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Special Report

Does Coverage of Kerry Comments Reveal a Bias in the Media?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Not Headline News?

The John Kerry flap may have been the major political story yesterday, but you might not have known that from the newspaper coverage. Not a single front-page headline in The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal or USA Today. The Times cast it as a chance for the President to attack Kerry. Not until the 15th paragraph, on page 18, does a reader learn what Kerry actually said. The Washington Post put the whole story on page 8.

Both the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal put the Kerry flap on a par with the incident in which some of Virginia GOP Senator George Allen's supporters roughed up a heckler after an Allen event. And on ABC News, the Kerry flap was described as "an object lesson in how in this day and age an idle political remark gets seized upon."

Meanwhile the non-partisan Center for Media and Public Affairs has analyzed stories about the elections during the seven weeks since Labor Day on the evening newscasts of the three broadcast networks. It reports 77 percent of on-air evaluations of Democratic candidates and members of Congress were positive — and 88 percent of the references to Republicans were negative. The study says there were 167 election stories during that time — compared to just 35 during the same period in 2002.

And the ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin says well over 70 percent of the people working on his network's political coverage are liberal, and would vote Democratic. Halperin tells radio host Hugh Hewitt that the preponderance of liberal thought in media organizations is an endemic problem. And he says it is why, "for 40 years conservatives have rightly felt that we did not give them a fair shake."

"Anglo-Saxon" Vision

The French are not happy with the current choices of International News Networks — and are suggesting there could be some cultural and racial bias in their coverage — so they are starting their own 24-hour news channel. "France 24" will begin broadcasting in English and French in December.

The head of the network says the French have become "skeptical of the world vision offered by the Anglo-Saxons like BBC World and CNN International." He says his network will be based on French values — but he did not say what those values were.

Trailers Trashed

And the folks at FEMA have a message for hurricane survivors using their trailers — stop beating them up. The Houston Chronicle reports that of the 3,000 trailers still in use — that were loaned to people without charge – 1,200 have suffered so much vandalism they had to be sent to repair centers.

FEMA says some of the trailers used by victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita have been transformed into illegal drug labs. Another was hauled off and sold. And one man even took his into the woods to use as a base while deer hunting.

Despite all this, FEMA says only five people have been kicked out of their trailers for misusing them.

—FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.