ABC Skipped Rudman Again; Clinton's "Hero's Welcome"; Bush's Mistake
1) An "unprecedented" combined hearing of four Senate committees to hear from Rudman and Richardson, but only CNN offered any live coverage. ABC's World News Tonight ignored the hearing as it did the release of Rudman's report last week.
Clarification. The June 22 CyberAlert reported how Tom Brokaw praised Newsweek's decision to make Anna Quindlen its alternating week columnist with George Will, but failed to note that her columns will begin in October.
Warren Rudman, the public face of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board which issued a report last week critical of security at the Energy Department nuclear labs, appeared Tuesday before an unprecedented combined hearing of four Senate committees. That gave ABC's World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News, the two broadcast evening shows which ignored the report last week, a chance to catch up. The hearing offered a fresh hook and video but ABC passed again as NBC Nightly News did take advantage of the opportunity and ran a story, though it skipped over the report's condemnation of Clinton administration delays in taking any action. (Last week ABC's GMA and NBC's Today each allocated 23 seconds to the report's release.)
During the day Tuesday, C-SPAN carried the appearances of Rudman and Energy Secretary Bill Richardson from 9:30am until the network went live with the House at 12:30pm ET. Otherwise, only CNN offered any live coverage. CNN featured a preview piece from Pierre Thomas at 9:30am ET, showed Richardson live for about two minutes at 10:13am before cutting to Bill Clinton in Macedonia, but re-joined the hearing from 10:28 to 10:42am ET with comments from Richardson and Rudman.
FNC provided a live update at 11:22am ET from Wendell Goler and the T&A Network (my new name for MSNBC since a plurality of its time is devoted to Time & Again repeats) offered a preview at 9:35am from Chip Reid and the Rudman Report was a topic on the 11am ET Watch It! With Laura Ingraham.
In the evening, CNN's Inside Politics did not air a word about the hearings, instead dedicating half the show to George W. Bush. Later the 10pm ET The World Today allocated about a minute to a soundbite each from Rudman and Richardson followed by a piece from Kathleen Koch on how "since the invention of the polygraph in 1921 intelligence officials can't cite one high level spy who has been tripped up by the so-called lie detector test."
FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume ran a full story on the day's hearing by Wendell Goler, but the 7pm ET Fox Report skipped the hearing. (Both CNN and FNC ran full stories last week on the report.)
Here's how the Tuesday, June 22 broadcast network evening shows handled the Rudman Report and the special hearing:
-- ABC's World News Tonight led with the Supreme Court's ruling on the Americans with Disability Act. ABC skipped the hearing, so its viewers have yet to learn about Rudman's report. ABC did find time for A Closer Look at the impact of information technology on the economy, how high-tech success stories are creating millionaires and how a Russian is raising money to pay to support the Russian space station.
-- CBS Evening
News. Last week CBS was the only broadcast network to run a evening piece
on Rudman's report. Tuesday night anchor John Roberts ran this 42-second
Later in the show
Roberts introduced an Eye on America look at how conservatives are
downgrading the importance of abortion:
Notice the contrast of "abortion rights" versus "anti-abortion."
Phil Jones focused on a Christian Coalition woman from Maryland and how she feels taking abortion out of politics is just accepting reality since you can't do anything if you don't win.
-- NBC Nightly
News led with the hunt for serial killer Rafael Resendez Ramirez and
devoted its In Depth segment to the threat from the Hantavirus spread by
mice, but still caught up with the Rudman Report by squeezing in a piece
from Andrea Mitchell. She began:
Still, she concluded by noting, Richardson maintains the department can fix itself.
Bill Clinton, a "hero's welcome" for the "liberator" on his "victory tour." The three broadcast network evening shows aired full reports Tuesday night on President Clinton's warm welcome at a refugee camp in Macedonia and at the Aviano Air Force Base in Italy.
Here's a sampling of the glowing reviews delivered on June 22:
-- Sam Donaldson
on ABC's World News Tonight relayed how the visit to a refugee camp
"was clearly moving experience for President Clinton, his wife and
daughter." Standing before a cheering crowd at Aviano, Donaldson
-- John Roberts opened the CBS Evening News: "Standing close to the Kosovo border President and Mrs. Clinton got a hero's welcome today from ethnic Albanian refugees in Macedonia."
Scott Pelley began
his report: "In a camp near the Kosovo border it felt like liberation
day. Refugees crowded the road that leads home and cheered the President
who opened the way...."
-- David Bloom
started his NBC Nightly News piece:
You call it Slovenia, I call it Slovakia, let' call the whole thing off. FNC's Carl Cameron demonstrated Tuesday night that Chinese espionage is not the only subject where he can beat the bigger network boys as he uniquely caught George W. Bush making a mistake, confusing Slovakia with Slovenia.
On the June 22
Special Report with Brit Hume, after Cameron wrapped up a taped piece on
Bush's "blitz of posh fundraisers," Hume set him up with this
outlined what FNC discovered by just making a phone call: "So we
checked some of the Governor's records by calling the State House in
Austin and we were told in fact that it was not the Foreign Minister but
indeed it was the Prime Minister and the nation was not Slovakia, Brit,
but indeed Slovenia. Slovakia it turns out, one of the nation's that
evolved from Czechoslovakia is not doing so well economically and of
course Slovenia is the country that has evolved from the former
I don't know much more than Bush about Slovakia, but here's a little factoid for him to use in the future: Slovakia is the world's biggest manufacturer of hockey pucks, the very pucks his state's Dallas Stars played with in winning the Stanley Cup on Sunday morning.
Dan Rather, Zoo master. Tuesday night Rather jokingly compared himself to an armadillo. As part of his book tour for Deadlines & Datelines, a collection of his past radio commentaries, Rather appeared Tuesday night on NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He walked out carrying an armadillo from his native Texas, at one point holding it by its tail as it tried to wriggle away.
With the armadillo on his arm Rather told Leno: "I can identify with this fellow and I'll tell you why. He has the smallest brain compared to his weight and size of any mammal in North America."
+++ See Dan Rather holding the armadillo. Wednesday morning the MRC's Sean Henry and Kristina Sewell will post a still shot and video clip, in RealPlayer format, of Rather on The Tonight Show. Go to the MRC's home page: http://www.mrc.org 
Rather also brought along a Horned Toed frog and in telling Leno about how Texas ensures there are Bass in its lakes for catching, he issued this Ratherism: "There's no dumb bass like a Texas dumb bass."
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