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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Scant Fristing

Media Matters:
Since September 19, when Congressional Quarterly quoted a [Senate Majority Leader Bill] Frist aide acknowledging that Frist had ordered the trustee of his blind trust to sell all of his, his wife's, and his children's HCA stock, the Associated Press picked up the story September 20, followed by The New York Times (September 21), The Washington Post (September 22), and the Los Angeles Times (September 24). The AP reported on September 23 that federal prosecutors had served HCA with a subpoena for documents related to the sale of Frist's stock, and officials from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had contacted HCA to informally request the same documents. The AP also reported that Frist's office had been contacted by both the SEC and federal prosecutors.


As of September 26, ABC's World News Tonight has yet to cover the Frist story, although the program devoted broadcast time on September 21 to reporting on model Kate Moss's purported cocaine use. On September 23, World News Tonight featured a segment in which ABC News correspondent Jake Tapper reported from inside a wind tunnel to demonstrate the effects of hurricane-force winds on the human body.

CBS' Evening News gave passing mention to the Frist story on September 23 but did not report the subpoena of HCA documents by federal prosecutors or the informal request for documents by the SEC. CBS also failed to report that Frist's office had been contacted by federal prosecutors and the SEC. NBC's Nightly News also briefly covered the scandal September 23, reporting the prosecutors' subpoena and the SEC's document request, as well as the contact between Frist's office and federal officials. As of September 26, however, none of the networks' nightly news broadcasts has reported that Frist was caught in a lie regarding the extent of his knowledge of his blind trust's contents.
Ask them why: ABC, CBS, NBC

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