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CyberAlert -- 10/26/2000 -- Gore Asked About Russia Deal

Gore Asked About Russia Deal; Ad Linking Bush to Murder Ignored; West Wing's Conservative Decided White House Full of "Patriots" -- Back to today's CyberAlert

1) Thirteen days after the news broke, on today's Good Morning America Charles Gibson asked Al Gore about a "secret agreement" that "you signed with Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin ...which gave Russia a pass" on selling arms to Iran.

2) Media Reality Check: "Is It Civil To Suggest Bush Is a Killer? Media's Willie Horton Ad Bashers Sit in Stony Silence While NAACP Ad Is Denounced by Bob Kerrey." Only FNC has shown the ad which features James Byrd's daughter claiming of Bush's opposition to a hate crimes bill: "It was like my father was killed all over again."

3) The West Wing's new conservative blonde babe character assessed the staff of the fictional Democratic White House: "Their intent is good, their commitment is true. They are righteous and they are patriots."

4) Two new MediaNomics articles now online: "News Media Promoted Pro-Gore Tax Activist as 'Nonpartisan' Expert" and "Gore Spin Echoed by Networks In Coverage of Texas Education Study."


1

This morning, 13 days after the New York Times broke the story, Al Gore was finally asked by a network reporter about his secret deal with Russia for arms sales to Iran which the Times had reported "appeared to undercut a 1992 law." ABC's Charles Gibson raised the controversy during a Good Morning America interview with Gore.

As noted in this morning's CyberAlert, the Senate held hearings on the matter Wednesday which generated only a 17-second item on ABC's World News Tonight but went unnoticed by CBS, NBC and the CNN and MSNBC prime time newscasts. Only FNC touched it last week and ran a full story Wednesday night.

Gore appeared on today's Good Morning America via satellite from Missouri. Gibson started by asking about Ralph Nader's threat and then wondered, as transcribed by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson, about Gore's nerves:
"Let me ask you a personal question. This election is nail-bitingly close. I don't remember one since 1960 this close and I'm one of the few people who remember 1960. And I wonder personally what that does to you. You've been campaigning flat out for months, and yet this thing is to be won or lost in the last 12 days, and I wonder what that does to your nerves, given the fact you've worked for this all your life."

Next, Gibson reticently inquired about Clinton: "Let me ask you, and this'll be the last time I'll ask this question in the campaign, but why don't you use the President? He so obviously wants to campaign more than for just his wife. You do have a record of a lot of prosperity in the last eight years, and yet you seldom mention that, and he is said to feel that you're sort of throwing away the accomplishments of the last eight years....And there'll be no joint appearances with him for this campaign?"

Gibson then got to the Russia deal question, but only because a viewer raised the topic:
"We solicited questions for you from our audience through our Web site, and a number of them concerned a piece of legislation that you co-authored with John McCain in 1992. Under that legislation, sanctions would be imposed against any countries that sold advanced weapons to terrorist nations, like Iran, and now comes word that there was a secret agreement made with the Russians in 1995, that you signed with Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, at that time Prime Minister Chernomyrdin, which gave Russia a pass on that situation. Let me just voice the questions as they were submitted. Arlon Andrews, Corpus Christi, Texas: 'Why did you make a secret arms deal with Chernomyrdin and not tell Congress about it?' Rob Williams, Hawthorne, California: 'How do you explain the secret arms agreement?' Scott Fisher, Portland, Maine: 'Did you allow Russian weapon sales to Iran to continue in defiance of the law you personally co-sponsored?'"

Gibson followed up: "Senator McCain himself said that this agreement was intended to evade sanctions and Senator McCain says the argument that these weapons, the weapons that were sold were not covered by the agreement is provably false."

As noted above, the New York Times first revealed Gore's deal with Chernomyrdin back on October 13 in a front page story the networks ignored. Here's an excerpt of the story by John Broder:

In June 1995, Vice President Al Gore signed a secret agreement with Viktor S. Chernomyrdin, then the Russian prime minister, calling for an end to all Russian sales of conventional weapons to Iran by the end of 1999.

But the deadline passed with no sign of a halt to such sales, despite repeated complaints late last year and this year to senior Russian officials by Mr. Gore, Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott. Moscow continues to be a significant supplier of conventional arms to Tehran despite the Gore-Chernomyrdin deal, the Central Intelligence Agency reported in August.

