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CyberAlert -- 06/28/1999 -- Clinton China Admission & Dissembling Skipped; Salon's Coulter Smear

Clinton China Admission & Dissembling Skipped; Salon's Coulter Smear

1) Clinton admitted at Friday's press conference that he misspoke in denying knowledge of espionage during his term, but only FNC and NBC cared. Not a syllable on ABC, CBS or CNN Friday night.

2) Clinton as victim. A reporter wondered if he's "ever reflected on why, as Mrs. Clinton I think has sometimes noted, throughout your career you've always seemed to generate such antagonism."

3) The New York Times revealed "White House officials were informed that China might have stolen American nuclear secrets nearly a year earlier" than they admitted. Zilch on Sunday night on CBS or ABC which speculated about a Bill Clinton Senate run.

4) MSNBC's Gregg Jarrett preposterously condemned as "ugly" a joke Rudy Giuliani told to David Letterman about Hillary moving to NY.

5) Salon.com's truly mean-spirited attack on commentator Ann Coulter: "Quit injecting yourself with your own urine."

6) MSNBC: Network or tape machine? The T&A network replaced Charles Grodin's show with...


>>> The June 28 edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media, is now online. Quote topics include "George W. Is An Extremist..."; "...But Dukakis Was a Moderate"; "It's Not Your Father's Racist GOP"; "Victim of Gun Lobby Bullies"; "Clinton's Heroic Place in History"; "Christian Coalition = Inquisition" and "Hillary's Unknown Religious Side?" Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/1999/nq19990628.html. For back issues: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/1999/welcome.html <<<

Correction: The June 25 CyberAlert referred to Republican pollster "Ed Goes." His last name is spelled Goeas.

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cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) President Clinton admitted Friday that he misspoke in denying knowledge of espionage during his term and then two days later a New York Times story exposed further administration dissembling on who knew what and when they knew it, but ABC's World News Tonight and the CBS Evening News refused to tell viewers about either development. NBC Nightly News gave each a few seconds while CNN's The World Today skipped the first and briefly touched the second, though neither network pointed out how the new information once again contradicted Clinton's statements.

(This item and #2 today address Friday's press conference. Item #3 looks at network reaction to Sunday's New York Times disclosure.)

At Clinton's late afternoon press conference on June 25 FNC's Wendell Goler, who asked him back on March 19 about spying during his term, pressed: "Let me ask you once again do you still maintain that you were not told anything about these Chinese efforts to spy at the nation's nuclear labs during your administration?"
Clinton answered by stressing how spying by China has been ongoing for twenty years, but then he got to commenting how his March 19 reply: "What I said was that I didn't suspect any actual breaches of security had occurred during my tenure. Since then we have learned of the off-loading of the computer by Mr. Lee, from the secured computers into his personal computer. That's something we know now that I didn't know then. But I think my choice of wording was poor. What I should have said was I did not know of any specific instance of espionage because I think we've been suspicious all along. And I have to acknowledge I think I used a poor word there. We have been suspicious all along generally. We did not have any specific instance as we now do of the off-loading of the computer..."

Actually, on March 19 Clinton did not say "that I didn't suspect any actual breaches of national security." He answered: "Can I tell you there has been no espionage at the labs since I've been President? I can tell you that no one has reported to me that they suspect such a thing has occurred." And in response to another question he maintained: "To the best of my knowledge, no one has said anything to me about any espionage which occurred by the Chinese against the labs, during my presidency."

On May 2 the New York Times revealed that top administration officials were briefed in November, 1998 about espionage. ABC's World News Tonight gave that 40 seconds, but the other networks ignored it. And the administration had received the Cox Report in early January which detailed breaches which occurred since 1992.

Now to last Friday. Clinton's grudging admission that he misled the American people as "my choice of wording was poor." In fact, he was again misleading people by suggesting that the "off-loading of the computer" is the only specific instance during his watch. But as Paul Sperry pointed out in the June 9 Investor's Business Daily:
"The declassified version of the House [Cox] report identifies 11 cases of Chinese espionage since the late 1970s. Eight took place during President Clinton's years in office....In other words, the vast majority of the leaks over the past 20 years have sprung on Clinton's watch....The House report doesn't disclose the full extent of Chinese espionage in the Clinton years. Citing 'national security' reasons, the White House censored roughly 375 pages, including several recent cases."

So, the networks had plenty of angles to pursue Friday night, but they bunted: ABC's John Cochran, CBS's Scott Pelley and CNN's John King all ignored China. FNC's Wendell Goler included Clinton's answer in his Fox Report story and NBC's Claire Shipman gave it 24 seconds in a piece about how "Bill Clinton laid out a bold and ambitious agenda for just 18 months left in office today."

