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Trifecta for FNL

Reported by Nancy - November 14, 2005 -

Today (11/14) on FNL, Rick Folbaum anchored the last hour of the program, substituting for Bill Hemmer. Despite a plethora of important national & international news, the bulk of the hour was devoted to a single local/regional story that, not so coincidentally, combined three themes that make FNL deliriously happy: Missing White Girl! Amber Alert! Double Homicide!

The facts of the story could have been handled in two 2-minute blurbs: an Amber Alert had been issued by PA for Kara Beth Borden (age 14) & her boyfriend, David Ludwig (age 18), after he killed her parents & either Ludwig kidnapped Borden & fled with her, or the two teens mutually fled (it was unclear which of those two scenarios had actually happened). They were captured by IN State Police before the hour was over.

Here are the segments FNL devoted to Borden & Ludwig during the last hour of the program:

12:00pm - Folbaum read tops, including: Amber Alert in PA

12:01pm - Rick Leventhal in PA reported the background of the Borden & Ludwig case

12:09pm - ALERT - FNL interrupted an interview with Charles Krauthammer (Fox contributor) & Lally Weymouth (Newsweek) about Bush's trip to Asia to go live to a police press conference about the Amber Alert in PA, but it had just ended

12:11pm - ALERT - FNL played tape of the PA police press conf, then Folbaum recapped

12:16pm - ALERT - for "breaking news" on the Amber Alert in PA, then Folbum & Leventhal both repeated the info from the police press conf

12:20pm - teaser: Amber Alert in PA

12:23pm - Folbaum repeated the most recent info about Borden & Ludwig & interviewed Rod Wheeler (former DC homicide investigator)

12:34pm - Folbaum read top stories for next half-hour, including: Borden & Luudwig

12:38pm - ALERT - Folbaum repeated the most recent info about Borden & Ludwig, then replayed the earlier police press conf, then repeated the most recent info again

12:43pm - ALERT - FNL interrupted a fairly interesting report from William La Jeunesse (about whether antiquities in many museums are "looted" or "acquired") for "breaking news" that the IN state police have captured Borden & Ludwig, then Folbaum repeated the earlier info about the case

12:46pm - Folbaum discussed the Borden & Ludwig case by phone with Brett Lovelace (police reporter for the "Intelligencer-Journal")

12:48pm - FNL went live to a police press conf in Lancaster PA to confirm that Borden & Ludwig were in the custody of the IN State Police

12:52pm - Folbaum said that "14-year-old Kara Borden is okay" & David Ludwig "finds himself in a whole lot of trouble" then recapped the police press conf

12:54pm - Folbaum & Lovelace discussed the case some more

12:55pm - Leventhal repeated info on Borden & Ludwig, adding a few new bits (e.g., "Kara Beth is in handcuffs")

12:58pm - Folbaum interviewed Wheeler again about Borden & Ludwig

Comments: Local news trumps national & international news -- again -- if it can be used to play on viewers' emotions (in this case: fear, fear & more fear).

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (FNL tactics as illustrated above). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.