COMMENTS: Denver Convention Pips Beijing Olympics

En route to Beijing to see the Olympic Games, the First Sports Fan dispensed with the geopolitics of relations with the People's Republic of China before he arrived. CBS and NBC both had their traveling White House correspondents lead off their newscasts President George Bush's speech in Bangkok exhorting the Communist regime to improve human rights. NBC's anchor Brian Williams was already in Beijing, where his network's sports division was gearing up for maximum coverage. CBS used substitute anchor Russ Mitchell. Yet the current President did not qualify as Story of the Day. ABC's lead did instead--the jockeying for position between former rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton over the agenda for the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

ABC's John Berman seized on a YouTube video of Rodham Clinton envisioning a "catharsis" in Denver as a hint that she may call for a roll-call vote before she concedes the nomination thus undercutting the party's image of unity. NBC's Andrea Mitchell picked up on the Aristotelian phrase to contrast Obama's attempt "to avoid theatrics" with Rodham Clinton's "struggle as Greek drama." ABC's in-house political consultant Donna Brazile, who also happens to be a Denver superdelegate, undercut the network's decision to find headlines in the dispute: "There is really no division right now," she assured anchor Charles Gibson. CBS merely mentioned the pre-convention negotiations in passing.


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