How Will NBC10 News Report on the Fattahs?
It was 12:49 p.m. and the big headline on CBS Philly’s website was “PA US Rep Chaka Fattah Indicted in Racketeering Case.” On the ABC 10 website the headline read: “Rep. Chaka Fattah Indicted in Racketeering Case.” The headline on NBC10’s website at the same moment? “Pregnant Women Fear Transportation Trouble During Papal Visit.”
Did someone at NBC10 News decide that the Fattah case (relegated to a “Developing Story” sidebar) was less important than the story about pregnant women? Or were they downplaying the breaking news because their star anchor, Renee Chenault-Fattah, is married to the congressman in question? On the other hand, two hours prior, NBC10 News did tweet the story quite boldly:
— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) July 29, 2015
Shawn Feddeman, vice president of communications for NBC Universal, says the station “will cover this story as we would cover any breaking news story.” A source close to the situation says that Chenault-Fattah is taking a couple of days off and will not be covering the story of her husband’s indictment.
But the story isn’t going to go away — and new reports suggest that Chenault-Fattah herself may be implicated, too. From the Inquirer:
Labeled as “Person E” throughout the 85-page indictment, Chenault-Fattah, who currently anchors the station’s weekday broadcasts at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., is portrayed as a participant in a scheme to falsely report the sale of her 1989 Porsche Carrera convertible to a lobbyist for $18,000.
The Fattahs used the cash to help buy a vacation house in the Poconos, the indictment says, but Chenault-Fattah kept the Porsche — and even renewed its registration and took it to an auto shop months after signing the title over to the lobbyist, Herbert Vederman.
Chenault-Fattah has since said that the Porsche story is not true.
As of 1:40 p.m., NBC 10’s website had the story of Fattah’s indictment as its featured headline. The article, an AP wire story, ends with the sentence, “Congressman Fattah is married to NBC10 News in Philadelphia anchor Renee Chenault-Fattah.” According to the Inquirer, Chenault-Fattah is now “on leave” as per the station’s 4 p.m. newscast. Feddeman says the station has no further comment.
Follow @lspikol on Twitter.