The Nightly O.J. Obsession

“CBS Evening News With Dan Rather and Connie Chung” and “NBC Nightly News With Tom Brokaw” squeezed every drop of news they could out of the 0 J . Simpson saga, making it the No. 1 story for 1994, according to the Tyndall Report, a newsletter that monitors the network flagship newscasts.

The top five stories, in order, were OJ., Bosnia, Haiti, Healthcare and Whitewater (see chart, page 4).

But on “ABC World News Tonight With Peter Jennings,” O.J . didn’t even make the Top Three. “World News’ clearly took the high road. (ABC) knows that its franchise is upmarket and that is a big part of the reason it’s No. 1 in the ratings,” says Andrew Tyndall, publisher of the report, noting that the Jennings newscast spent 50% less time than CBS on O.J . and 25% less than NBC. “The biggest stories for ABC were Haiti, Bosnia and healthcare.” Tyndall also notes that “CBS Evening News,” whose network carried the Winter Olympics, spent 25% more time than its competition on the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan imbroglio. In part, the CBS obsession with Skategate was driven by Chung’s exclusive Tonya interview.

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