Released quietly last week, a report from City Attorney Mike Aguirre argues that KPBS has provided little evidence for why the public-broadcast outfit canceled its daily news program, Full Focus, and what it did provide was "after the fact."
KPBS General Manager Doug Myrland has said repeatedly that low ratings doomed the show, but Aguirre's not buying it.
"I think Full Focus was on the verge of reaching an important audience. Not a mass audience," he said.
In the report, Aguirre linked the show's cancellation to KPBS' arrangement with Cox Channel 4 to televise another show, Editors Roundtable, only when Union-Tribune editorial page editor Bob Kittle is a guest, presumably at Kittle's behest.
"The only local commentary on television in the evening is this conservative guy," Aguirre said.
He believes the cancellation of Full Focus, combined with the TV schedule for Editors Roundtable, violates KPBS' obligation to be balanced.
Writing on the KBPS blog "Off Mic," news director Michael Marcotte thanked Aguirre for his report but called his assertions about Kittle "just plain silly."
"Where Mr. Aguirre departs from the facts is in his assertion that the cancellation amounts to a violation of ethics," Marcotte wrote. Full Focus "was removed for failing to draw viewers, which amounts to a responsible programming decision, not a dereliction of duty."