ABC Finally Catches Up with Democratic Scandals; Flashback: 152 Stories on Foley

ABC's World News on Friday night finally caught up with burgeoning Democratic scandals, though hardly showing the same zeal as when the networks incessantly focused on Republican Congressman Mark Foley back in 2006. On Thursday, the MRC's Scott Whitlock documented how this week the ABC evening newscast had "devoted almost six times as much coverage to Senator Jim Bunning and his temporary hold-up of an unemployment bill as the program did for the ongoing revelations that Democratic Charlie Rangel violated House ethics with his trips to the Caribbean [38 seconds]."

Anchor Diane Sawyer set up the Friday night (March 5) story:

And in political Washington tonight, Democrats on Capitol Hill capping a bad week have to be saying thank heaven this is Friday. The latest: Democratic Congressman Eric Massa, from upstate New York, announced he's quitting his seat under a cloud of harassment allegations. What does this mean for the Democratic Party and the future? Here's Jon Karl.

Karl showed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's promise of the "most ethical Congress in history" and that she would "drain the swamp" as he highlighted Rangel and the announcement Massa, accused of "sexually harassing two male aides," will resign. Karl recalled:

Democrats rode into power by targeting Republican corruption, and there was lots of it: The Mark Foley sex scandal involving under-age pages and lobbying scandals that landed two Republican Congressmen in jail.

Yet while the allegations against Massa of inappropriate same-sex harassment parallel those against Foley toward subordinates, Massa has barely made a blip on TV: A short item read by NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams on Friday night (and a passing reference on Today) while ABC and CBS included him in larger Friday night stories.

Back in 2006, however, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening and morning shows dedicated 152 stories to Foley over two weeks, as documented in the MRC's October 11, 2006 Media Reality Check by Tim Graham: "Foley Feeding Frenzy; Nets Air 150+ Stories: ABC, CBS, NBC Sound Like Perpetual Motion Machine Manufacturing 'Foley Fallout' Against GOP."

On Friday night, the CBS Evening News also ran a full story on ethics issues with Democrats, as Katie Couric introduced the piece:

To politics now and a Congressman who's giving up his job. Eric Massa from western New York state acknowledged today he acted inappropriately with a male staffer and said he's leaving with quote, 'a profound sense of failure.' Congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes tells us this caps what's been a very bad week for Democrats.

- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.