[Updated 2009-04-21 16:02:29] All three morning shows skipped an exclusive story broken in Tuesday's Washington Times that explained how Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation in January to send "$25 billion in taxpayer money to a government agency that had just awarded her husband's real estate firm a lucrative contract to sell foreclosed properties at compensation rates higher than the industry norms." ABC's "Good Morning America," CBS's "Early Show" and NBC's "Today" completely avoided discussing the piece by the Times' Chuck Neubauer. On the "Today" show, correspondent Amy Robach found time to mention that Feinstein had pressed President Obama not to make a final decision on prosecuting CIA employees who used harsh interrogation tactics, but ignored this potential scandal. GMA spent time on discussing dwarf rabbits with Jack Hanna, while the "Early Show" featured a segment on co-host Julie Chen's pregnancy. In his article, Neubauer explained:
Mrs. Feinstein's intervention on behalf of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was unusual: the California Democrat isn't a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs with jurisdiction over FDIC; and the agency is supposed to operate from money it raises from bank-paid insurance payments - not direct federal dollars. Documents reviewed by The Washington Times show Mrs. Feinstein first offered Oct. 30 to help the FDIC secure money for its effort to stem the rise of home foreclosures. Her letter was sent just days before the agency determined that CB Richard Ellis Group (CBRE) - the commercial real estate firm that her husband Richard Blum heads as board chairman - had won the competitive bidding for a contract to sell foreclosed properties that FDIC had inherited from failed banks.
To read the lengthy Washington Times analysis of the case, go here. [Updated 2009-04-21 16:02:29]On Tuesday's "Andrea Mitchell Reports," MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell interviewed Feinstein for eight and a half minutes, but also failed to broach the Times' report. Just as with her NBC colleague Amy Robach, however, she spent the entire interview discussing Feinstein's call that the President refrain from making a final decision on possibly prosecuting those involved with writing memos about enhanced interrogations.