Network Deluge: 99 Stories on Cain Harassment Charges in Less Than Nine Days

November 8th, 2011 12:52 PM

In only eight and a half days, NBC, CBS and ABC have devoted a staggering 99 stories to sexual harassment charges against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain. In comparison, eight days into Bill Clinton's scandal's with Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broaddrick, there were a combined eight reports.

Additionally, the three network newscasts on Monday offered scant information about the fact that Cain's accuser, Sharon Bialek, has hired the extremely liberal lawyer Gloria Allred. On NBC's Nightly News, reporter Kelly O'Donnell described Allred as a "high profile attorney." On CBS's Evening News, Jan Crawford referred to her as a "celebrity lawyer."

On ABC's World News, Brian Ross avoided discussing Allred and focused on Bialek: "It's been 14 years since the alleged incident with Cain, but Sharon Bialek seemed to have perfect recall of the details today at a New York news conference."

Ross' tone had changed on Tuesday. He clarified, "Overnight, the Cain campaign described Sharon Bialek as a person with a history of severe financial difficulties and questioned who was paying for her lawyer, Gloria Allred, who they said was a long-time contributor to Democratic Party causes."

Ross on Monday also defined the new accusations rather flippantly, calling the charges a "blond bombshell." (Bialek has blond hair.)

On Monday's Nightly News, O'Donnell, who didn't identify Allred's ideology, did explain to viewers: "Allred made a point to say that Bialek is a Republican and that she has not sold her story. Bialek acknowledges she has had some financial and legal problems in the past."

From Monday evening to Tuesday morning there were 15 new stories. One report each on Monday night's evening newscasts and one on ABC's Nightline. Tuesday's Good Morning America had three. There were four on the Today show and another four on the Early Show.

Bialek appeared on all three morning shows, Tuesday, receiving 21 minutes of coverage. For more on how they covered her, go here.

To see a previous update on the numbers, go here.

A transcript of Brian Ross' report on Tuesday's GMA can be found below:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Now to those latest allegations against presidential candidate Herman Cain. He's going to hold a press conference later today to answer the first woman who has come forward in public that Cain harassed her when he was head of the National Restaurant Association in the late 1990s. We're going to hear from that woman Sharon Bialek and her attorney Gloria Allred in a moment. But first, here's ABC's chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross with more on Cain and his accuser.

BRIAN ROSS: Good morning, George. Well, the allegations come from a Chicago woman who had lost her job at the National Restaurant Association and went to Washington in hopes that Cain could help to find her a new position. Instead, she says, she found Cain had upgraded her to a luxury hotel suite and wanted to get very personal. Cain remained defiant in an appearance of Jimmy Kimmel Live overnight.

HERMAN CAIN: I'm in it to win it and I'm not going to be discouraged by all this stuff!

ROSS: And he refuted the allegations.

CAIN: There's not an ounce of truth in all of these allegations.

ROSS: The incident is alleged to have happened 14 years ago, outside the National Restaurant Association in Washington, where Cain was CEO. Described in graphic detail by Sharon Bialek, it was a blonde bombshell.

SHARON BIALEK: Instead of going into the offices, he suddenly reached over and he put his hand on my leg, under my skirt. He also grabbed my head and brought it towards his crotch. I was very, very surprised and very shocked. I said, "What are you doing? You know I have a boyfriend." This isn't what I came here for." Mr. Cain said, "You want a job, right?" I asked him to stop. And he did.

ROSS: The allegation against Cain is now the fourth involving women who knew him through the restaurant association. A lawyer for one of the other women says, the alleged conduct was similar to what happened with his client.

JOEL BENNETT: It's not exactly the same and I'm not authorized to give specifics. But the conduct is similar. And it's corroborating evidence for the complaint my client filed.

ROSS: Cain ducked reporters' questions about the new allegation, Monday, which his campaign called "completely false." Later, on a radio program with Bill O'Reilly of Fox News, he says his wife was disgusted by the media's handling of the allegations, but not with him.

CAIN: She's still 200 percent supportive of me and she is still 200 percent my wife. When you know that all of this is totally fabricated, you go from anger, then you go- you get disgusted.

JIMMY KIMMEL: You think the other candidates will follow suit and hire women to charge them with sexual harassment.

CAIN: If they're smart, they will. [Laughs.]

ROSS: Overnight, the Cain campaign described Sharon Bialek as a person with a history of severe financial difficulties and questioned who was paying for her lawyer, Gloria Allred, who they said was a long-time contributor to Democratic Party causes. George?