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Back on September 28, when a county grand jury in Texas indicted then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on a conspiracy charge related to local Democratic prosecutor Ronnie Earle’s contention DeLay had participated in putting corporate money into Texas campaigns, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts all led with the development and aired at least two segments each. Earle subsequently got another grand jury to deliver a money laundering indictment. But on Monday night, after a Texas judge dismissed that original conspiracy indictment which generate so much media attention, ABC gave it a piddling 16 seconds and NBC a mere 20 seconds with only CBS showing some consistency by devoting significant time -- but not the lead story (CBS led with the Hussein trial).

ABC and NBC characterized the dismissed charge as the “less serious” one, but CBS called the remaining charge the “more difficult to prove.” ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas related how “a judge today refused to dismiss money laundering charges against House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. At the same time, the judge dismissed a less-serious charge of conspiracy.” NBC anchor Brian Williams relayed how “a judge dismissed a conspiracy charge against him but refused to throw out more serious charges of money laundering.” CBS’s Gloria Borger, however, reported that DeLay’s “office was claiming that this was a victory and with some very good reason. Half the charges were thrown out. Money laundering is much more difficult to prove.” (Transcripts follow.)

On Monday, ABC announced the new anchor pairing, starting in January, of Elizabeth Vargas and Bob Woodruff (see this NewsBusters item). Alerting viewers to it at the end of Monday’s newscast, Vargas asserted that “we are committed to every way maintaining the standard of excellence established by Peter Jennings” and Woodruff promised that “we will try to make Peter proud.” One Woodruff resume listing ABC is proud enough to tout is his trip to North Korea. The announcement boasted of how “in June 2005 he got unprecedented access to the secretive country of North Korea.”

But, as documented at the time by the MRC, Woodruff’s reports during his week inside the totalitarian regime showcased North Korean officials denouncing the U.S. and happy kids doing art and playing music. The June 10, 2005 CyberAlert, “ABC: North Koreans Hate Americans, Offer Great Music/Art for Kids,” recounted: “North Koreans are isolated from outside information and fed a steady diet of anti-American propaganda, but that apparently doesn't make the anti-American comments from regime operatives, or citizens with minders standing nearby, unnewsworthy to ABC. ‘There are large gaps in what the world knows about the North Korean leader and his people,’ World News Tonight anchor Elizabeth Vargas noted before asserting that ‘many North Koreans, it seems, have strong opinions about Americans.’ From Pyongyang, Bob Woodruff went aboard the captured USS Pueblo and relayed how the ‘officer who gave us a tour today said the ship's an example of American crimes and another reason Koreans don't like Americans.’ The uniformed woman declared: ‘They invaded to our territory, and they supplied information, so all Koreans were angry.’ Woodruff traveled to a collective farm where found an 11-year-old girl who said of Americans: ‘They killed Korean people.’ Finally, Woodruff went to the ‘Children's Palace’ where ‘5,000 North Korean kids are trained after school in music, art and sports.’ The video showed healthy kids in colorful uniforms playing instruments, painting and dancing." (Full transcript and pictures follow.)

Yesterday, I posted an article here concerning a piece by Jonathan Alter of Newsweek. The inherent hypocrisy of Alter's column generated the following op-ed from me that I wanted to share for those that might be interested:

Here's an interesting item from the Associated Press about former Attorney General Ramsey Clark. As Saddam Hussein walked into the courtroom for the day's proceedings, "most of the defendants and several of the defense lawyers, including Clark, stood up out of respect when Saddam entered."

Quick! Someone buy the man a Valium. Make it a double.

I'm sure most here remember the histrionics in which Shep Smith engaged while reporting from New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina.

Smith was back in high emotional pitch today, shouting, screaming and accusing the government for its shortcomings as detailed in the just-released 9/11 Commission 'report card' on implementation of its national security recommendations.

Presidents poll numbers, heating prices cited while Sawyer urges tax hike.

Less than a month ago, San Francisco Chronicle TV columnist Tim Goodman declared that Keith Olbermann ought to be the future of broadcast network news. This morning, Goodman touts Olbermann (and Oprah, and Jon Stewart) for Dan Rather's old job, opines that Katie Couric-to-CBS "will not change the network news blues," and gives CBS boss Les Moonves a fashion tip. (Speaking of which, a hat tip to Romenesko.)     

ABC News today named Elizabeth Vargas and Bob Woodruff as the anchors of its evening flagship program "World News Tonight."

From the press release:

Saturday's New York Times story from Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "Democrats Sense Chance In Ohio for '06 Elections -- Weakened Republicans Still Hold Edge," is the latest in what amounts to an "occasional series" of Times' stories encouraging Democrats in Ohio.

In an interview with Greg Jarrett on Fox News Live today, Bob Beckel said “I don't know any democrat that called George Bush a liar.” Obviously Beckel needs a refresher:

June 2, 2005 interview with Rolling Stone – Harry Reid – Q: “You’ve called Bush a loser.” Reid: “And a liar.” Q: “You’ve apologized for the loser comment.” Reid: “But never for the liar, have I.”

“I know, Dan, the President’s giving a speech on the economy coming up, but there are people, including Alan Greenspan of the Fed, and also the GAO, the top auditor in the country, who have said with these deficits, these mounting deficits, it is simply hard to look at this economy as anything but on thin ice, no matter what. No new taxes?”

-- Good Morning America's Diane Sawyer to Dan Bartlett, White House counselor, December 5, 2005.

The truce is over. It's war again.

One real moment in the Bozell-Mapes interview on C-SPAN2 was when Mapes said Al Gore's Vietnam record was "a perfectly legitimate story," so Bozell asked, did you do it? "I did not." But she thinks that sometime, somewhere at CBS, somebody did it. Bozell says mmm, no. No investigative piece. You may wonder: how did CBS cover Al Gore's mysteriously brief tenure in Vietnam as a military journalist? I covered that for National Review Online last year.

The Washington Post puts on the top left of its front page Monday reporter Robin Wright's story that "among the Democratic foreign-policy elite...there are stark differences -- and significant vagueness -- about a viable alternative" to ending the Iraq war successfully.

On today's edition of The Chris Matthews Show, liberal panelist and blogger Andrew Sullivan made the argument that "insurgents are legitimate" and the Bush administration wants to make a "deal with them and he wants to bring them into the process". Ironically, the process is liberating the Iraqi citizens from insurgents and various other types of terrorists. Full transcript follows.