Morning Blackout; MSNBC & CNN Double Standard; Korean Famine
"Ex-Party Leader Admits Arranging Access for Donors," announced a front page New York Times headline. Next to that another September 10 headline, that MRC analyst Clay Waters pointed out to me, revealed: "Democrats Skimmed $2 Million to Aid Candidates, Records Show." Reporter Don Van Natta Jr. discovered:
"In a practice that placed some of its most cherished donors in violation of federal election laws, the Democratic National Committee took at least $2 million in contributions restricted to generic use by the party and spent it directly on the re-election campaign of President Clinton and other candidates."
West Coast readers saw this headline in Wednesday's Los Angeles Times: "DNC Donor's Offer of Funds to Yeltsin Told." And Washington Post readers got a different spin, but still read about the hearings in this front page story: "No Memory of Calls to CIA, Ex-DNC Chief Testifies."
Plus, inside, both the Washington Times and Washington Post carried stories on the sentencing of Nora and Gene Lum to ten months in prison for hiding illegal contributions to Ted Kenneday and a House candidate.
The Lums are not small-time operators. They supposedly funneled illegal money to Ron Brown. To refresh your memory, here's a portion of the June 18 Prime Time Live story in which ABC's Brian Ross interviewed Nolanda Hill, a close associate of the late Commerce Secretary:
None of these developments and revelations generated even a syllable of coverage Wednesday morning on NBC's Today, ABC's Good Morning America or This Morning on CBS, reported MRC news analysts Geoffrey Dickens, Gene Eliasen and Steve Kaminski. (The Lum sentencing took place Tuesday, but the story was also ignored by all the networks Tuesday night.)
In fact, none of the three morning shows have uttered a word about the hearings in three days of broadcasts so far this week.
2) Wednesday night the three broadcast networks aired full reports on the release of the memo which informed Al Gore that the first $20,000 of any donation he garnered would go to candidates. Even ABC, which skipped the hearings on Tuesday, delivered a story. And, for the first time since her death last Friday, ABC spent more time on Mother Teresa than Diana-related items. CBS gave them both about the same amount of time. Here's a rundown of the September 10 shows:
ABC's World News Tonight led with the controversy over a bill submitted by Jesse Helms to block Gulf war veterans from making claims against frozen Iraqi assets. Peter Jennings opened:
Up second, an update on the Weld nomination followed by a brief mention of how the Senate voted to rescind a "tax windfall" for the tobacco companies. Next, ABC gave two minutes to the fundraising hearings. Linda Douglass began:
Just an innocent bystander being "splattered" by what others did, as if he did nothing wrong.
Later in the show ABC allocated 1:30 to a Diana crash update and how Wills and Harry returned to school. But a story on the children of Calcutta helped by Mother Teresa lasted 2:10, 40 seconds longer.
CBS Evening News began with a 2:25 piece on the Diana crash, drugs in the driver, and how rescuers talked to her. At the other end of the newscast, CBS closed with an almost as long 2:20 look at the gratitude felt by adult men raised in an orphanage Mother Teresa created.
CBS dedicated 1:50 to a fundraising update, as Bob Schieffer explained:
After outlining Gore's contention that he raised only soft money, Schieffer told viewers:
"But today the committee unearthed White House memos showing the Democratic National Committee had notified the President, Gore and other top White House officials that the first $20,000 of all big donations that came in last year would be put in the so-called hard money account, to be spent directly on the campaign..."
The Diana crash investigation also topped NBC Nightly News, which spent over five minutes on Diana-generated stories but just under two minutes on a near-riot that broke out when authorities tried to end viewing of Mother Teresa for the day. In addition to the crash story, NBC ran a profile of Camila Parker-Bowles.
NBC got around to fundraising about 17 minutes into the broadcast, after stories on tired truckers, rail safety problems, and an "In Depth" look at prostate cancer. At just 1:30, NBC allocated the least time to fundraising. Instead of a standard story package, Lisa Myers provided a stand-up without any video and answered one question. Anchor Tom Brokaw intoned:
Well compare MSNBC's zero coverage and CNN's limited coverage of Fowler to the emphasis the cable channels put on Barbour. As detailed in the July 25 CyberAlert:
Haley Barbour's appearance led to the first live MSNBC coverage since the first week (July 9) and CNN's first since July 9 except for an hour last week...
At 2:35pm ET on Thursday CNN jumped out of a police press conference on Cunanan to catch the opening statement from Haley Barbour. MSNBC joined in just before 3pm and both carried the Barbour appearance live except for ad breaks and half hourly news updates. At 4:30pm ET MSNBC switched to a FBI press conference on Cunanan that CNN soon joined. Both were back on Barbour at about 5pm ET. CNN stayed with Barbour until resuming normal programming with Moneyline at 7pm.
MSNBC cut out at 6:40pm ET to go to an "exclusive" live interview conducted by John "Spike" Gibson with the son of the caretaker who encountered Cunanan on Wednesday. MSNBC completed their illuminating interview, with the person who knew the man who heard something, in time to show John Glenn questioning Barbour for a few minutes before MSNBC ceased live coverage at 7pm ET.
On Wednesday, September 10, neither MSNBC or CNN offered any live coverage of the testimony from DNC General Counsel Joseph Sandler. (Fox News Channel and National Empowerment Television are providing live coverage and C-SPAN is offering a replay at 10pm ET, or whenever the House adjourns.)
4) Those darn famines keep hitting communist countries, but Marxist economics has nothing to do with it. Just after the Diana crash update, the second story on Wednesday's CBS Evening News featured a "CBS News exclusive" from North Korea. In a preview of a story to air on the upcoming Public Eye with Bryant Gumbel (to premiere October 1), Peter Van Sant described his trip with AmeriCares to North Korea.
Van Sant opened with video of malnourished babies in an orphanage, explaining:
-- Brent Baker