NBC Punts On FBI Reward For Brian Terry's Killers; ABC and CBS Omit Holder
NBC, which shamefully ignored the "Fast and Furious" controversy for months, failed to cover on their newscasts Monday evening and Tuesday morning the FBI offering a combined $1 million reward for the capture of four suspects in the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
ABC devoted a full report to the FBI reward on Monday's World News, but omitted mentioning Attorney General Eric Holder's part in the controversy. On Tuesday, ABC's GMA and CBS This Morning both devoted news briefs to the new development in the Terry case, but like World News, the two programs didn't mention Holder's name in their stories. Anchor Diane Sawyer introduced correspondent Pierre Thomas's report on the reward, and got a detail wrong out of the gate:
DIANE SAWYER: And now, we move on to a plea for help from the FBI. The agency today identified four men, all fugitives, each with a $1 million bounty on his head. They are accused in the death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent, all part of the operation called 'Fast and Furious,' the government program that went terribly wrong.
Actually, the bureau is offering a $250,000 reward for each suspect, a detail which an on-screen graphic made clear (see right).
Sawyer later noted how the fugitives are "accused in the death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent, all part of the operation called 'Fast and Furious,' the government program that went terribly wrong." Thomas used a similar phrase during his report as he described the circumstances of Agent Terry's death: "Two assault rifles recovered at the scene were traced back to the ATF operation 'Fast and Furious,' that had gone horribly wrong." But neither journalist got around to mentioning Holder.
The following morning, news anchor Josh Elliott gave a news brief on the FBI bounty just after the top of the 7 am Eastern hour of Good Morning America, but neither mentioned "Fast and Furious" nor Holder by name:
JOSH ELLIOTT: And the U.S. government is offering a $1 million reward this morning in the hopes of capturing the four men wanted for gunning down a border patrol agent. Brian Terry was killed in a shoot-out just north of the Arizona/Mexico border by Mexican border bandits who robbed gunrunners. Now, two guns at the scene were linked to the now infamous U.S. sting operation that armed those bandits in hopes of tracking down cartel leaders.
Ten minutes later, on CBS This Morning, anchor Erica Hill followed ABC's lead in omitting Holder's name during her news brief on the reward:
ERICA HILL: The FBI is asking for help in finding the killers of a border patrol agent whose murder is linked to a controversial gun-running operation. Brian Terry was shot to death 18 months ago in Arizona. Weapons found at the scene were traced to the botched 'Fast and Furious' operation, which was first exposed by CBS News. On Monday, federal prosecutors released the identities of four men accused of killing Terry. They are believed to be in Mexico. The FBI is offering a $1 million reward.