On Party Labeling, FNC Credits 'Media Watchdog NewsBusters.org'

In the lead item on Friday's “Grapevine” segment on FNC's Special Report, anchor Bret Baier credited NewsBusters for documenting how Thursday night ABC's World News and NBC Nightly News stories, on Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick being sent to jail by a judge, “failed to report Kilpatrick's party affiliation.”

Baier first outlined how the AP neglected to mention his party, but “when Alaska Senator Ted Stevens was indicted” last month “the AP made his party affiliation clear” since “the article included the word 'Republican' seven times and 'GOP' four times.” Baier then pointed out:

Media watchdog Web site NewsBusters.org reports that both ABC World News and NBC Nightly News also failed to report Kilpatrick's party affiliation.
The cited Thursday night NewsBusters posting, “Kilpatrick Leads Democratic Group, Yet All But CBS & FNC Refuse to ID Him as (D),” recounted:
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is hardly reticent about touting himself as a Democrat. After all, he's the Vice President of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors and in January was re-elected its representative to the Democratic National Committee. But in ABC and NBC news stories Thursday night about how a Michigan judge ordered him to jail immediately for violating his bond, neither identified him as a Democrat (verbally or on screen) -- not even in a full two-minute NBC story. On CBS, fill-in anchor Russ Mitchell didn't mention Kilpatrick's party in three teases/plugs for the upcoming story, nor in the introduction to it, but two-thirds into his report, Dean Reynolds, who in a March story failed to ID Kilpatrick, referenced: "Once a rising star in Democratic Party politics..."

Making that same "rising star" point, from a smoggy (or foggy?) Beijing, NBC anchor Brian Williams managed to avoid mentioning Kilpatrick's party affiliation:
Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was once viewed as a rising political star in the United States. Tonight he has fallen pretty far from those early lofty and glowing predictions...
Two of the cable news networks were no more accurate. Filling in on MSNBC's Hardball, Mike Barnicle avoided Kilpatrick's party in a brief item on news of his jailing while on CNN's The Situation Room anchor Wolf Blitzer did not note Kilpatrick's Democratic affiliation in several updates and plugs and, in a full story in the 5PM EDT hour, the MRC's Matthew Balan noticed, Mary Snow failed to verbally name Kilpatrick's party in her piece. The only hint came in this chyron at the bottom of the screen for barely three seconds: "MAYOR KWAME KILPATRICK (D) DETROIT."
Catching up with the news from Friday night, NBC Nightly News didn't report on Kilpatrick while ABC again failed to identify Kilpatrick's party. Fill-in anchor Kate Snow read this short item on the August 8 World News:
In Detroit, a court let Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick out of jail where he had been held for violating his bond. Moments later, he was arraigned on charges of assaulting a police officer. It's all related to perjury charges stemming from a civil trial last year.
In “Again This Morning, No (D) for Incarcerated Detroit Mayor,” the MRC's Matthew Balan ran down how CBS's Early Show didn't mention Kilpatrick on Friday morning while stories on ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today maintained the blackout of his party affiliation.

Thursday NewsBusters post by Rusty Weiss: “Mayor Ordered Jailed -- AP Apparently Doesn’t Know Party Affiliation.”

The full lead “Grapevine” item on the August 8 Special Report with Brit Hume, though anchored by Bret Baier:
Earlier we told you about Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick getting out of jail today. Thursday, when the Associated Press reported that he had been imprisoned for violating terms of his bond in his perjury case, the AP failed to mention his party affiliation. Kilpatrick is a Democrat. But back on July 29th, when Alaska Senator Ted Stevens was indicted, the AP made his party affiliation clear. The headline read, quote: “Ted Stevens indicted, longest-serving GOP Senator.” The article included the word “Republican” seven times and “GOP” four times.

Media watchdog Web site NewsBusters.org reports that both ABC World News and NBC Nightly News also failed to report Kilpatrick's party affiliation.
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