Words, just words. But which ones excite journalists and which ones don't? A test case Wednesday night as ABC and NBC, matching the focus of CNN and MSNBC throughout the day, aired segments on controversy over Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell leaving condemnation of slavery out of a proclamation issued last week calling April “Confederate History Month,” but neither had any time for an AP report about how the Obama administration plans to eliminate from the National Security Strategy terms such as “militant Islamic radicalism.”
FNC's Special Report with Bret Baier managed to cover outrage generated against both actions. Shannon Bream reported the administration may be:
[C]hanging language in the National Security Strategy, a document which was last modified under President George W. Bush in March 2006 and reads, quote: “The struggle against militant Islamic radicalism is the great ideological conflict of the early years of the 21st century.” The Obama White House will not comment on reports that a new version of the NSS could drop language like “Islamic radicalism.” But critics of the possible modification call the idea political correctness run amok...
Diane Sawyer teased at the top of the April 7 World News: “Virginia's Governor wants to celebrate Confederate history and not mention slavery?”
She set up the subsequent full story:
And now, we return to home, where the Governor of Virginia has created an eruption of a debate. He decided to declare this month Confederate History Month, raising an argument about two questions. Should the Confederacy be honored, and what if the proclamation never mentions one of the central reasons the South went to war? Here's Jon Karl.
On the NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams read this short item:
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell apologized today for issuing a proclamation declaring April Confederate History Month, even though the proclamation contained no mention of slavery. McDonnell said today it was a mistake and apologized to citizens of the commonwealth who were offended or disappointed.
Wednesday's CBS Evening News didn't mention either topic.