Here's a rundown for the three broadcast network evening shows of June 25:

-- ABC's World News Tonight. John Cochran began his story on the press conference: "Today Bill Clinton tried to put impeachment and Kosovo in the past, to say that in his last year and a half Republican should work with him on pressing domestic issues, even if they don't like him."

After running through Clinton's proposals on guns, HMOs, prescription coverage in Medicare and showing soundbites of Clinton and Speaker Denny Hastert, Cochran concluded:
"Most Americans seem to care very little about the political maneuvering or even about the issues themselves. About the only pressure they really seem to be putting on Washington is to keep the good times rolling."


-- CBS Evening News. Scott Pelley, who could be seen in the front row of the press conference though he did not ask a question, opened his story by showing how Clinton got "visibly angry" over a question about money for Yugoslavia before the people admit their misdeeds. Pelley went through Clinton's plan to "save Medicare" and how he "scolded" Congress over gun control. Pelley concluded: "Watch for the President to continue pushing these domestic agenda items. He won the presidency of course in 1992 when George Bush won the war but seemed to neglect the home front. The White House is determined that Al Gore will not suffer from the same mistake."


-- NBC Nightly News led with anchor Jane Pauley announcing:
"Good evening. President Clinton met the press today, his first news conference in more than three months. There were plenty of topics but the central theme was seize the day. After a full year of scandal, impeachment and military action in Yugoslavia, he says he's anxious to move forward with proposals that he says will make Americans' lives better. The centerpiece: a controversial health care proposal, a plan to change the way Medicare recipients pay for prescription medicine."
Claire Shipman picked up: "Jane, Bill Clinton laid out a bold and ambitious agenda for just 18 months left in office today. The point: a renewed focus on domestic policy...."

Referring to a speech, Shipman explained: "Earlier in the day the President formally rolled out his ambitious legislative agenda. Among his top priorities, a minimum wage increase from $5.51 an hour to $6.15 an hour, a patient's bill of rights for Americans who use HMOs, and gun control despite the recent defeat in the House..."

She then took 24 seconds for the only broadcast mention of China: "The President also tackled other controversial subject in his hour and a half press conference. He admitted he misspoke this Spring about the Chinese espionage scandal when he said he had not been briefed on any suspicions of spying or theft on his watch."
Clinton: "What I should have said was I did not know of any specific instance of espionage because I think that we've been suspicious all along."

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cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) By my count, Clinton responded to questions from 27 reporters during his marathon 75 minute press conference, including one from the always inane Sara McClendon about whether Clinton would support a government program to teach parenting. Goler's question about China came fourth and no other reporter followed up in the subsequent 23 questions.

Two other questions posed at the June 25 press conference are noteworthy for portraying Clinton as a victim:

-- Washington Post White House reporter John Harris asked:
"Two and a half years ago in your inaugural you said you wanted to help the nation 'repair the breach' and this morning you called again for greater cooperation in Washington. But seems apparent that for many people you personally remain a polarizing and divisive figure in national politics. I was wondering if you've ever reflected on why, as Mrs. Clinton I think has sometimes noted, throughout your career you've always seemed to generate such antagonism in your opponents and do you assign any responsibility to yourself for what this morning you described as the rancorous mood in Washington today?"
Clinton replied that "people who are progressive, people who try to change things, people who keep pushing the envelope, have generally elicited very strong, sometimes personally hostile negative reaction." He then compared himself to Roosevelt. The House Republicans tried to "change things" in 1995 and I don't recall Clinton helping them out.

who0628.jpg (6990 bytes) -- Near the end of the press conference a woman, whom I did not recognize, stood up and asked: "In the wake of books by George Stephanopoulos and Bob Woodward I was wondering if you think that you can have anything close to a candid or frank conversation with aides or for that matter lawyers these days and whether you believe that this makes you a more isolated President as a result of this trend?"

You would think reporters who trust in the accuracy of Woodward's book full of unnamed sources might be prompted to demand that Clinton respond to some of the very damaging revelations about other women and how his own lawyer didn't believe what Clinton told him.

++ Name that woman. A free "Team Clinton: The Starting Line-Up of the Pro-Clinton Press Corps" T-shirt and a "Don't Believe the Liberal Media" magnet with photos of several media stars, to the first CyberAlert reader who can identify the reporter who posed this last question listed above. Monday morning the MRC's Kristina Sewell will cue up video of the woman and Webmaster Sean Henry will post a still shot of her next to this item on the Web site-posted version of this CyberAlert. Send your identifications to: cybercomment@mrc.org

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cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) The New York Times revealed on Sunday that "Senior White House officials were informed that China might have stolen American nuclear secrets nearly a year earlier than the Clinton administration originally disclosed, according to current and former United States officials."

Network reaction: Zilch on Sunday night on ABC or CBS. NBC gave it 19 seconds and CNN's 10pm ET The World Today allocated 24 seconds, but neither recalled what Clinton said Friday.

