CyberAlert -- 05/21/1998 -- CBS Finally Takes China Connection Seriously, But Not NBC
CBS Finally Takes China Connection Seriously, But Not NBC
>>> "Networks, News Magazines Slow to Note Chinese Contributions, Improvements to Chinese Missiles: Take the Money and Duck," the latest Media Reality Check fax report is now up at the top of the MRC home page. The MRC's Tim Graham found that though the New York Times story about Chung appeared the same day that Frank Sinatra died, this week's Time magazine featured eight pages on Sinatra, but nothing on the China connection. U.S. News & World Report carried 11 pages analyzing the drop in the crime rate, three pages on Sinatra, and four on India. They offered nothing on China, but devoted a page to reporters Julian Barnes and Marianne Lavelle breaking down Ken Starr's expenses, titled "Where did all the Starr-bucks go?" The July 21, 1997 U.S. News, Graham recalled, carried a story titled "Is the latest Red Peril actually a red herring?" The direct address for the fax report: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/1998/fax0521.htm <<<
Wednesday morning, May 20, ABC's Good Morning America gave a few seconds to Gingrich's plan to create a special committee to look at the China connection, but NBC's Today, for the fourth straight weekday, ignored China. During the 7am and 8am news updates ABC's Antonio Mora read a 13-second item on Gingrich's plan, observed MRC news analyst Clay Waters.
Today skipped Gingrich, devoting the 7am half hour features to an interview about the satellite/pager problem, a story on Powerball and a discussion with Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin about the new $20 bill. That means that through Wednesday morning, Today on weekdays and Sunday, has yet to utter a syllable about the China connection. Nothing last Friday, the day the Johnny Chung angle broke in the New York Times, nor Sunday, Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.
On Sunday's Meet the Press, however, Tim Russert declared the allegations, of Democrats receiving Chinese military money, "devastating." NBC's New York producers must not have any respect for the opinion of their Washington Bureau Chief and Vice President. (Even NBC Nightly News has yet to air a full story. See item #2 below.)
The China connection finally received some significant broadcast network coverage Wednesday night as ABC ran two pieces and CBS one. NBC ran a brief 24 second item read by anchor Tom Brokaw, putting the six night total time devoted by NBC Nightly News to the China connection, from last Friday through Wednesday night, at a mere 62 seconds.
All three broadcast networks and FNC led Wednesday night with the broken satellite which disrupted pager services. (CNN did not air an ET/CT prime time newscast, running a Frank Sinatra special at 8pm ET, carrying live coverage of Suharto's resignation from 10 to 10:30pm ET and then a special in Internet photography at 10:30pm ET.)
Here are some highlights from the Wednesday night, May 20, evening news shows:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight went to the China issue right after the pager outage,
spending four minutes and ten seconds on the matter.
observed: "This time the President's much vaunted rapid response
team has not been so quick to challenge the accusations."
From the White
House Sam Donaldson asserted: "Peter, it's a serious allegation,
one White House officials know they can't dismiss as purely partisan
politics, even though the President's critics on Capitol Hill are having
a field day pointing with alarm." Donaldson explained the House and
Senate plans for special committees and noted that Mike McCurry denied
Chinese money had any impact.
-- CBS Evening News ran its first full report on the China matter. (Before May 20 CBS had allocated just 45 seconds over five nights: 27 seconds on May 15 and 18 seconds on May 19. Zero on May 16, 17 and 18.)
Halfway into the
show Dan Rather introduced a piece from Phil Jones by mentioning the House
vote on technology. Jones began on a melodramatic note:
-- FNC's 7pm ET Fox Report. Carl Cameron offered some ominous information not mentioned by the other networks. He began: "Pentagon staffers tell Fox News their objections to the President's plan to let American aerospace firms like Loral Space Systems launch satellites into orbit on top of Chinese rockets were ignored. Confidential documents obtained by Fox News indicate that in May of 1997 the Department of Defense's Defense Technology Security Administration concluded that Loral, quote, 'had transferred missile expertise to China that significantly enhanced the reliability of it nuclear ballistic missiles.'"
Cameron also uniquely relayed that "after the crash, government sources say, they found an additional reason for concern. Most of the satellite was recovered, but top secret micro-computer chips were never found that could conceivably be used to de-code secret U.S. communications and even potentially control U.S. satellites if the chips fell into the wrong hands...."
-- NBC Nightly
News continued to treat the China connection as a minor issue hardly worth
mentioning, never mind explaining the background of to viewers. After
stories on the pager outage, Powerball and Suharto's status, Tom Brokaw
took 24 seconds to announce:
That 24 seconds puts the total NBC Nightly News time devoted to the China connection since May 15 at 62 seconds: (15 seconds on May 15 and 23 seconds on May 19. Zero on May 16, 17 and 18.)
What did NBC spend its time showing Wednesday night: An In Depth segment on how satellites are changing people's lives, followed by a look at the misuse of handicapped parking spots and a story on tributes to Frank Sinatra.
The networks, especially NBC, have not only been slow to pick up on the latest round of China connection stories, but were absent when the waiver for Loral/donor connection was first reported by the New York Times on April 4. As explained in the April 15 CyberAlert, it took FNC a week and a half to catch up with the New York Times story, but that's sooner than ABC, CBS, CNN or NBC which had not mentioned the development in the morning or evening.
Cameron concluded his April 13 story:
It could be but it took the other networks another four-and-a-half weeks, until May 15, to tell their viewers about the possible waiver-for-money missile technology transfer.
-- Brent Baker
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