CNN's American Morning, Fixated on O'Donnell Charges, Played Down Biden's Fine
Today, the American Morning program covered in each of its three hours allegations from a Federal Election Commission (FEC) complaint that O'Donnell misused some campaign funds. Yet when Vice President Joe Biden was fined $219,000 in July for actual FEC infractions, not allegations, American Morning didn't devote anywhere near as much air time to the story.
At 6:00 AM (ET), co-anchor John Roberts kicked off American morning with: "Checks and balances. Questions for the suddenly silent rising star of the Tea Party. Where does Christine O'Donnell get her money? Is she using campaign cash as her personal credit card?" Co-anchor Kiran Chetry chimed in with, "We're going to have a lot more on Christine O'Donnell in just a few minutes." And they did, playing a clip of CNN national correspondent Gary Tuchman telling O'Donnell she didn't answer his question as well as part of an interview with a woman representing the organization lodging the complaint. Roberts noted that group claims O'Donnell is "clearly a criminal and should be prosecuted because of this spending."
After thanking viewers for watching and mentioning the transition from summer to fall, the 7:00 AM segment began:
CHETRY: I'm Kiran Chetry. We have a lot to talk about this morning. We're looking for answers from the tea party candidate for Senate in Delaware. Christine O'Donnell's past spending raising some legal and ethical questions. We're going to show you what the complaints are about, who's behind them, and how she responded last night at a Delaware campaign forum.By the 8:00 AM segment, the team showed some self-restraint, waiting until about midway before:
CHETRY: And Delaware GOP nominee Christine O'Donnell is denying she misused money from her last Senate run. She did though shy away from statistics when our Gary Tuchman caught up with her at a campaign forum last night.
They then went to a video, afterwards noting that the "O'Donnell campaign has not responded to our phone calls this morning."
On July 19, the American Morning program reported on another story about the FEC looking into allegations of improprities. It's entire coverage:
CHETRY: Well, his presidential bid failed. Now, Joe Biden will have to pay a $219,000 fine for violating campaign spending rules. The Federal Election Commission says Biden's 2008 campaign accepted contributions above the legal limit.
A Biden spokesman says that the ruling is, quote, "commonplace" and that a repayment check to the Treasury Department will be in the mail.
And that, in total, was American Morning's coverage that day of Biden's $219,000 fine.
The O'Donnell overkill must be obvious to even the Flavor Aid drinkers of the mainstream media. Still, they just can't get enough. Even if it ultimately backfires as I think it may.