In their June 27 piece reporters James Risen and Jeff Gerth disclosed:

The White House was told about China's apparent theft of American nuclear weapons technology in July 1995, soon after it was detected by the Energy Department and the Central Intelligence Agency, several officials said.

Until now, the administration has left the impression that the White House first learned about the matter in April 1996, when Samuel R. Berger, then President Clinton's deputy national security adviser, was briefed on the case by Energy Department officials.

But interviews with current and former officials show that warnings about possible Chinese nuclear espionage received high-level attention within the Clinton administration early in the government's investigation of the matter.

Indeed, by late 1995, within months of first learning of the case, the Director of Central Intelligence was convinced that the evidence showed that China had stolen design information from America's most advanced nuclear warhead, and had briefed President Clinton's national security adviser on the matter.

Yet the investigation into China's apparent theft of the nuclear secrets languished, plagued for the next four years by what many officials now describe as miscommunication, bureaucratic inertia and outright bungling by several agencies....

END Excerpt

To read the entire New York Times story, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/library/world/asia/062799china-nuke.html

So, more evidence of Clinton's obfuscation at Friday's press conference and of overall administration incompetence, but the networks were not very interested. On Sunday morning's Fox News Sunday Senators McCain, Hatch and Lieberman were asked about the story by Tony Snow. Tim Russert asked Hatch about it on Meet the Press but it didn't come up on Face the Nation or This Week.

On NBC Nightly News anchor Kelly O'Donnell read this 19-second item which failed to credit the newspaper: "Senators from both parties expressed anger today after the Clinton administration admitted yet another error in the time-line for when suspicions were raised about Chinese espionage at U.S. nuclear labs. It now turns out that the first word came in the summer of 1995, not the Spring of 1996."

ABC's World News Tonight ignored the New York Times story but found time for Jeffrey Toobin to come on for one minute to tell anchor Carole Simpson about how the latest New Yorker magazine claims friends of Bill Clinton's are talking about him running for the Senate from Arkansas in 2002.

The June 27 CBS Evening News also skipped the China story, finding more newsworthy pieces on a study about how red meat may not as unhealthful as thought, the dangers of diet supplements and a new Oklahoma law that allows parents to spank their kids in public.

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rudy0628.jpg (14130 bytes)cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) A host on MSNBC Friday night again demonstrated how the media will not serve as a neutral referee of a Hillary Clinton versus Rudy Giuliani (or any other Republican) Senate race in New York. They will invalidate arguments forwarded by Giuliani by labeling them "ugly," even when he was just trying a little innocuous humor. (Back on April 1 Today co-host Matt Lauer demanded that Giuliani defend the "tone" of a Web site that called Hillary a "carpet-bagger."

On Friday's 7pm ET InterNight on MSNBC host Gregg Jarrett, a veteran of Court TV, brought up Giuliani's appearance the night before on CBS's Late Show with David Letterman: "Mayor Giuliani and Hillary is going to be headlines each and every day. Even last night on David Letterman Giuliani made an appearance with a rather interesting southern accent. Let's take a look at it."
Jarrett the read this text from the New York Daily News which also appeared on-screen: "I've never lived here. I've never worked here. I ain't never been here. But I think it would be cool to be your Senator."
Jeralyn Merritt, a criminal defense attorney and MSNBC legal analyst retorted: "That's just so unfair."
Jarrett interjected: "It's ugly."
Merritt elaborated on how unfair it is to say anything negative about the First Lady: "It's ugly and it's unfair because she has spent a lot of time in New York and she has the desire to help and she is bright, she's the best of the group. They ought to give her the chance. I mean if she's willing to go to New York, including upstate, and give it everything she has, let her."

++ Was Giuliani being "ugly"? Judge for yourself. Monday morning the MRC's Kristina Sewell and Sean Henry will post a RealPlayer clip of Giuliani telling this joke on the June 24 Late Show. MSNBC didn't set up the joke. The line quoted above by Jarrett is what Giuliani said he would say after getting off an airplane in Arkansas. The audience laughed and it was at worst a mild shot at Hillary on a legitimate issue told with an accent less Southern than most Arkansans probably display. After 10:30am ET, go to: http://www.mrc.org

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cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) Talk about what's really "ugly," check out this personal vitriol from a liberal voice, salon.com, about the sex life of conservative commentator and writer Ann Coulter. (Reader Alert: This item contains slang sexual terminology that some may wish to avoid.)

"Ann of a Thousand Lays: Ten modest proposal to help Ann Coulter get a date," read the headline over he June 25 "Media" section story on Salon by Thor Hesla, who is identified only as "a political and event management consultant."

