Denver News Director Was Suspicious of Balloon Boy Story From the Start

Oct 19, 2009  •  Post A Comment

When the call first came in to Denver’s KUSA-TV about Falcon Heene, "the boy in the balloon," assignment manager Jim Pedersen and news director Patti Dennis, were both skeptical, reports Denver Westword, the Denver news blog.

Dennis questioned Richard Heene extensively — why wasn’t Falcon in school, why hadn’t the police been contacted — before jumping on the story and sending a helicopter out to track the balloon.

Dennis was surprised at how interest in the incident grew exponentially, but when she was deluged with requests for information from as far away as Australia and Sweden, she knew KUSA had the biggest story in the station’s history.

"I’ve been doing this for 31 years and this is at the top of the unusual scale. It’s the new number one," she said.

Allison Waldman


  1. It was a SCAM. The family should have to pay all the costs associated with the police etc. And the Dad should be put in jail.

  2. Let me get this straight ..
    The ND was skeptical, but ran with the story anyway.
    The father lied to the station.
    The cops were clueless.
    The station ran the story without checking it out.
    Howard Kurtz of WaPo said it best, what this was/is
    .. is not journalism.
    It’s LIVE reality television and the only things real were the people in the fake news story.
    The rest was BS.
    Sounds like Richard Heene knew how the “news media” operate these days better than the the station, ND or cops did.
    If this was the biggest story in the history of the station, that tells you a lot about the state of broadcast journalism today.
    .. long live “Infotainment”
    Eric Longabardi
    Producer/Investigative Journalist
    TeleMedia News Productions / The Enterprise Report.com
    Los Angeles, CA

  3. Oh please, now the News Director is trying to cover his backside? I’m sure they had wall to wall coverage of this whole episode. If they were so skeptical, why did they run it in the first place?

  4. Amen, Eric…
    Now that the obvious has “come out”, everyone – TV, law enforcement, etc. involved (except the perps) were skeptical all along. How does it feel to be manipulated by an idiot?

  5. It’s really easy to say you were suspicious all along after the fact, isn’t it?
    The fact that she thought it was a hoax certainly didn’t keep KUSA from going live with it for hours and from leading with it at the top of the news for days.

  6. OK, OK – maybe Obama was behind it all along. You know, don’t check it out, just run it! Kinda like don’t read it, just sign it. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

  7. Another lame story…like that nonsense with Jon & Kate, the media just keeps these idiots in the news and it continues to make these lazy parents that don’t want to work look for a real job! Let’s just all exploit our families for the sake of television!!!

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