Networks Skip (D) for Blagojevich as Scandal-Plagued Governor Ousted

January 30th, 2009 12:12 PM

Seven weeks after his arrest for allegedly attempting to peddle Barack Obama’s Senate seat, Rod Blagojevich was removed as governor of Illinois on Thursday. ABC, CBS and NBC all offered full reports last night and this morning, but none of the anchors or reporters provided any hint that Blagojevich was a Democrat.

Back on December 9, reporting on the then-governor’s arrest, NewsBusters noted how all three of the evening newscasts had properly referred to Blagojevich as a Democrat. NBC reporter Lee Cowan described the charge as “that the two-term Democratic Governor tried to sell a seat in the US Senate to the highest bidder,” while ABC’s Brian Ross stated that “the boyish-looking Democrat branded a greedy, foul mouth politician who tried to sell a US Senate seat to the highest bidder.”

But now that the scandal was ending Blagojevich’s political career (he’s now banned from ever serving in public office in Illinois), the networks have dropped the (D) from the story. A round-up of some of the coverage, starting with Thursday’s evening newscasts:

# ABC’s World News:

CHARLES GIBSON: Rod Blagojevich is no longer the governor of Illinois. He was ousted from office late today after being convicted by the state senate. Hours before the vote, Blagojevich made a plea to senators trying to save his job. It didn't work. The vote to oust him: 59-nothing.

# CBS Evening News:

KATIE COURIC: And one more job loss to report. The Illinois senate today removed Governor Rod Blagojevich; the vote was 59 to nothing. Blagojevich, only the eighth U.S. governor to be impeached and thrown out is now banned from ever again holding public office in Illinois.

# NBC Nightly News:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: You may be hearing the name Blagojevich a lot less often starting tonight. We go now to Illinois where the state senate removed Governor Rod Blagojevich from office late today, just hours after he made a dramatic, eleventh-hour appeal to save his job. Apparently no one was moved by his remarks; the vote to oust him was 59 to nothing.

Now, Friday morning’s network shows:

# ABC’s Good Morning America:

KATE SNOW: To directly quote one Illinois lawmaker, “the freak show is over.” Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been removed from office after being accused of trying to sell President Obama's old Senate seat. So, what is next for Rod Blagojevich? ABC's Chris Bury is in Springfield, Illinois this morning.
CHRIS BURY: Good morning, Kate. The office here has a new occupant. Rod Blagojevich is a private citizen, stripped of power and banned from ever holding office again in Illinois. State senators outraged he'd forsaken the impeachment trial for publicity blitz, voted 59-0 to convict him.

# CBS’s The Early Show:

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: This morning a new governor is in charge in Illinois. Former Governor Rod Blagojevich was thrown out of office last night by a unanimous vote in the state senate. CBS News correspondent Cynthia Bowers reports.

# NBC’s Today, 7am half-hour:

MATT LAUER: Let's turn now to the big political story in Illinois, where Rod Blagojevich is out of a job this morning despite a last-minute appearance at his impeachment trial. The Illinois state senate voted unanimously to kick the governor out of office.

# NBC’s Today, 8am half-hour:

ANN CURRY: Illinois has a new governor today now that in the words of one state lawmaker, quote, "the freak show is over." Despite a last-minute impassioned plea in the state senate, Rod Blagojevich was thrown out of office last night on a unanimous vote. The Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn was immediately sworn in. Blagojevich now faces a federal corruption probe but vows to clear his name.