Foley Story Day 19: CNN’s ‘American Morning’ Devotes Nearly 20 Minutes to Scandal
After nearly three weeks of covering every aspect of the Mark Foley scandal, CNN’s "American Morning" still hasn’t tired of the story. Wednesday’s edition of the program featured over 18 minutes of coverage. This encompassed seven full reports on the disgraced Congressman and one anchor read. In contrast, there were no reports on the unfolding controversy of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, and his questionable land deal. Additionally, the October 18 "American Morning" featured only two brief anchor reads on a racially charged remark made by Democratic House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.
"American Morning" has actually increased their Foley coverage over a similar analysis last week. On October 12, the program devoted 18 minutes and 4 seconds to the story. Today, the scandal received 18 minutes and 19 seconds. There’s an important difference however: Starting October 16, "American Morning" shrank from four hours to three. In other words, the show allocated more time to the story, and they did it with a shorter program.
The October 18 edition of "American Morning" covered a number of different angles of "Foley-Gate." There was a report on Congressman Rodney Alexander’s testimony to the ethics panel on the matter. Other segments looked at Foley’s youth. Susan Candiotti, in a piece that aired at 7:18a.m. EDT, reviewed the former Congressman’s upbringing and the allegation that he faced abuse:
Susan Candiotti: "Foley grew up in south Florida. As a youngster he served as an altar boy. He attended Catholic grade school and high school, but later transferred to a public high. Foley's lawyer says he's talked with the Palm Beach state attorney's office, but no criminal charges will be filed. The allegations are too old. The alleged abuse happened more than 35 years ago, well past the statute of limitations. Foley's attorney says he has not yet set up that first meeting with the Archdiocese of Miami. Nor is he sure whether that name will be turned over during the course of that first meeting."
A little less then an hour later, Miles O’Brien talked with reporter John King about whether the Foley scandal would have an effect on the Missouri Senate race:
Miles O’Brien: "Let's talk about what's going on, what, what voters are thinking about in rural Missouri, these conservative voters. The presumption is that the Foley scandal might have them upset. Are you finding that?"
John King: "That is a worry on the Republican side. And they are saying in their polling, in the conservative areas, they're not finding that, at least not yet. They might be upset about it, but what they're not finding is the key thing -- they say these voters aren't saying they are going to stay home because of it. What Democrats are saying, though, is even if a small percentage stay home in southwest Missouri, that will help the Democrats. And Democrats, Miles, are saying they're beginning to see evidence this is not so much an issue with conservatives on the values front, but more an issue with Independents who say it's more evidence to them that the Republicans in Washington will do anything to keep their power. Democrats are hoping it helps them with Independents. There's quite a few here in Missouri."
So, the Foley scandal isn’t having much of an effect on conservative voters? Would it be impolite to ask why CNN featured almost 20 minutes of coverage in three hours?
Finally, "American Morning" covered a gaffe by a noted Democrat somewhat differently. Congressman Steny Hoyer, in a campaign appearance on Sunday, described Michael Steele, the Republican senatorial candidate from Maryland, as "slavishly" supporting the GOP. Here’s how the CNN co-anchors reported the incident:
Soledad O’Brien: "Political news, the number two Democrat in the House apologizing for what some people are calling a racially charged remark. The House Minority Whip, Steny Hoyer, was speaking to a mostly black audience at a rally for the opponent of Maryland's lieutenant governor Michael Steele when he said that Steele has a record of slavishly supporting the Republican party.
Well the word slavish, you might know, means submissive. It also means befitting a slave. Yes, that's what people took exception to. Steele is running for the Senate. There he is. You can see he's African American. So Hoyer issued a statement saying this, 'I should not have used those words. If Mr. Steele did in fact take offense, let me assure you, none was attended.' Steele's spokesman called Hoyer's remark insensitive and stupid. He was speaking to a black audience, probably wasn't the smartest things to do."
Miles O’Brien: "I suppose it would be easy to forget the origins of that word, not knowing, but nevertheless, anyway, onward."
It certainly doesn't look like CNN will be moving "onward" from the Foley scandal, or at least not until after the midterm elections.