The NewsBusters Weekly Recap: October 7 to 13
This past week, the media made a very clear distinction between how they view a Republican scandal and one involving a powerful Democrat. MRC analysts found that, over a period of 12 days, the big three networks aired 150 stories on the Mark Foley scandal.
How did those same networks cover an investigation into Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and a very questionable land deal? They generally ignored the story. In the case of CNN, the October 12 "American Morning" aired almost 20 minutes of Foley coverage and devoted 35 seconds to Reid
Not to be outdone, print media also glossed over the emerging Reid scandal. "The New York Times" prefaced a story about Reid earning $1.1 million on a property that he hasn’t owned in three years with this headline: "Senator Offers to Amend Financial Forms." The "Times" is certainly generous in offering the benefit of the doubt...as long as you’re a Democrat.
On the morning show front, "Good Morning America’s" Diane Sawyer discussed the situation in North Korea and wondered if America has the right to object to Kim Jong Il’s nuclear ambitions. "Early Show" co-host Hannah Storm seemed puzzled as to why President Bush would refuse North Korea’s demands.
The networks in general heavily focused on a controversial study that claims 665,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed. Little skepticism was offered to some of the more dubious claims in the report.
CNN founder Ted Turner, when asked about the future of his network, was left just short of speechless. A look back at previous Turner quotes, including the time he predicted the North Korea problem was "behind us," suggests it might be better for him to keep his mouth closed. Jack Cafferty, a CNN anchor who truly represents his network, recently called for the defeat of Senator George Allen.
Finally, the always reliable Rosie O’Donnell rhapsodized about a visit with the Bush bashing Barbara Streisand.