Again This Morning, No (D) for Incarcerated Detroit Mayor

Natalie Morales, NBC Anchor | NewsBusters.orgThe Big Three networks continued to ignore the party affiliation of the now-incarcerated Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick on Friday morning, just as they had done in their evening news programs the previous night. The Early Show on CBS chose to ignore the story of Kilpatrick’s arrest on a bail violation entirely, while ABC’s Good Morning America devoted one 16-second news brief to the story near the beginning of its 7 am Eastern hour.

Ironically, NBC’s Today show, which is devoting most of its programming to the Summer Olympics in Beijing, spent the most time on the subject. It first aired a 12-second news brief just after the top of 7 am Eastern hour, and devoted an entire segment to the story at the beginning of the 8 am Eastern hour. The report by correspondent Ron Allen was just shy of 2 minutes long, but still ignored Kilpatrick’s Democratic affiliation.

The on-screen captioning in Allen’s report identified two others who had sound bites in the report -- the judge who sent Kilpatrick to jail and a member of the Detroit city council. But in the mayor’s sole sound bite, he was not identified on-screen.

Earlier this year, the Today show also neglected the party affiliation of Mayor Kilpatrick when news of his sex scandal broke. The February 1, 2008 CyberAlert recounted how co-anchor Ann Curry "forgot to note the party affiliation of the Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick in her report on his recent ordeals."

The transcripts of the Good Morning America news brief and both items from the Today show:

Kwame Kilpatrick, Detroit, Michigan Mayor | NewsBusters.orgABC’s Good Morning America, from 7:06 am EDT:

RYAN OWENS: The Mayor of Detroit is waking up in a jail cell this morning. Kwame Kilpatrick violated his bond in a perjury case by traveling to Canada. And the mayor faces more legal trouble today. He's expected to be charged with assaulting a sheriff's deputy.

NBC’s Today Show, from 7:07 am EDT:

NATALIE MORALES: Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick spent the night in jail after he violated the terms of his bail on earlier charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. He admits traveling to Canada without notifying the court.

NBC’s Today Show, from 8:04 am EDT

NATALIE MORALES: Detroit's embattled mayor woke up this morning behind bars after a judge sent him to jail for the night for violating his bond. NBC's Ron Allen is in Detroit with more. Ron, good morning.

Ron Allen, NBC Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgRON ALLEN: Good morning, Natalie. Yes, the mayor was issued a green prison jumpsuit and a private cell -- the latest public humiliation for Kwame Kilpatrick, already facing eight felony charges, a sex scandal, and calls to resign from office.

ALLEN (voice-over): Inmate number 25330's mug shot had a slight smile. But Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's appearance before a judge Thursday was deadly serious.

KWAME KILPATRICK: Your honor, I'm asking for, you know, your forgiveness. It will never happen again.

ALLEN: Kilpatrick had been free on bail, awaiting trial for perjury, obstruction of justice, misconduct in office -- charges the Mayor denies. But he traveled to Canada on city business, he claims, without notifying the court, violating the terms of his bail.

JUDGE RONALD GILES, MICHIGAN DISTRICT COURT: The court is going to order that all travel be suspended, and two, that you be remanded to the Wayne County jail for processing.

ALLEN: Kilpatrick and his former chief of staff Christine Beatty were indicted in March, accused of lying about allegedly having an affair and their roles in the firing of two police officers who were investigating corruption. A local newspaper uncovered thousands of text messages between them, some very explicit. Both have denied having a personal relationship or any wrongdoing. Many in Detroit have heard enough.

KENNETH COCKRELL, JR., DETROIT CITY COUNCIL: And I hope we can draw this saga to a close soon. We have to.

ALLEN (on-camera): This morning, the Mayor faces more charges potentially. The criminal trial is supposed to start next September. But this morning, we're hearing talk of a possible plea bargain. And meanwhile, the city council and even the state's governor are looking for ways to remove him from office. Natalie?

MORALES: Ron Allen in Detroit. Thank you, Ron.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center