MediaWatch: January 1989

Vol. Three No. 1

Revolving Door: NBC Promotes Cuomo Aide

NBC Promotes Cuomo Aide. NBC News Vice President Tim Russert is back in Washington again. On Inauguration Day, January 20, he became Washington Bureau Chief. Russert last worked in Washington as Chief of Staff to Senator Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) until 1982 when he moved to New York to serve as counselor to liberal Governor Mario Cuomo. He jumped to NBC just after the 1984 election, soon gaining responsibility over the content of Today and Nightly News. NBC News President Michael Gartner is grooming Russert for bigger things. "After two years at the helm in Washington," Gartner announced, "Tim will assume new management responsibilities in New York."

In another part of Gartner's re-organization of the division he took over last summer, he put Senior Vice President Tom Ross in charge of a new strategic planning department. Ross worked for the Carter Administration as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs.

Voice Change. Just after the new year began Jonathan Larsen became Editor in Chief of the Village Voice, the trendy liberal weekly in New York City. Larsen was Time magazine's Saigon Bureau Chief from 1970-1971 and a Life Senior Editor earlier this decade. He succeeds Martin Gottleib, a New York Times reporter before moving to the Voice in 1986.

Time to Quayle. Vice President Dan Quayle has tapped David Beckwith, a Time correspondent since 1971 (with the exception of three years with Legal Times), as his Press Secretary. Beckwith covered economics and legal issues for the magazine until being assigned to the White House a couple of years ago. He followed the Bush campaign last year.

Reich at Night. CBS Nightwatch viewers got a surprise when they switched on the show just before New Year's Day. A CBS News reporter has always filled in when regular host Charlie Rose took vacation, but not on December 29, 30 and January 2. CBS selected Robert Reich, who identified himself only as a professor of political economy at Harvard University.

Over the three early mornings he proceeded to interview Democratic presidential aspirant Bruce Babbitt, whom he called "an attractive candidate;" moderated a discussion about Castro's achievements; and discussed Reagan's record with three liberal reporters, agreeing Reagan used to have "too simplistic a view of the Soviet Union." CBS never told viewers Carter appointed Reich to a high level Federal Trade Commission position, nor did it reveal he was a key economic adviser to the Dukakis campaign.