CNN, NY Times Hype Dem Campaign Ad as News on Foley Scandal Fallout

October 4th, 2006 5:27 PM

CNN has been hyping the Mark Foley scandal by emphasizing the damage that it will have on Republicans in the upcoming November elections. In doing so CNN is repeatedly using Minnesota Democrat Patty Wetterling’s campaign commercial that attacks Congressional leaders head on with the following opening statement.

"Congressional leaders have admitted covering up the predatory behavior of a Congressman who used the Internet to molest children". - Patty Wetterling Campaign Commercial

We can put aside the record speed in which the network picked up this campaign ad to concentrate on the actual statement by Wetterling that is being used in these reports. Note how quickly a scandal about e-mails and instant messages is now being presented as a case of child molestation that was covered-up by Congressional leaders.

I spliced together two instances of the ad’s usage that I found on CNN yesterday which you can watch at YouTube here. You will note that CNN played the full ad at least once on the situation room and followed it up with an edited version in a later report by Andrea Koppel. The edited version of the ad uses still images of Patty Wetterling with children and is followed by a video clip with the same opening line as stated above. The video then cross fades to a giant image stating "Developing Story" as if to give credence to Wetterling’s claims. CNN is still using the ad in coverage today.

I personally haven’t heard anyone admit to a cover-up nor have I heard of any molestation that occurred as a result of Foley's internet messages. The Washington Post notes that the FBI is in a legal gray area on the circumstances surrounding this case; in other words no molestation as far as anyone knows. Yet CNN used the Wetterling commercial repeatedly throughout their broadcasts.

The child molestation claim from the Wetterling ad has now taken on a life of its own as the New York Times uses it as a quote to close out their latest article on the troubles of Speaker Hastert.

The first television advertisement to refer directly to the page scandal was broadcast Tuesday in Minnesota, where a Democratic Congressional candidate, Patty Wetterling, is running for an open seat against a Republican state senator, Michele Bachmann. "Congressional leaders have admitted covering up the predatory behavior of a congressman who used the Internet to molest children," the commercial declared. [emphasis mine]