Jan
15
1999

Broadcast Outlets Ignore Majority Leader's Public Scandal

CNN, New York Times Cover The Story, but Network News Outlets Still Silent on Lott's Racist Connections

Following a series of FAIR press releases and syndicated columnists covering Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott's associations with the CCC (Council of Conservative Citizens), CNN's Inside Politics presented a thorough summary of the scandal on January 13.

The very next day, the New York Times' John Kifner focuses considerable attention on Lott's lies about his connections to, and knowledge of, the CCC ("Lott, and Shadow of a Pro-White Group."). Kifner was interviewed by MSNBC as well.

Lott's record is clear: He has misled the public, and the media, through his spokesman. When reporters raised questions about Sen. Lott's ties to the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), Lott's press secretary, John Czwartacki, told the L.A. Times (12/13/98) that Lott "vaguely" remembered speaking to the group "over a decade ago" before he was a senator. He added that Lott "doesn't consider himself a member. Nor does he have first-hand familiarity or knowledge of their views."

Here's what's known:

1997: Lott holds a private meeting with the CCC in his D.C. office.

1997: Lott endorsement of the CCC is circulated in the group's literature.

1995: Lott addresses the Mississippi chapter of the CCC

1992: Lott praises the group as keynote speaker at the CCC's national convention.

1991: Lott addresses the Mississippi chapter of the CCC.

1989: Lott appears in CCC publication Citizens Informer with his uncle, a CCC executive, and cousin, a member.

1990-1998: The Citizens Informer publishes Senator Lott's column.

Though Lott now repudiates the CCC, serious questions remain unanswered. Given his prominent role in the impeachment hearings, Lott will undoubtedly be fielding questions from the news media. Those pursuing questions of the hypocrisy of elected officials should question Lott about his own past, especially given his evasiveness on the issue.

ACTION: Broadcast news outlets have a responsibility to cover this story. Recent reports from the New York Times, Washington Post (12/12, 12/16 & 12/19/98) and CNN are available.

CONTACT:

ABC World News Tonight With Peter Jennings

Phone: 212-456-4040

netaudr@abc.com

CBS Evening News With Dan Rather

Phone: 212-975-3691

NBC Nightly News With Tom Brokaw

Phone: 212-664-4971

nightly@nbc.com