Noteworthy from Friday night's broadcast network evening newscasts
which, a day after his death, spent 95 percent of their air time on
Michael Jackson - all but 1:03 of ABC's approximate 22 minutes was
devoted to Jackson, all but 34 seconds of CBS and all but 1:22 of NBC,
for 2:59, less than three minutes in total for all news beyond
♦ Only ABC's World News reported how Monica Conyers, a Detroit city councilwoman married to powerful U.S. House Democrat John Conyers, pled guilty to accepting bribes. But anchor Charles Gibson, who on Wednesday night made sure to identify Mark Sanford as "a rising star in the Republican Party," failed to name the party affiliation for either Monica Conyers or John Conyers, and neither did any on-screen graphic. Speaking of Detroit, last year, when Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was charged with felonies, Gibson (as well as the CBS and NBC anchors) didn't consider Kilpatrick's party worth mentioning.
♦ ABC also uniquely found a little time, a mere 20 seconds, to mention House action on President Obama's "cap and trade" bill. As noted by the MRC's Business and Media Institute , for months the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts have barely covered the bill "that would cost each family $1,241 a year." CBS and NBC kept up the near-blackout again Friday night. Gibson outlined how "the bill would impose limits pollution from power plants and factories and force a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy," but also noted: "Critics charge it will drive up energy costs for consumers."
Gibson's June 26 item on the energy bill:
A few notes on the other news of the day. On Capitol Hill, one of President Obama's top priorities, sweeping legislation to combat climate change, is advancing in the House of Representatives. The bill would impose limits pollution from power plants and factories and force a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Critics charge it will drive up energy costs for consumers.
Gibson on Monica Conyers:
A Detroit city councilwoman, who's married to one of the most powerful members of Congress, pleaded guilty to accepting cash bribes today. Monica Conyers admitted taking the money in exchange for supporting a sludge contract with a Houston company. Her husband is John Conyers, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Prosecutors say he was in no way involved.
The March 25, 2008 CyberAlert post, "ABC, CBS and NBC All Fail to ID Indicted Mayor as a Democrat ," recounted:
Two weeks since the ABC and NBC evening shows took multiple days before getting around to informing viewers that disgraced New York Governor Eliot Spitzer belonged to the Democratic Party - after every ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news program last year immediately highlighted the party of Republican Senators David Vitter and Larry Craig - Monday's broadcast network evening newscasts all failed to note, verbally or on-screen, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's party.
ABC anchor Charles Gibson announced on World News: "Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was charged today with felonies that could cost him his job and 15 years in prison." NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams relayed how "Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick...was indicted on perjury and other charges in the wake of a sex scandal there." (NBC also refused to tag Kilpatrick in a full story aired Friday night.) Over on Monday's CBS Evening News, fill-in anchor Harry Smith introduced a full story: "In Detroit, a sex scandal led to criminal charges today against the Mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, a married father of three."
The brief update from Gibson on the Monday, March 24 World News on ABC: "Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was charged today with felonies that could cost him his job and 15 years in prison. Kilpatrick is charged, along with his female former chief of staff. Explicit text messages contradict their sworn testimony that they did not have an affair. Kilpatrick, charged with perjury, obstruction of justice, conspiracy and misconduct, says he expects to be cleared."...
- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center