The 1995 agreement allowed Moscow to fulfill existing sales contracts for specified weaponry, including a diesel submarine, torpedoes, anti-ship mines and hundreds of tanks and armored personnel carriers. But no other weapons were to be sold to Iran, and all shipments were to have been completed by last Dec. 31.

In exchange for the Russian promises, the United States pledged not to seek penalties against Russia under a 1992 law that requires sanctions against countries that sell advanced weaponry to countries the State Department classifies as state sponsors of terrorism. Iran is on that list.

Though Mr. Gore and Mr. Chernomyrdin mentioned an arms agreement in general terms at a news conference the day it was signed, the details have never been disclosed to Congress or to the public.

The Gore-Chernomyrdin agreement appeared to undercut a 1992 law, the Iran-Iraq Arms Nonproliferation Act, known as Gore-McCain after its principal sponsors, Mr. Gore, then a senator from Tennessee, and Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican. The law was rooted in concerns about Russian sales to Iran of some of the same weapons that the Gore-Chernomyrdin agreement expressly allowed.

Senator McCain said this month that he was unaware of the deal that Mr. Gore struck with Mr. Chernomyrdin, which was codified in a document stamped "Secret" and signed in Moscow on June 30, 1995. Mr. McCain said a "strong case can be made" that the Russian delivery of arms, especially the submarine, should have triggered sanctions against Moscow under the provisions of the Gore-McCain law.

"If the administration has acquiesced in the sale, then I believe they have violated both the intent and the letter of the law," he said.

END Excerpt

For the full story, go to:
http://www.nytimes.com/2000/10/13/world/13RUSS.html

The following Tuesday, the Washington Times advanced the story, but that night only FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume picked up on it. "Letter Shows Gore Made Russian Deal: Arms sales violation kept from Congress," read the headline. Bill Gertz began his October 17 report:

Vice President Al Gore, at the urging of Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, agreed to keep secret from Congress details of Russia's nuclear cooperation with Iran beginning in late 1995.

In a classified "Dear Al" letter obtained by The Washington Times, Mr. Chernomyrdin told Mr. Gore about Moscow's confidential nuclear deal with Iran and stated that it was "not to be conveyed to third parties, including the U.S. Congress."

But sources on Capitol Hill said Mr. Gore withheld the information from key senators who normally would be told of such high-level security matters.

The Gore-Chernomyrdin deal, disclosed in a letter labeled "secret," appears to violate a provision of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Act, which requires the Clinton administration to keep congressional oversight committees fully informed of all issues related to nuclear weapons proliferation.

The Chernomyrdin letter on nuclear cooperation with Iran follows a report in the New York Times last week showing that Mr. Gore reached a secret deal with Russia several months earlier that appears to circumvent U.S. laws requiring the imposition of sanctions on Russia for its conventional arms sales to Iran....

Gore spokesman Jim Kennedy said: "It's obvious that the motivation for this leak is political." The letter "simply appears to be part of the overall United States effort to encourage the Russians to break off or limit their nuclear relationship with Iran," Mr. Kennedy said in a statement last night.

The Dec. 9, 1995, letter on Iranian nuclear cooperation states that the two leaders' discussions as part of a special commission had resulted in "clarity and mutual understanding" on the matter.

The letter said there were "no new trends" in Moscow's sale of nuclear equipment to Iran since a 1992 agreement. It also states that Russia and the United States would seek to prevent the "undermining of the nuclear arms non-proliferation program."

Mr. Chernomyrdin said Moscow's program of building a nuclear reactor in Iran would be limited to training technicians in Russia, and the delivery of "nuclear fuel for the power plant for the years 2001 through 2011."

"The information that we are passing on to you is not to be conveyed to third parties, including the U.S. Congress," Mr. Chernomyrdin said. "Open information concerning our cooperation with Iran is obviously a different matter, and we do not object to the constructive use of such information. I am counting on your understanding."....

END Excerpt

2

The text of a Campaign 2000 Media Reality Check by the MRC's Tim Graham, distributed by fax this afternoon, titled: "Is It Civil To Suggest Bush Is a Killer? Media's Willie Horton Ad Bashers Sit in Stony Silence While NAACP Ad Is Denounced by Bob Kerrey."

