NEW YORK — AIDS activists rushed onto the sets of the "CBS Evening News with Dan Rather" and PBS's "MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour" Tuesday night, disrupting the live broadcasts with their protests about the lack of news coverage of AIDS during the Persian Gulf War.
Shortly after 6:30 p.m. EST, as Rather was beginning the CBS evening newscast, one protester jumped in front of the camera, shouting, "Fight AIDS, not Arabs!" The camera shifted off Rather and then momentarily went black. Rather mentioned the incident on the air later, saying: "I want to apologize to you for the way the broadcast came on the air tonight. There were some rude people here tonight. They've been ejected from the studio--our apology." CBS officials would not comment on how the small group of protesters had gained access to the studio.
At about the same time, seven protesters got into the "MacNeil/Lehrer" studios in New York. "Three of them chained themselves to the news anchor desk and one of them attempted to chain themselves to Robert MacNeil," a spokesperson for the PBS program said. Notified of the disturbance by the show's director, co-anchor Jim Lehrer in Washington, D.C., extended an interview with a guest. The protesters were not seen during the broadcast.