Here's the boring truth behind Stephen Colbert's WFAA rant last night: The reason our ABC affiliate didn't air Colbert's Super PAC spot about the NBA lockout was "garden-variety human error," according to the station's veep, Dave Muscari. Nothing more, nothing less. "The spot," he tells Unfair Park, "wasn't rejected." Matter of fact, Muscari says, it aired this morning during Good Morning America.
There's a rather long, technical reason it didn't make the cut. I won't bore you with the details. But here's the short version: The spot showed up at WFAA last Wednesday with the note that it was supposed to run during the noon newscast. But since it was a political ad (I know, I know) the station had to make sure it had all the proper disclaimers. And by the time the vetting was done, the commercial log for that day's newscast was done -- which meant it had to be manually inserted into the show. And: It wasn't.
"It was old-fashioned human error," Muscari tells Unfair Park. "The technical director missed the spot. So the sales manager called them and said, 'We'll make the spot good. Which they did during a better time slot today. ... There was no malice aforethought, but it was an error."
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Muscari says that since last night's broadcast, he's gotten, oh, maybe three emails of complaint that say things like, "You nimrods" and "WTF?" He told them all the same thing: "We didn't refuse to air it, but by the time it was viewed, subbed and in the server we missed the spot." Besides, says Muscari, he's a fan: "I watch his show on a regular basis." The jab at WFAA "was cool," he says. "He's a funny guy, and it's a great character."