Dole, Michel assail coverage of summit

Two leading Republicans in Congress have criticized CNN, C-SPAN and National Public Radio for their complete coverage of President-elect Bill Clinton’s economic summit on Monday and Tuesday.

Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.) and House Minority Leader Bob Michel (R-Ill.) noted in a letter to the broadcast webs that they allocated 17 hours of coverage to the event–a “staggering commitment of broadcasting time that rivals almost nothing in recent memory.”

The two GOP leaders complained that it was “rarely, if ever, noted on the screen” that the event was “paid for by the Democratic National Committee.”

“The fact remains that no political party has a monopoly on proposals to confront the nation’s challenges,” said Dole and Michel. They asked that the Republicans be allowed to “command the same kind of respect, attention and comprehensive coverage for our own issue-based events in the future.”

C-SPAN senior veepee Susan Swain responded by saying “we were surprised that you would criticize our journalistic integrity by leveling charges of unfairness against us.” She said “if the GOP were to convene a similar public event, you can be assured that C-SPAN would cover it the same way.”

CNN prez Tom Johnson said “We cover major global events solely on their news value. We have covered major events in the Republican administrations of Presidents Bush and Reagan and intend to cover Republican news as the news values justify.”

An NPR spokeswoman said the web had not received the Dole/Michel letter and could not respond.

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