Network Rivalry

Network rivalry: that is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo."

All of us here at FOX News send prayers and best wishes to the families of Bob Woodruff and Doug Vogt. As you may know, the ABC News anchor and photographer were badly injured by a bomb in Iraq over the weekend. Both are expected to recover.

Covering any kind of foreign conflict is chaotic and dangerous. And it's a miracle more journalists aren't killed or hurt. All Americans share the highest respect for press people, who literally put their lives on the line to bring us information.

There is a code among most in TV news, a respect in professional courtesy. Thus when guys like Woodruff and Vogt get hurt, the industry stands together.

We're all competing, but ethics dictate that standards of behavior should be met. FOX News has good relationships with ABC News, CBS News and generally CNN, also with most local news operations across the country.

But "Talking Points" is troubled by the behavior of NBC, which cheap shots FOX News on a regular basis and has been doing so for some time.

It is only a few people doing this, but NBC President Robert Wright allows it to happen. Wright knows exactly what's going on, because he's been made aware of it.

Now we understand that NBC has major problems. Its prime time programming is dead last. Its cable operations are ratings failures. And the network may lose Katie Couric to CBS, but that is no excuse for unprofessional behavior.

Consistently cheap shotting a competitor is beneath the fine standards that NBC has set in the past. Robert Wright would be wise to understand that.

There is no question the amazing success of FOX News has affected all TV news operations, but CNN, for example, usually competes with class, not bitterness. Likewise, we respect ABC and CBS for their work ethic and competitive zeal.

But there's something very wrong at NBC. And if it continues, "Talking Points" will go into greater detail about the problems besetting that network. We hope Robert Wright will right the situation and believe he has the power to do it.

But perhaps we're wrong about Wright. Maybe he's out of the loop or maybe he just doesn't care. Well, he should care. We'll let you know what happens.

And that's "The Memo."

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

A "Rally for Justice" in St. Albans, Vermont, drew about 200 people on Saturday, many of them protesting the lenient sentence Judge Edward Cashman gave a man who raped a 6-year-old over a four-year period.

Few Vermont politicians turned out, as we predicted. And the mayor of the town actually stuck up for Cashman. The situation in the Green Mountain State continues to be very disturbing.

Vermont now has a chance to pass Jessica's Law. We will track that story along with the trial of another man accused of raping the same little girl. Ridiculous? You make the call.

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