CyberAlert -- 06/01/1999 -- CNN: Cox Manipulated Media to Hype China Coverage; Clinton's Cover-Up
CNN: Cox Manipulated Media to Hype China Coverage; Clinton's Cover-Up
1) CNN argued the Chinese spy scandal has been overplayed: "Has the press been spoon-fed by congressional investigators?" asked Reliable Sources host Howard Kurtz, suggesting: "So have the media been used to prolong, perhaps even hype the story?"
Bias Video Excerpts. Check out the MRC's collection of video
clips displaying bias or reporting an angle not covered by the other
networks. Amongst the most recent videos viewable in RealPlayer format: 1)
"Many of the [Cox] report's scary findings are open to
question," insisted CBS News reporter Eric Engberg in a "Reality
Check" he ended by scoffing at how China only has a few missiles. 2) 5/27/1999:
Dan Rather slobbered all over Hillary Clinton on 60 Minutes II, urging her
to run for President and gushing, "Once a political lightning rod,
today she is political lightning." 3) 5/27/1999:
FNC's Eric Burns explored how "conservatives suggest that the story
[Chinagate] is not being covered for reasons of politics... that there is
a liberal bias at the big three networks." To view these video
excerpts, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/biasvideo.html
CNN's Reliable Sources over the weekend took up coverage of Chinese espionage and the Cox Report, but not to explore how the networks have buried it. Instead, the show's premise was that the media overplayed it and were manipulated by Cox's staff.
Plugging the segment host Howard Kurtz, the Washington Post's media reporter, announced: "When we come back, the Chinese spy scandal. Has the press been spoon-fed by congressional investigators?"
After the ad
break, Kurtz introduced the segment while holding up the cover of a
magazine: "We turn now to what one magazine, National Journal, calls
'The Red Scare.'"
In the CNN show run Saturday, May 29 at 6:30pm ET and again Sunday, May 30 at 11:30am Et, Kurtz pressed on: "On Tuesday, the House committee report completed back in January was finally released on Capitol Hill after months of wrangling over its declassification. A big story for the media, right? All over the front pages and the airwaves."
Kurtz showed Tom Brokaw on the NBC Nightly News but again failed to note
how NBC didn't get to the Cox Report until after two gun control stories
and an ad break: "It's finally out tonight. The congressional report
on China's espionage."
Kurtz continued his case for how there really was saturation coverage: "Committee Chairman Christopher Cox did plenty of TV, seven different appearances just Wednesday morning."
I have no idea how
he got to seven, but Cox has yet to appear on NBC's Today, the
highest-rated morning show. After a clip of Cox from CNN, over images of
USA Today, New York Times and Washington Times headlines, Kurtz asked:
To his guests, Washington Times reporter Bill Sammon and Slate columnist and former Newsweek reporter Timothy Noah, as well as Reliable Sources regular Bernard Kalb, Kurtz proposed: "So have the media been used to prolong, perhaps even hype the story?"
Turning to Sammon,
who appeared via satellite from Florida, Kurtz finally touched on White
House spin, though gently:
Sammon claimed: "I don't think they were manipulated because I think they were willing partners. They were the ones that wanted the leaks. And I do think it's a good point to talk about what role did the White House play. You mentioned that Chris Cox talked about some of the details before it was actually released. Well, we have to keep in mind that the White House had the report as well, and as you have documented in your book, the White House is very good at getting the bad story out preemptively so they can dismiss it later as old news, which is what they're sort of doing right now down here in Florida."
Kurtz did allow as
to how "there was a sort of a fight between Capitol Hill and the
White House to not only put the information out but to shape it, to spin
it to the best political advantage?"
Noah agreed "the production values are absolutely fabulous," before complaining: "I think the political message is this is a very big deal and, clearly, the Cox committee wants to make a very big deal out of this. The deputy chairman of the committee has said this is presenting a worst-case scenario, and I haven't seen that reported quite as widely as I would like."
Of course as attentive CyberAlert readers know that was the topic of a CBS Evening News story on Thursday, so CBS has given that angle more time than many Chinagate developments it has ignored this year.
Kurtz jumped in to bolster Noah's point: "Let's pick that point up, Tim. These are, of course, very serious charges, make no mistake, but some are saying that the report or the allegations are overblown. A story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune saying there hasn't been a single arrest yet. Many nuclear experts and arms-control analysts say they're skeptical about what benefits China reaped. Overblown?"
Noah agreed the
story has been given too much coverage, prompting Sammon to make the first
rational point of the show:
Naturally, Kalb ignored Sammon's observation and finished up the segment by talking more about "equal time" for the fact that "no arrests have been made, and picking up the Minneapolis Star Tribune, in one of its editorials it says when the dust settles, it is possible that Lee, Mr. Lee will be owed an apology from the U.S. government. Remember Richard Jewel, the security guard, so publicly accused of the Atlanta Olympic bombing? Lee may be the Richard Jewell of Los Alamos with an ethnic twist."
Speaking of twists, Reliable Sources is the media criticism show with a leftward twist. When was the last time you ever heard a bunch of elite Washington media players site a paper in Minneapolis as the authority on anything? They must have searched far and wide to find something to quote which claimed this story has been overplayed. As MRC documentation, which CNN ignored, demonstrates, the networks have hardly overplayed Chinese espionage. In fact, they've barely played it:
-- For a look at how only one broadcast network evening show led with the Cox Report and what the other two found more newsworthy, go to the May 26 CyberAlert: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990526.html
-- For a rundown of how the morning shows the next morning treated the Cox Report, with details about how Today gave more time and higher priority to police brutality than Cox, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990526a.html
-- The MRC's 14 Special Report details the dozens of newspaper stories, many of them leaks from the Cox Report probably put out by the White House, which the networks ignored. "All The News That's Fit to Skip: Network Apathy Toward Chinese Contributions and Espionage" is online at: http://www.mediaresearch.org/specialreports/news/sr19990514.html
Plus, for a review of Chinagate coverage with a greater connection to reality, watch the May 26 FNC story now viewable on the MRC videos page as listed between the >>> <<<< at the top of this edition. To read about that story, go to the May 27 issue: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990527.html#3
And, to read about or watch CBS's story about how "many of the [Cox] report's scary findings are open to question," go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990528.html#3
As Sammon suggested, the China story has already faded: Not a word about it on the ABC or CBS evening shows on Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday night, nor NBC on Friday night. (NBC basketball bumped Nightly News on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.) NBC Nightly News hasn't aired a story since its May 25 piece on the Cox Report's release, ABC's World News Tonight hasn't run anything since May 26 and since May 25 the CBS Evening News has run only one piece, the above-referenced story on how the Cox Report went too far.
+++ Watch the opening of Reliable Source's take on China coverage with Kurtz holding up the "Red Scare" magazine cover. Tuesday morning the MRC's Sean Henry and Kristina Sewell will post a video clip in RealPlayer format. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
If the Clinton administration had its way nothing of substance would have been released to the public in the Cox Report, Congressman Chris Cox told Fox News Sunday viewers after confirming that the Clinton administration delayed the report for months.
On the May 30 show panelist Fred Barnes quizzed Cox about the delay in the release of the report finished on January 3 and whether the administration acted in good faith in reviewing it for national security concerns:
the administration act in good faith in delaying the release of his report
month after month after month?"
From the May 28 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Signs a Guest at Your Memorial Day Barbecue is a Spy." Copyright 1999 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. He introduces himself as
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