A Few Seconds on CBS and NBC, But Not ABC, on Capture of Democratic Donor Hsu

CBS and NBC, but not ABC, squeezed in brief updates Friday night about how Norman Hsu, the fugitive Hillary Clinton/Democratic candidate high dollar donor, failed to appear in a California court on Wednesday for a bail hearing and was captured Thursday night in Colorado. Both the CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News, which aired full stories late last week on Hsu but not since, allocated about 20 seconds to the developments with Hsu. CBS anchor Harry Smith announced: “Back in custody tonight: Norman Hsu, the political fundraiser who donated hundreds of thousands to Democratic candidates while still a fugitive.” NBC anchor Brian Williams reported how “the Democratic party fundraiser who skipped bail on fraud charges this week and disappeared....was found when he got sick on an Amtrak train in Colorado.”

Harry Smith, handling the New York anchor desk with Katie Couric in Damascus, related on the September 6 CBS Evening News:
Back in custody tonight: Norman Hsu, the political fundraiser who donated hundreds of thousands to Democratic candidates while still a fugitive. He fled California this week after missing a court appearance related to his felony theft convictions. He wound up getting sick on an Amtrak train in Colorado and is being held in custody at a hospital in Grand Junction.
On the NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams noted:
We have an update tonight on the saga of Norman Hsu, the Democratic party fundraiser who skipped bail on fraud charges this week and disappeared. Well, last night he was found when he got sick on an Amtrak train in Colorado. He's now in a hospital there listed in fair condition, but no word on the nature of his ailment.
An AP story on the arrest of Hsu, which reported:
....Depending on his health, Hsu will appear before a federal magistrate on unlawful flight charges, then be turned over to state authorities for extradition to California....

Hsu was traveling on an Amtrak train Thursday when he became ill. An ambulance was called when the train stopped in Grand Junction and he was taken to St. Mary's.

Hsu had been scheduled to appear in a San Francisco court Wednesday to turn over his passport and ask a judge to cut in half the $2 million bail he posted last week when he turned himself in after spending 15 years on the lam from a felony theft conviction.

Hsu failed to show up at the hearing, and a judge issued an arrest warrant for him.

When it became apparent that Hsu had fled the state, California authorities sought the assistance of the FBI, whose agents arrested him Thursday night on federal charges of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution....

Hsu, a Hong Kong native, had spent 15 years on the lam from the 1991 theft conviction until he surrendered to authorities last week.

Prosecutors say Hsu bilked investors out of $1 million by telling them he had a contract to buy and sell latex gloves, but he never purchased the gloves and had no contract to sell them.

He pleaded no contest in 1991 to a felony count of grand theft and was facing up to three years in prison, but he skipped town before his 1992 sentencing date. Investigators believed he'd fled to Hong Kong.

Years later, he resurfaced as a top fundraiser, donating $260,000 to Democratic Party groups and federal candidates since 2004, according to Federal Election Commission records....
For the previous limited broadcast network evening newscast coverage of Hsu, check the August 30 NewsBusters item, “NBC First Broadcast Network to Highlight Hillary Clinton's Hsu Fundraising Scandal,” and the August 31 NewsBusters posting, “ABC and CBS Catch Up with Fugitive Clinton/Democratic Donor Norman Hsu.”
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center