceded election coverage to its cable news cousin and instead offered new episodes of The Gifted and Lethal Weapon from 7 to 9 p.m. Neither fared very well, with The Gifted drawing 42,176 viewers before Lethal Weapon perked up to 77,322 viewers. Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscast then doubled that crowd with 154,645 viewers, but was still outdrawn in the Big Four broadcast network universe by the closing prime-time hours of election coverage on both NBC and ABC.

Here are Tuesday’s local news derby results for the ninth weekday of the November “sweeps” ratings period.

NBC5 had the most total viewers at 10 p.m. and tied TEGNA8 for the top spot among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 ran the table at 6 a.m. and NBC5 did likewise at 5 p.m. The 6 p.m. golds went to TEGNA8 in total viewers and Fox4 with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen rating snapshot (Mon., Nov. 5) -- Tennessee twangs its magic twanger while Cowboys sink lower in standings, audience levels

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
The Dallas Cowboys’ nationally televised 28-14 whipping at the hands of the visiting Tennessee Titans sent them reeling to a 3-5 record at the season’s halfway point.

Airing on both TEGNA8 and ESPN, the Monday Night Football game also put “America’s Team” further behind a ratings eight-ball this season.

Cowboys-Titans, which lasted less than three hours and ended at 10:10 p.m., averaged 695,901 D-FW viewers on TEGNA8 and 309,289 on ESPN for a not-so-grand total of 1,005,190. Last season’s Game 8, a 28-17 Cowboys win at Jerry’s Palace over the Kansas City Chiefs, pulled in 1,253,490 viewers. It aired on CBS as the network’s featured mid-afternoon to early evening game.

The advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-old haul also shrunk considerably, from 471,211 for Cowboys-Chiefs to 359,285 for Monday night’s collapse. TEGNA8 had 226,440 of those viewers, and ESPN, 132,845.

Fox’s 8 p.m. episode of 9-1-1 fared the best directly opposite Monday night’s Cowboys game, drawing 224,938 total viewers and 48,307 in the 18-to-49 realm. CBS’ 7 p.m. half-hour of The Neighborhood, which aired opposite just the first 15 minutes of Cowboys-Titans, performed a bit better overall with 18-to-49ers (51,326).

TEGNA8’s locally produced 6:30 p.m. Cowboys pre-game show, anchored by Dale Hansen, beat ESPN’s competing nationally aired show in total viewers, but lost among 18-to-49-year-olds. CBS11’s competing Wheel of Fortune outdrew both Cowboy warmups in total viewers.

Here are Monday’s local news derby results for the eighth weekday of the ongoing November “sweeps” ratings period.

NBC5 won a downsized three-way 10 p.m. competition in total viewers while Fox4 ran first with 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 cruised as usual/always to dominant twin wins at 6 a.m. and also took the 5 and 6 p.m. golds in the 25-to-54 measurement.

NBC5 had the most total viewers at both 5 and 6 p.m.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., Nov. 2-4) -- Fox's Saints vs. Rams tops NBC's Brady vs. Rodgers

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Absent a Dallas Cowboys game, Sunday instead gifted football fans with the season’s two marquee NFL match ups to date.

In both total D-FW viewers and with advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, Fox’s mid-afternoon/early evening New Orleans Saints-Los Angeles Rams game won out over NBC’s Sunday Night Football clash between Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. Or to put it another way, the New England Patriots vs the Green Bay Packers.

Saints-Rams averaged 617,690 total viewers and 202,286 in the 18-to-49 realm while Patriots-Packers pulled in 533,459 total viewers, with 196,248 of them 18-to-49ers.

On Sunday’s poor side of town, ABC’s 9 p.m. edition of The Alec Baldwin Show played invisible with 21,088 total viewers and 12,077 of the 18-to-49-year-old persuasion. The network’s preceding two-hour Mickey’s 90th Spectacular special did appreciably better than that with 112,307 total viewers and 33,211 in the 18-to-49 motherlode. Alec should have worn Mouska ears.

