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Special Report

Lack of Local Political Reporting

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Reporters Have No Right, Judge Says

A U.S. District Court Judge has ruled that reporters have no constitutional right to have government officials talk to them. This after the Baltimore Sun sought to reverse an order from Maryland Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich barring state employees from speaking to two of its reporters.

The judge said the Sun was "seeking special access beyond what is granted to the general public," and that Ehrlich was "within the law to deny that special access." The Sun calls the ruling "scary" and "undemocratic," and says it will appeal.

92 Percent Had No Reports

A new study by the University of Southern California shows that in the month before the November elections 92 percent of local evening newscasts didn't report on any local races or political issues, whatsoever. But the study, which examined local newscasts in 11 of the nation's biggest TV markets shows that in the same time a majority of newscasts did report on the presidential race.

What's more, the study says, there was eight times more coverage of accidental injuries, than of local politics. USC Professor Marty Kaplan, who worked on the study says, "if you want to get on local news, it's easier to be in a freak accident than to run for local office."

Bloggers Still After Jordan

Eason Jordan may be out as a CNN executive, but the web loggers are still after him — now attacking him and CNN for allegedly trying to cozy up to North Korea's dictatorial regime. They are backing up their claims with a 1997 report from the Korean news agency, saying then-secretary Kim Jong Il, now the country's dictator, had "received a gift from Eason Jordan, President of the Newsgathering and International Network of the CNN of the United States, who is on a visit to Korea." But there is some corroboration elsewhere.

A Web site on Korea describes a shrine to Kim Jong Il, noting its "Gifts From America" room, and its wall devoted to gifts from CNN. Among the gifts: engraved plaques, a coffee cup, and a logo ashtray. And in 2003, the Australian newspaper The Age described a shrine to Jong Il's predecessor, Kim Il-sung, noting another gift from CNN.

6-Year-Old Questioned

A six-year-old at Matthews elementary school in Sikeston, Missouri, has been questioned by police and given a two-day detention for violating the school's no-tolerance, anti-drug policy. Police, quoted by local KFVS-TV, call her act "serious," and say that had she been older, she would have been arrested and jailed.

So what exactly did the six-year-old do? Why, she found a plastic bag on the ground, filled it with dirt and rocks, and then gave it to a friend as a present during recess. School officials insist it looked like a bag of marijuana, and therefore violated school policy.

— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report