Democracy Now! March 7, 2002

Program Title:
Democracy Now! March 7, 2002
Series Title:
PRA Archive #: 

Hundreds of poor people storm the headquarters of the Heritage Foundation and demand that one of the countrys leading conservatives take a walk in povertys shoes. Disneys stocks rise as Ted Koppel fights for Nightlines survival on Disneys ABC, threatened by a possible Letterman takeover.

9:01-9:06 HEADLINES 9:06-9:07 ONE-MINUTE MUSIC BREAK 9:07-9:20 ENTERTAINMENT TAKES OVER THE NETWORK NEWS: DISNEYS STOCKS RISE AS TED KOPPEL FIGHTS FOR NIGHTLINES SURVIVAL ON DISNEYS ABC, THREATENED BY A POSSIBLE LETTERMAN TAKEOVER A media ruckus is unfolding at ABC News, as senior anchors confront rumors of their undoing by Disney executives said to favor entertainment value over old-school news. Disney, which owns ABC, apparently wants to replace Ted Koppels Nightline with the more lucrative The Letterman Show, CBS late night comedy show. Koppels Nightline has ruled the 11:30 p.m. time slot on ABC since it went on the air 1979. But the message from the networks is that prime time news has been trounced by 24-hour cable news channels. On Friday, the New York Times reported that an anonymous ABC executive said ABC's late-night news show had lost "relevancy" and ABC hoped to lure CBS late-night host David Letterman and his advertising revenue into the slot. Two days ago, USA Today claimed that ABC hosts Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts would be replaced by Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos in an effort to woo a younger audience. Even as ABC denied the claims, Roberts confirmed she will leave as co-anchor in the fall. When Disney bought ABC in 1995, commentators immediately began to suggest that TV news would change as outmoded network news was sacrificed "for more-profitable entertainment." Last year, Disney briefly replaced Barbara Walters' 20/20 with the weepy drama "Once and Again" until ABC news stars insisted it be brought back. But "Nightline," more than any other ABC show, has seemed sacrosanct to the network. It has consistently drawn an audience rivaling late night comedy shows, but the audience is getting old--the average viewer is now 51. Letterman's show, with a much younger demographic, draws nets about $175 million for CBS. The Associated Press reported today that CBS has offered Letterman a salary of $31.5 million to stay on board. But not all commentary is focused on the loss of a great news program Christopher Hitchens wrote in the Guardian this week, Nightline was chiefly a megaphone for the most establishment pundits and "terrorism expert" pseudo-academics. An incredibly narrow range of opinion, all the way from right to centre-right, was canvassed on the show. Today, we are going to discuss corporate network news and entertainment. GUEST: ALEXANDER COCKBURN, editor of Counterpunch newsletter and columnist for the Nation magazine CONTACT: GUEST: AL HUNT, executive Washington editor of the Wall Street Journal and a panelist on CNN's The Capital Gang for 11 years. He is currently on a train heading to New York for a special broadcast of his program called From Beltway to Broadway CONTACT: LINKS:,, 9:30-9:31 MUSIC BREAK 9:31-9:58 STOPPING THE WAR ON THE POOR: AFTER HUNDREDS STORM THE CONSERVATIVE HERITAGE FOUNDATION, ONE OF THE COUBTRYS LEADING CONSERVATIVES AGREES TO WALK IN POVERTYS SHOES As Democracy Now! reported yesterday, hundreds of poor people from across the country occupied the Washington-based headquarters of the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday. In a surprise action, the group rushed past security, down hallways, and toward the reception desk, where they demanded to meet with welfare policy analyst, Robert Rector. The group said that they would not leave the building until Rector and his colleague, Jason Turner, agreed to spend two days visiting poor neighborhoods and walking in povertys shoes. Rector is a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a self-described conservative think tank. His work on welfare reform specifically marriage promotion and work requirements has been extremely influential and is echoed throughout the Presidents welfare plan. Yesterdays action at t he Heritage Foundation capped off a day of marches, rallies, and protests organized by the National Campaign for Jobs and Income Support. The Campaign is a national movement of grassroots organizations that have come together around the upcoming reauthorization of the 1996 welfare reform act. Other actions on Tuesday included a take-over of the Democratic Leadership Council and a rally in front of the Health & Human Services Corporation. VIDEO PACKAGE: THE STORMING OF THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION GUEST: DEEPAK BHARGAVA, director of the National Campaign for Jobs and Income Support CONTACT:, GUEST: ROBERT RECTOR, senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation CONTACT: Special thanks to Ingrid Patetta, Mint Leaf Productions, and Community Voices Heard for the video footage of Tuesdays protest. CONTACT:, 9:58-9:59 OUTRO AND CREDITS

Date Recorded on: 
March 7, 2002
Date Broadcast on: 
March 7, 2002
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WPFW; Amy Goodman, host. March 7, 2002
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