In just two days, the three network morning and evening shows deluged viewers with over 25 minutes of coverage (17 stories) on the indictment of Texas Governor Rick Perry. These programs made sure to speculate as to whether the controversy could “end any chance” for the Republican in 2016. The indictment came after Perry lobbied for Texas District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to resign after her drunk driving conviction. From Saturday morning through Monday morning, CBS offered the most amount of coverage, five stories over nine minutes and 14 seconds. Over the same period, ABC produced six segments (or eight minutes and 48 seconds). NBC delivered six segments for of seven minutes and 37 seconds.
In the wake of the “big three” networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) devoting 25 minutes to the indictment of Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) in the story’s first two days, ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer continued the network obsession with the potential 2016 presidential candidate. On Monday, August 18, anchor Diane Sawyer introduced a report on Perry by proclaiming “back here at home to Texas and a kind of high noon for Texas Governor Rick Perry facing indictment, but defiant again today.” Jim Avila did his best to discredit the governor’s argument: “Perry’s defense team played the tape again for reporters today and on radio late this afternoon the governor vowed to expose what he calls a political farce despite the fact that both the judge who appointed the special prosecutor and the special prosecutor himself are Bush appointed Republicans.”
On Monday’s Morning Joe on MSNBC, MSNBC contributor and Managing Editor of Bloomberg Politics Mark Halperin slammed the indictment of Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) by an Austin, Texas-area grand jury for threatening to veto funding for a Democratic District Attorney’s public integrity unit after she was convicted of a DUI as “the stupidest thing I’ve seen, I think, in my entire career.” Expanding further on his opinion, Halperin added: “I hope some judge throws it out right away. It’s not just kind of funny and ridiculous, but it’s an infringement on individual liberty. He’s got a First Amendment right just cause he’s governor of Texas and I think it’s – like you said, it’s easy to joke about this, but this is a serious thing. It is ridiculous that he was indicted for this. Ridiculous.”
On Sunday’s Reliable Sources on CNN, Dr. Gail Saltz blasted Fox News contributor Dr. Keith Ablow for his jab at Michelle Obama’s weight: “To be criticizing people, kind of, willy-nilly is – I don’t think meets the Hippocratic Oath.” She played up how Dr. Ablow previously hinted that Vice President Biden might have dementia, and claimed that the psychiatrist violated “American psychiatric guidelines, which is not to diagnose someone that you have never met.”