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Are NBC and CBS taking a competitive swipe at an ABC affiliate?

This morning, CBS’ “The Early Show” and NBC’s “Today” show produced stories on the criminal case against¬† Heidi Jones, a weathercaster on WABC, ABC’s flagship O&O and the dominant news station in New York.

Jones, who does weekend weather for WABC and has filled in on “Good Morning America”, is accused of filing a false police report. She told the NYPD that someone tried to rape her as she was jogging in Central Park. Jones, who is a marathon runner and hosts a website called Run With Heidi, has been suspended and is facing misdemeanor charges. WABC reported the news on its Noon and 5pm newscasts Wednesday and the story is on their website.

WCBS-TV in New York aired stories on their Noon, 5, 6 and 11pm newscasts yesterday. Then this morning, “The Early Show” produced a package on the case which set up a segment during which Harry Smith talked with psychologist Jennifer Hartstein and CBS News legal analyst (and former NBC, ABC and CourtTV anchor) Jack Ford.

NBC News sent reporter Mike Taibbi to Central Park to front the story at 7:30amET and again at 9am on “Today.” Then anchor Meredith Vieira talked about it with psychiatrist Gail Saltz.

Were CBS and NBC really trying to shed light on this story, or just take a shot at a strong, local competitor? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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