COMMENTS: Bronx Zoo Cheerleading for Congo’s Gorillas

This dog day of summer made King Kong its Story of the Day. For the second straight day, features, not breaking news, qualified as the most heavily covered tale. None of the networks led with nature pix of a hidden habitat for the western lowland gorilla. No network correspondent was lucky enough to land a trip to the Green Abyss rainforest of the Congolese Republic where tens of thousands of the apes live unmolested by humans. The dateline for each, instead, was the Bronx Zoo. Yet their discovery by the Wildlife Conservation Society was more newsworthy than the stories that led each newscast: tornadoes in Chicagoland on ABC; prostate cancer screening advice on NBC; and the plummeting price of crude oil on CBS.

The conservationists have not actually seen the 125,000 gorillas that they say live in Congo. Ned Potter explained on ABC's A Closer Look that their census consisted of counting their sleeping nests, beds made of leaves and branches. On NBC's In Depth, Anne Thompson explained that the Bronx Zoo's green scientists were publicizing their discovery to spread the message of "the power of preservation--protecting the land, the trees and the entire habitat these critically endangered animals need to survive." To get that message out, they supplied adorable images of frolicking apes in the tall grass, which CBS' Daniel Sieberg and Potter and Thompson each, pliantly, aired.


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