-By Warner Todd Huston
A survey of news coverage by the big three networks of the indictment of former Chicago Democrat Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. was sparse to non-existent for the first three days after the indictment was made public. Even when his trouble was reported, the fact that he is a Democrat went unmentioned.
Jackson was indicted on Friday, February 15, but as Friday, then the weekend rolled on, the big three networks didn’t seem much interested in covering the story. In fact, a survey of the coverage found that the big nets gave the story scant attention that Friday and, while there were a few ultra short reports on the indictment on Saturday, there was no coverage at all on Sunday.
On Friday, for instance, NBC’s Nightly News gave the story short attention. By Saturday, Good Morning America gave the story a whole 18 seconds. Worse, even when the network news shows did report the story on Saturday evening, Jackson’s party affiliation was never mentioned.
Interestingly, not one of the Sunday morning politics shows mentioned the indictment at all.
Democrat Jesse Jackson, Jr., the son of famed Operation Push chief and civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, was elected to Congress in 1995 to represent Illinois’ Second Congressional District but by 2009 the young Congressman’s world began to fall apart with rumors of corruption. Jackson was first linked to the later convicted ex-Governor of Illinois, Rob Blagojevich.
In 2009 Jackson came under a cloud suspected of trying to buy the Senate seat that Gov. Blagojevich had to fill when Barack Obama vacated that seat to become President. The Congressman also became involved in a sex scandal at that same time. And as whiffs of the indictments to come began to mount, Jackson suddenly went into a doctor’s care announcing that he had a bipolar disorder. Finally, on February 15, Jackson was indicted on misuse of campaign funds.
The indictment detailed some of the fraudulently spent campaign cash showing that Jackson wasted some $750,000 on fur coats and music and Hollywood memorabilia from famed martial artist Bruce Lee, singer Michael Jackson, and others.