Saturday’s college football parade was paced by Fox’s down-to-the-last seconds Texas-West Virginia game, which drew 308,845 total viewers. In prime-time, ABC’s similarly high-scoring and closely contested Oklahoma-Texas Tech game had 238,653 total viewers, edging CBS’ competing Alabama rout of the supposedly formidable LSU (217,595)

Friday’s prime-time festivities were led by CBS’ 9 p.m. episode of Blue Bloods in total viewers (231,634) while Fox’s 7:30 p.m. episode of The Cool Kids lured the most 18-to-49-year-olds (30,192) despite being set in a retirement home. Blue Bloods, which likely is watched in many retirement homes, in contrast drew a scant 6,038 viewers in the 18-to-49 demographic.

Here are Friday’s local news derby results for the seventh weekday of the November “sweeps” ratings period.

CBS11 won in total viewers at 10 p.m., and Fox4 had the most 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 again ran the table at 6 a.m. while NBC5 had twin wins at 5 p.m. TEGNA8 and CBS11 tied for the most total viewers at 6 p.m., with Fox4 alone on top with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., Nov. 1) -- stinko Thursday Night Football matchup still dominates

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
The 1-7 San Francisco 49ers met the 1-6 Oakland Raiders in Fox’s latest Thursday Night Football “showcase.”

Announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikman somehow survived the now 2-7 49ers’ 34-3 thrashing of pathetic Oakland, but the D-FW Nielsens still made the game a runaway No. 1 among advertiser-prized 18-to-49ers.

49ers-Raiders averaged 102,653 viewers in this key demographic. The night’s runner-up attraction, ABC’s 7 p.m. episode of Grey’s Anatomy, had 63,403.

TNF also controlled most of the night in total viewers, pulling in 246,026. Only CBS’ 7 to 8 p.m. episodes of The Big Bang Theory (316,319) and Young Sheldon (302,260) did better than that. It’s closer if you also tack on the 42,176 viewers for the NFL Net’s simulcast.

CBS’ latest new episode of the Murphy Brown reboot continued to struggle, ranking as the network’s least-watched attraction Thursday night in total viewers (119,498) while ranking last in its 8:30 p.m. slot in the Big Four broadcast network universe among 18-to-49ers (12,077).

Here are the local news derby results for the sixth weekday of the November “sweeps” ratings period.

NBC5 and TEGNA8 tied for the most total viewers in a downsized 10 p.m. race while TEGNA8 nipped the Peacock for the top spot among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

It was otherwise a day of sweeps within the sweeps. Fox4 again ran the table at 6 a.m. and NBC5 had doubleheader wins at both 5 and 6 p.m.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., Oct. 31) -- Fox4's 9 p.m. news scares up biggest Halloween numbers

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Fox4’s local 9 p.m. newscast pulled a trick on its prime-time rivals on Halloween by being the most-watched show in town.

The news drew 196,820 D-FW viewers in edging NBC’s 7 p.m. episode of Chicago Med (189,791) for the night’s top honors. The 8 p.m. hour went to CBS’ SEAL Team (161,674).

Even better for Fox4, the battle for advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds also was won by the station’s 9 p.m. news. Its 63,403 viewers outdrew all other prime-time fare, with ABC’s 8 p.m. episode of Modern Family pulling in second with 57,365 viewers.

Here are Wednesday’s local news derby results for the fifth weekday of the November “sweeps” ratings period.

NBC5 swept the 10 p.m. competition, winning in both total viewers and with 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 cruised to two more wins at 6 a.m., where its unprecedented weekday winning streak in both ratings measurements started on March 31st.

CBS11 won at 6 p.m. in total viewers while NBC took the 25-to-54-year-old top spot. The 5 p.m. golds went to NBC5 in total viewers and Fox4 in the 25-to-54 realm.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net