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Murder on their Minds

Reported by Judy - March 16, 2005

John Gibson's The Big Story proved Wednesday (March 16) the truth of the cliche that in TV news, if it bleeds, it leads. Gibson spent almost the entire hour on murder cases, squeezing in only a few minutes about George Bush's third news conference during his second term.

The hour began with a news alert on a jury verdict in the Robert Blake murder trial, then went to almost 20 minutes of discussion of the Scott Peterson death sentence before spending just over three minutes on Bush's news conference.

NPR report Juan Williams, a Fox News contributor, discussed Bush's performance, saying he was "getting better at the podium, as well as Paul Wolfowitz's appointment to the World Bank, and GOP threats to exercise the nuclear option -- eliminating the filibuster in the Senate in order to get Bush's judicial nominees through.

Former GOP Congressman Rick Lazio of New York defended Bush's selection of judges.

The exchange ended there, however, because Fox News went to a news conference in Florida regarding a "person of interest" being sought in the disappearance of nine-year-old Jessica Lunsford. After several minutes of that, Fox News went live to the Robert Blake courtroom and stayed with it for 27 minutes as Blake was acquitted of the murder of his wife and one count of soliciting someone else to murder her. Another charge of solicitation was dismissed after the jury deadlocked 11-1 in favor of acquital.

Such are Fox News' priorities: murders affecting few people other than the victims' immediate families garner the lion's share of time while public matters like Bush's press conference are virtually ignored.

One blessing: Gibson was so focused on murder matters there was no time for his "My Word" segment.

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