CyberAlert -- 05/26/1998 -- NBC Finally Got to China
NBC Finally Got to China; NBC News VP Lobbied Clinton for Loral
1) The CIA reported China could use Loral's technology to improve nuclear missiles, but all the networks skipped that Thursday night. NBC finally aired its first China story and FNC uniquely picked up on how another waiver transferred fighter jet help.
The May 21 editions of ABC's World News Tonight, CBS Evening and CNN's The World Today all skipped the China connection though CIA documents released Thursday showed commercial satellite know how could be applied in building long-range nuclear missiles. NBC Nightly News finally got around to airing its first full story on the growing China controversy. FNC's Fox Report featured a story on how another waiver for a civilian aircraft deal gave China technology useful in building jet fighters and missiles.
Of the three cable news networks only FNC carried live coverage Thursday morning of the Senate hearing on the China connection. FNC broke away in the early afternoon to go live with the Oregon shooting.
A May 22 AP
dispatch, passed along to me by the MRC's Tim Graham, detailed why the
Loral deal concerns so many. The AP's John Diamond explained what
Thursday night network viewers never heard about:
Here's what the two shows which aired stories on May 21 offered:
-- FNC's 7pm ET
Fox Report. Carl Cameron highlighted a two year Justice Department study
which found that in 1994 McDonnell Douglas got Commerce Department
approval to export special manufacturing equipment to China. The Joint
Chiefs of Staff and the Defense Intelligence Agency, Cameron pointed out,
objected. But the Clinton Administration okayed the deal. Cameron warned:
Next, co-anchor Catherine Crier made FNC the only network to inform viewers that the House on Thursday passed resolutions calling for release of White House court filings related to executive privilege and asking Clinton to urge the cooperation with Starr by witnesses he knows or employs.
-- NBC Nightly News finally got around to airing its first full report on China, a thorough explanatory piece from Lisa Myers. Her story lasted two minutes and thirteen seconds, more than double the total time NBC's six previous newscasts combined allocated to China. (Total previous NBC Nightly News time devoted to the China connection since the May 15 New York Times story on Johnny Chung: 62 seconds, consisting of 15 seconds on May 15, 23 seconds on May 19 and 24 seconds on May 20. Zero on May 16, 17 and 18.)
Myers began her
report: "The allegation is as explosive as the Chinese rockets
involved, that campaign money may have influenced the President's
decisions to relax controls on satellites to China." After explaining
that Loral Chairman Bernard Schwartz is responsible for chipping in more
to the Democrats than anyone else, $2 million between himself and Loral,
Myers got the core of the controversy:
Tim Russert called the China connection "devastating" on the May 17 Meet the Press and on May 21 NBC's Lisa Myers tagged the allegation "explosive," but through Friday morning, May 22, NBC's Today had yet to utter a word about the growing scandal. I left Washington Thursday night, but MRC analysts Clay Waters and Tom Roop as well as intern David Bozell checked the Friday morning ABC, CBS and NBC shows for China stories and found none, not even a few seconds during a news update.
And the Oregon
shooting hardly consumed the May 22 broadcasts. Through Tim Graham the
shorthanded MRC news team relayed some of the topics the networks
considered more important than the CIA analysis of how the Clinton waiver
helped China build nuclear missiles to better target the U.S.:
A former NBC News Vice President lobbied the Clinton Administration to
grant Loral the waiver now at the center of the brewing China connection
scandal, the papers the White House released Friday disclosed. Writing
about the efforts made by Loral Chairman Bernard Schwartz to secure
approval from the President for the deal with China, Washington Post
reporters Roberto Suro and John F. Harris relayed May 23 what the papers
As the Post reported, Ross did hold a top position with the NSC, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Public Affairs, a slot he occupied for about a year from 1994 to 1995 when he jumped to Loral as VP for government relations. What the Post failed to note: Thomas served as Senior Vice President of NBC News from 1986-89. Joining the Clinton foreign policy team wasn't his first swing through the revolving door. When President Carter took office Ross left his position as Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun Times to become Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs.
Saturday's Capital Gang on CNN delivered two quotes of note from liberal journalists: a refreshing admission that a view the media dismissed may have been on target and the usual reflexive blaming of the NRA after a shooting.
columnist and former reporter Margaret Carlson had the guts to concede
that Senator Fred Thompson was way ahead of the Washington media
Hunt's Outrage of the Week hit on the usual group targeted by liberals
after any violence committed with a gun. The Wall Street Journal's
Executive Washington Editor blasted the NRA:
Some noteworthy headlines I caught over the holiday weekend I spent in New Hampshire.
-- First, a bit of a contrast in Saturday, May 23, stories on the China waiver documents released by the White House:
The Washington Post -- "Clinton Rejected China Worries: Justice Feared Impact on Satellite Probe; Loral Lobbied for Deal"
The Boston Globe -- "China Satellite Deal Defended: Clinton OK's Plan Despite Security Issue"
-- Second, you can always count on the Boston Globe to blame anything bad on inadequate government spending. Even the Oregon school shooting. Here's the headline over a May 23 news story by Globe reporter Dolores Kong: "School Officials Didn't Order Boy Into Counseling Because of Cuts."
-- Finally, the self-evident headline of the week, over a May 25 Boston Herald story about several shootings in Boston over the weekend as new stats showed a falling crime rate: "Shootings Mar City's Success Against Crime."
Those darn criminals keep preventing crime from going away. -- Brent Baker
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