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Protests stirred over lack of coverage of convicted Gore fund-raiser

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    NMU         WASHINGTON, D.C.         Press at Home & Abroad         Mar 10, 2000    

Protests stirred over lack of coverage of convicted Gore fund-raiser

  • Network anchors were inundated with protest calls and e-mails after the anchors’ e-mail addresses and phone numbers were distributed by Republican Party representatives.

NBC shut down Tom Brokaw’s e-mail account March 8 and Peter Jennings’ secretary has been hanging up on callers after activists received the anchors’ contact information from the Republican Party and contacted the anchors in protest of what some Republicans see as a lack of coverage of convicted Al Gore fund-raiser Maria Hsia.

Hsia was convicted on five felony counts for illegally routing funds and arranging more than $100,000 in illegal contributions by laundering money through a Buddhist temple.

According to Jim Nicholson, chairman of the Republican National Committee, NBC neglected to cover the story, ABC gave it 19 seconds and CBS did a 23-second piece.

Nicholson sent out a call for protests Tuesday morning via e-mail to about 10,000 GOP activists and radio talk show hosts across the country. The statement stated that the three major networks, NBC, ABC and CBS “failed miserably to uphold their basic obligations to inform the American public of this scathing story about the vice president” and listed the contact information to network anchors, executives and presidents, according to the Associated Press.

“Imagine if a close associate of a Republican presidential candidate was branded an agent of a foreign government and then convicted of funneling illegal campaign cash to that candidate,” he wrote. “Is there any doubt this story would have led the nightly news?”

ABC spokeswoman Eileen Murphy told the AP that the network has reported on the fund-raising scandal from the beginning and to “measure its commitment by the number of seconds broadcast is silly.”

© 2000 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

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