Networks blacked out on DeLay aides' indictmentsSeptember 23, 2004 7:17 PM EDT ››› NICOLE CASTA
On September 21, three top aides to U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) were indicted on charges of illegally raising political funds from corporations in 2002. Major newspapers carried the story, some of them on the front page -- but the evening newscasts on the three major TV networks did not.
As The Washington Post noted on September 22, the grand jury has not questioned DeLay or sought records from him, but the fund-raising activities in question "were at the heart of one of DeLay's most cherished, high-profile endeavors of the past several years: giving Republicans control of the Texas legislature so the state's 32 U.S. House districts could be redrawn in a way likely to send more Republicans to Congress." Both The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times pointed out on September 22 that the charges against DeLay's aides come at a time when DeLay himself is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee. The Los Angeles Times stated that the investigation pertains to "improperly involving a federal agency in a Texas partisan matter, soliciting campaign contributions in return for legislative favors, and violating campaign finance laws."
The Washington Post, The New York Times, and the Houston Chronicle carried front-page stories on the indictments on September 22, and a LexisNexis database search for September 21 and September 22 news reports on the indictments returned 84 results.*
Yet ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News failed to report the indictments on September 21 and on September 22.
(*Methodology: Based on MMFA LexisNexis database search on September 23 of the "All News" directory for "Tom DeLay and Indict!")