Tom Daschle and Dick Gephardt are so unhappy with cable news that they've written a letter to the heads of the networks — Fox, and the other two that you may have heard of...

Daschle and Gephardt were writing to complain that they weren't getting enough coverage of Democratic issues, even though they were constantly calling news conferences and standing in front of cameras.

Instead, they said, the cable networks were going to White House events, briefings by the president, the press secretary, the defense secretary, the attorney general, everybody who can be reached through the White House switchboard... but nobody from the earnest party out of power: the Democrats.

"While some of this is clearly — and rightfully — attributable to the war on terrorism, the attached analysis shows that your networks have often chosen to cover live White House events that focus on domestic issues, while live events by Democratic leaders that focus on the war on terrorism still go uncovered."

Daschle and Gephardt say that they have discovered that CNN had a tilt toward the White House of 157 events by the Bushies, and only seven by the Dems. They said the same situation existed on this network and the other one.

So what's this all about?

It's all about the elections coming up. It's about the re-emergence of Al Gore. It's about the new guys some Dems want to run against Bush for president. It's about closing the coverage gap, a yawning coverage gap that has opened up since the president has taken up the cudgel against terrorism.

The pitch the Democrats want on TV goes like this: the president is engaged in a righteous war, but we can do it better.

This is a tough sell to the TV titans because the president is the commander in chief, so when he says war, there is war.

When the Democratic leadership says... whatever... it just doesn't have the same weight.

So Daschle and Gephardt have to get out there and bug the networks, because they need that coverage to materialize for their candidates when the right time comes.

That time is coming and they will get their coverage, but for now... for the party out of power, war is hell.

That's My Word.

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