Some highlights:

I read your piece in George magazine on the difficulties of dating in Washington with a large measure of empathy. Like you, I've been an occasional victim of the D.C. dating scene. But unlike you, I'm a guy, and I think you need to get a guy's input on this topic. After poring over your troubles, I shot a few notes off to some friends, and we came up with some suggestions you might find helpful in improving your odds:

1) Quit injecting yourself with your own urine. I don't mean to be presumptuous, but the rumor is that George Balanchine used to put so much pressure on his corps d' ballet to remain razor-thin that some of them injected themselves with their own urine to keep the pounds off. You look like you're doing this also.

Although I've never met you in person, I've seen you on TV (after all, like all the other D.C. people you characterize so well, I watch TV constantly rather than socialize) and, not to put too fine a point on it, you make Calista Flockhart look like a grand-master sumo. I've had potato skins that are thicker than your biceps....

2) Eat some cake. Let us posit, in the hypothetical, that we were introduced by mutual friends, and I invited you to meet me for dinner. Where would we go, and what would we order? I like steak, chicken, pasta, pork chops, veal...meat. Potatoes. Beer. Mmmmm, beer.

You look like you survive on six pieces of sushi (no avocado) and an M&M per day....

4) Quit being white. It's a common knock that Republicans don't date much outside of their own prep schools, but you take this to a ridiculous extreme. You should rewrite your article and insert the word "white" in front of "Washington," as in "boys in white Washington don't know how....

5) Stop being a mean bitch. One of the things you hate about Washington is that complete strangers on the Metro ask you for your sports page. Ann, I frequently have out-of-town guests visit me in D.C. Because, as you have already established, I have to watch a lot of TV to see what's going on in your neck of the woods, I often send these gentle strangers out onto the Metro alone. When I do, I pray, literally, that they won't run into pompous, intolerant, judgmental, high-strung, anorexic clothes-horses like yourself if they should happen to get lost, require assistance, or even, God forfend, reach out across the aching void that divides us all and inquire if you're finished with that section of the paper, ma'am?

A portion of the challenge that you face in your quest for tube steak, Ann, is that any decent guy who asks you out might someday face the vexing hypothetical question, What would it be like to have you run into his grandmother, were she to have the misfortune to need assistance on public transit and make the mistake of asking that nice white girl over there....

6) Free your hair from that dominatrix hair stylist. You look like you've got more armor on your hair than an M1-A1 tank has. What do you do, dip it into a bucket of floor wax and let it harden?....

8) Buy a vibrator. In addition to all your other problems, I think you need to rack up some quick orgasms. There's one called "the Rabbit" which I hear gets you going from several different angles at once, if you know what I mean. It was featured in a recent episode of "Sex in the City."

Once you've cleared your system of all the toxins that back up when you stop getting off, you should immediately...

9) Get your head out of your ass. Another of your complaints about D.C. is that the cabs don't have meters. Are you really simple? The zone system in D.C. is mandated by Congress (here's that white thing again) so that they can ride to and from Capitol Hill as inexpensively as possible.

Attention, Ann: Guys won't ask you for dates if you act stupid in public. Plenty of people don't know the history of the zone system and cabs in D.C. They just don't write about it in nationally published magazines....

10) Don't make your living as a sexual harpy. Your principal occupation over the last three years, as I understand it, has been to traffic as many damaging stories as possible about Bill Clinton's personal life, then write a book about it.

Blow this next sentence up on a photocopier and tape it next to your refrigerator: "Men Don't Want to Date Castrating Bitches Who Make Their Livings Peddling Tales of Male Weakness."

Is your mom still alive? If she isn't, I apologize, but you must have a trusted older friend you can talk to about this particular problem. You should ask her, and yourself: "Am I more likely to meet nice men and go out on dates if I volunteer for good works, hang out with a wide variety of cultures and views, and travel the world with a sunny disposition or if I work out frenetically, diet constantly and make my living shoveling dirt with both hands on MSNBC?"....

END Excerpt

To read the entire diatribe, go to: http://www.salon.com/media/feature/1999/06/25/coulter/

Imagine the reaction if a conservative Web site featured such a personal attack on one of the Democratic women analysts who sat opposite Coulter during the Lewinsky scandal.

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cyberno6.gif (1129 bytes) Saturday and Sunday night with Charles Grodin on vacation the T&A Network (MSNBC), replaced his 8pm ET/PT show with....a Time & Again about him with clips of interviews he's done over the years on NBC shows promoting his movies.

I don't believe it's an exaggeration to say that over one-third of weekend airtime on MSNBC is dedicated to repeats of Time & Again and much of the rest is devoted to repeated showings of Weekend Magazine -- a repackaging of Dateline NBC stories from the previous week. Friday night the channel ran a Time & Again at 8pm ET, again at 10pm ET and replaced the usual 9pm PT/12am ET repeat of The News with Brian William with another Time & Again.


It's hard to call MSNBC a network. It's more like a tape machine. -- Brent Baker

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