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What's Up with Nightline?
By Eric Boehlert
USA Today this week labeled Cindy Sheehan's Crawford protest "a headline-grabbing national movement." And the paper was right. Last night, all across the country thousands of people gathered for candlelight vigils in honor of Sheehan and her son, Casey, who died in Iraq. And yes, Sheehan's gotten more press (especially ink) than anyone could have possibly imagined. So why hasn't Nightline covered the story?
It's been unfolding for nearly two weeks, but to date the late-night ABC news giant has ignored the burgeoning anti-war event.
The omission is telling. Because despite the uptick in TV coverage in recent days, the Sheehan story still has not crossed over into phenomenon territory for most television producers, and certainly not at network news. For instance, over the last ten days ABC News -- all of its programming --has mentioned "Cindy Sheehan" just 26 times, according to TVEyes, the 24/7 broadcast monitoring service.
Compare that to the springtime news craze when Terri Schiavo's parents staged a very public, and political, vigil for their daughter. That story, cherished by conservatives, dominated the networks night after night. During the peak ten-day period of that saga, from March 20 to March 30, here's how many times ABC mentioned "Terri Schiavo": 189. (Nightline devoted four programs to the story.)
Word is Nightline has a producer in Crawford and has tentatively scheduled a segment to air Friday night. Better late than never, I suppose.