Networks Biased in Reporting Sex Scandals, Report Says

Melanie Hunter | Senior Editor | Thursday, October 12, 2006

Networks Biased in Reporting Sex Scandals, Report Says

( - The establishment media has a double standard when reporting the sexual proclivities of Republicans versus Democrats, a media watchdog group found in a report on the Mark Foley scandal.

Over the past 12 days, more than 150 stories on Foley aired on morning and evening news shows on ABC, CBS, and NBC, the Media Research Center, parent company of Cybercast News Service, found. Compare that to 19 stories over one year in the scandal involving Mel Reynolds - a Democratic congressman from Illinois convicted in 1995 of having sex with a 16-year-old campaign worker.

"The numbers are clear and shocking: 152 stories on Mark Foley over 12 days, yet only 19 stories on Mel Reynolds over an entire year. This double standard reeks of political partisanship and proves how far the liberal media will go to downplay the sexual degeneracy of a liberal Democrat and trumpet the sexual degeneracy of a Republican," said MRC President Brent Bozell in a statement.

Reynolds also conspired to have sex with the teen's 15-year-old friend, solicited child porn, and was convicted on 12 counts of sexual assault and obstruction of justice.

CBS did two stories on Reynolds' 1994 indictment (two anchor briefs), while NBC did one evening story and ABC didn't touch on the indictment at all, the MRC found.

And when Reynolds was convicted in 1995 on all 12 counts, NBC did 10 stories (seven anchor briefs, a morning story and two morning interview segments), CBS did five (four anchor briefs and a full morning story) and ABC reported on it once.

Foley resigned recently amid reports that he traded sexually inappropriate messages with an underage male participant in the congressional page program.

NBC did a total of 56 stories on the Foley scandal (20 on the evening news and 36 in the morning), compared to 50 on ABC (20 in the evening and 30 in the morning) and 46 on CBS (15 in the evening and 31 in the morning).

"The Republican is accused of repugnant behavior, via e-mail primarily, toward minors. The Democrat was charged, prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to prison for very real sexual assault toward a minor along with obstruction of justice," noted Bozell.

"The same networks that gave absolute minimal coverage to the Democrat are now flooding the airwaves with stories about the Republican, on the eve of the elections. If this isn't evidence of a liberal media agenda, nothing ever will be," Bozell added.

The MRC looked at stories on the Foley scandal from Sept. 29 when the story broke to Oct. 11. A fraction of the stories were brief anchor updates.

See Earlier Stories:
Stop Playing Politics, Start Helping Kids, Group Says (Oct. 5, 2006)
'Republican Cover-Up,' Democrats Allege (Oct. 3, 2006)
Hastert Takes a Stand: He Will Not Step Down (Oct. 5, 2006)

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