Networks Hit Cain Story 50 Times in Less Than Four Days; Ignored Clinton Scandals
In contrast, over a similar period these networks mostly ignored far more substantial and serious scandals relating to Bill Clinton.
This pattern continued on Wednesday night and into Thursday as the evening newscasts and morning shows highlighted the story 19 times.
On Good Morning America, Brian Ross offered innuendo and slung gossip, recounting, "But behind the scenes, several of the campaigns are still urging reporters to continue to dig, George, saying, there's more to be found in the private life of Herman Cain." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Without offering facts, Ross described Cain's time as head of the National Restaurant Association: "It fits with the kind of culture we were told that existed there, with young women who had been, sort of, lobbyists for the restaurant association, working with various states. They were the new ones, the young ones. And they say that's where Cain often socialized."
GMA's George Stephanopoulos trumpeted the latest: "Another woman. Herman Cain facing new allegations that he was aggressive and inappropriate to a third employee, inviting her back to his corporate apartment." "Is the pressure finally getting to the front-runner," inquired the former Democratic operative turned journalist.
On the November 3 Today, Lisa Myers, with no sense of irony, declared the story "a feeding frenzy." She trumpeted, "For Herman Cain, this story is quickly going from bad to worse."
In comparison, over a similar three-day period these same programs were far less interested in charges against Democrat Bill Clinton. After Paula Jones held a public press conference in February of 1994, there was only one report on her allegations.
Following Kathleen Willey's July 1997 claims of being groped by the President, there were a mere three reports. For Juanita Broaddrick, who came forward in February of 1999 to say Clinton raped her, only three stories followed charges appearing in the Wall Street Journal.
It should also be pointed out that all these women offered their names. They weren't anonymous. Additionally, the accusations of assault and rape go far beyond what's being mentioned with the Cain scandal.
Yet, on CBS's Early Show, Chris Wragge piled on, saying of a third possible Cain accuser, "That pretty much takes care of any hope he might have had to see this story fade any time soon."
The nightly newscasts offered a similar tone. Both Evening News anchor Scott Pelley and Nightly News' Brian Williams led their shows by exclaiming, "Under pressure."
Williams added, "Herman Cain fights to stay on his game as reporters swarm and questions swirl about accusations of sexual harassment. Tonight, one of his accusers wants to talk, but can she go public?"
In a follow-up segment, Williams spun the story as a reminder of the seriousness of sexual harassment: "This, of course, is just the latest entry in a long list of similar situations, stories that have made headlines and come and gone over the years and a lot of people are wondering not only what really happened here but where the line is where the rules of the workplace are concerned."
The morning shows, Good Morning America, Today and Early Show, devoted 12 stories to the scandal on Thursday. Wednesday's evening newscasts, Nightly News, World News and Evening News, offered another six. ABC's Nightline also had one.
A transcript of the November 3 Brian Ross segment can be found below:
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