Friday, September 5, 1997 | Vol. One, No. 14 | Media Inquiries: Keith Appell (703) 683-5004
Media-Friendly Pictures Drew All Four Networks Last NIght, But Morning Shows Aired Nothing Today
Document-Shredding Buddhist Nuns?
The TV networks continued their paparazzi-style
devotion to the Princess Diana tragedy for the fifth consecutive day yesterday, but the
pictures and stories at the resumption of Senate Governmental Affairs Committee hearings
yesterday were apparently too powerful for the network evening shows to miss.
Nevertheless, all three morning shows ignored it. Viewers could not view the spectacle
live as it unfolded on CNN or MSNBC: neither provided any live coverage and actually
provided fewer live updates than they did most days during the July hearings.
Evening news, September 4:
ABC's World News Tonight led with six minutes on Diana, but had the least
amount of coverage with nine minutes. Reporter Linda Douglass arrived 20 minutes into the
broadcast noting Gore has "gone into the bunker" to avoid the press and that the
nuns were "illegally reimbursed." But Douglass concluded with a mostly favorable
spin: "There is no evidence that Gore knew about the reimbursement scheme. Plus, he
insists he didn't know the event was a fundraiser in the first place. Still, an
investigation into all of this could threaten one of Gore's most important political
assets: his squeaky-clean image."
CBS Evening News began with 6.5 minutes on Diana-related stories, and devoted
11 minutes overall, exactly half the newscast. In his fundraising story, reporter Bob
Schieffer concluded skeptically: "The nuns now concede the fundraiser was to raise
money. The Democratic officials who were there say they knew it was a fundraiser. The Vice
President's staff has said previously they knew it was to raise money, but some way, they
say, no one told the Vice President."
NBC Nightly News had the most Diana coverage with 12 minutes.
Almost 20 minutes into the newscast, NBC's Lisa Myers noted "Documents show that
Gore's staff knew it was a fundraiser, called it that in memos, even listed the price per
head." Reporter Claire Shipman then explored the impact on Gore's political future.
CNN's The World Today led with 6.5 minutes on the Jerusalem bombing, and four
minutes on the Diana story (seven minutes overall), which anchor Leon Harris called
"the evening's other major story." Roughly 15 minutes into the newscast, Harris
briefly summarized the nuns' testimony. Then, reporter Brooks Jackson's three-minute story
covered both the temple fundraiser and his phone calls on federal property, concluding:
"Already, his legal advisers are looking for loopholes. One is saying there are court
opinions to the effect that the Vice President is not necessarily a federal employee, and
so his office is not a federal workplace where fundraising is banned."
Morning news, September 5:
ABC's Good Morning America had only two news updates instead of four,
dedicating their two hours to departing host Joan Lunden. ABC did note an astronaut was
cleared for a space walk.
CBS This Morning had no other news story this morning except Diana -- even a
brief on the MTV Video Music Awards focused on what rock stars said about her.
NBC's Today aired a segment on Elton John rewriting
"Candle in the Wind" for Diana with New York Times music writer Jon
Pareles. Matt Lauer did not ask whether Elton John would rededicate "Sorry Seems to
Be the Hardest Word" to Al Gore. -- Tim Graham & Brent Baker
L. Brent Bozell III, Publisher; Brent Baker, Tim Graham, Editors;
Eric Darbe, Geoffrey
Dickens, Gene Eliasen, Steve
Kaminski, Clay Waters, Media Analysts; Kristina Sewell, Research
Associate. For the latest liberal media bias, read the
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