Republicans irate about the lack of network TV airtime their national convention garnered two weeks ago vs. what's happening this week for the Democrats today issued a not very veiled warning to the networks. U.S. Rep. Henry Bonilla (R., Texas) at a GOP news conference in Los Angeles said he may request the Federal Election Commission declare the time the networks provided to the Democrats an "in kind'' contribution to the party rather than news coverage. While any such complaint would be extremely unlikely to draw FEC action, Rep. Bonilla said President Clinton's speech Monday "was not a policy speech. It was a political message. If the difference in coverage had been a few minutes here and there, that is acceptable. But if it is so blatant as it has been this far, is it or is it not an in-kind contribution?'' The president's speech was carried live by NBC, which during the Monday session of the GOP convention carried no convention coverage on its broadcast network, taking a pass on carrying the speeches of Laura Bush and Colin Powell. CBS, which carried just 22 minutes of the GOP convention, and ABC, which carried 36 minutes, both broadcast more than an hour of the Democrats Monday. Democratic National Chairman Joe Andrew on Aug. 16 said he believes the networks should spend more time covering conventions.
Copyright August 2000, Crain Communications Inc.