Posted on Aug 20, 2006
It’s one thing to report a story, it’s another to obsess over every detail at the expense of real news. Wall-to-wall coverage of the JonBenet case continues on every major news channel, despite Israel’s violation of the cease-fire, the ruling against wiretapping, and Iran’s missile tests.
Yesterday, a federal judge in Michigan issued ?a sweeping rebuke of the once-secret domestic-surveillance effort the White House authorized following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.? The ruling was ?a significant blow to Bush?s attempts to expand presidential powers,? but you wouldn?t know that by watching last evening?s network newscasts.
All three major TV networks led their evening news with stories on JonBenet Ramsey?s death and the comments made by arrested teacher John Mark Karr. The networks offered multiple segments and numerous expert analyses to provide in-depth coverage on the legal case. The NSA decision received only a passing mention from two of the newscasts, while ABC devoted a full segment to it.
Still, ABC devoted twice as much time to Ramsey as it did to the NSA story. More egregiously, CBS offered seven times as much airtime to Ramsey as it did to the NSA story, while NBC devoted 15 times more airtime.
Illustration by Peter Scheer