The ‘Vital News Story’ That Wasn’t

Brad Jacobson comments (Media Bloodhound, 2/12/09) on the fact that amid all the dubious stimulus bill coverage, the New Yorker‘s Lawrence Wright appeared on NPR to discuss the fact that he “reported last year that he knew the Bush administration had been spying on him.” Noting that “the statements of NSA whistleblower Russell Tice and New York Times reporter James Risen” back up Wright’s contention, Jacobson quotes the NPR host saying she’s “a little surprised that there was so little coverage and less outrage over Tice’s allegation”–at least outside non-corporate media. Jacobson says that

you might think Tice’s bombshell appearance would precede a flurry of news coverage, of Tice popping up across the airwaves, from morning news shows to nightly news lead stories to the front pages of our most respected newspapers.

Yet according to a LexisNexis search performed by MediaBloodhound, no broadcast network nightly news programs reported Tice’s allegations (including, oddly enough, NBC Nightly News) in the following days after Tice’s appearance or in the three weeks since. CNN and PBS NewsHour also failed to find his revelations newsworthy. The New York Times, Risen’s own paper, the one that broke the NSA’s illegal wiretapping story? Nothing. Not a single story reporting Tice’s allegations.

While Risen could still have a report in the works, Jacobson asserts that “Tice’s statements demanded to be reported in our nation’s paper of record just as a vital wire news story, not reported by Times journalists, makes its way into Times‘ pages.”