The pull-out quote recited the narration over a new NAACP TV ad which features a semi-reenactment of the infamous and brutal James Byrd murder: Black and white video of a pick-up truck's door closing and the pick-up then dragging a long chain down a dirt road. In her own voice, Byrd's daughter recounted:
"I'm Renee Mullins, James Byrd's daughter. On June 7, 1998, in Texas, my father was killed. He was beaten, chained and then dragged three miles to his death -- all because he was black. So when Governor George W. Bush refused to support hate crimes legislation, it was like my father was killed all over again. Call George W. Bush and tell him to support hate crimes legislation. We won't be dragged away from our future."

Now the text of the October 26 Media Reality Check:

In 1988 (and 1989, 1990, 1991, and 1992), the media slammed George H. W. Bush for suggesting (or gaining from independent ads declaring) that Michael Dukakis released a convicted murderer on a furlough program who traveled to Maryland and raped a woman. Willie Horton became famous not for his crimes, but as a symbol of Republican nastiness and race-baiting.

But the media silence so far is deafening over the new ad campaign by the NAACP. Over black and white video of a truck dragging a chain, James Byrd's daughter suggests George W. Bush killed her father all over again. Floyd Brown's media-pulverized 1988 ad never found the family of Horton's murder victim and said when Dukakis released him for the weekend, it was like Dukakis was stabbing him all over again.

Fox News Channel has reported and shown the ad. CNN substitute Crossfire co-host Tucker Carlson asked Sen. Bob Kerrey last night if Gore should denounce the ad or ask it to be discontinued. Kerrey said: "I'll say it's racially divisive and offensive and take it off the air...it's apt to actually be counterproductive. I can't imagine it's going to persuade very many people."

But the media's civility referees and race-card cops let liberal black leaders say whatever they want without fear of controversy. On Tuesday night, BET talk show host Tavis Smiley talked about the death penalty on CNBC's Rivera Live: "As far as I'm concerned, Bush in Texas is nothing more than a serial killer."

Over the years, The Washington Times has spotlighted the intemperate remarks of NAACP leader Julian Bond: In 1997, he told CNN he "wholeheartedly believes" Camille Cosby's charge that "America taught our son's [Ukrainian] killer to hate African-Americans." Bond said in the Reagan years, Republicans were "a crazed swarm of right-wing locusts" waging an "assault on the rule of law."

The NAACP's candidate, Al Gore, tells black audiences about Republicans: "They use colorblind the way duck hunters use their duck blind. They hide behind it and hope the ducks won't figure out what they're up to." (On today's Good Morning America, ABC's Charles Gibson didn't ask Gore about the NAACP.)

Two years ago, the Missouri Democratic Party ran this radio ad: "When you don't vote, you let another church explode. When you don't vote, you allow another cross to burn. When you don't vote, you let another assault wound a brother or sister. When you don't vote, you let the Republicans continue to cut school lunches and Head Start." Only Fox reported on that ad.

But on September 20, 2000, CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer warned a Missouri commercial "has led to charges tonight that racist tactics are being used in an effort to sway voters to vote Republican." The ad featured a woman worrying about her son running with the wrong crowd: "That was a bit more diversity than he could handle." Reporter Bill Whitaker relayed: "A disparaging remark about diversity. Democrats call it 'race-baiting.'" He concluded with 1988: "And ugly or not, they can work. The controversial Willie Horton ad by an outside group helped George W. Bush's father win the presidency by painting Michael Dukakis as soft on crime."

If the media were fair, they'd show the NAACP ad for the next 12 years for balance.

END Media Reality Check

+++ See the NAACP ad for yourself and hear comment about it from the panel on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume. During the roundtable segment on Tuesday night, October 24, Hume's show became the first and so far only TV network program to play it. Morton Kondracke of Roll Call was appalled: "The NAACP ought to be ashamed of itself." Not signing a hate crimes bill is like a murder? "Talk about an outrageous exaggeration."

Washington Times reporter Bill Sammon pointed out how on the campaign trail Al Gore reminds audiences that the Byrd murder happened in Bush's state.

Even the liberal Mara Liasson of NPR found the NAACP point unpersuasive: "It's unclear what hate crimes legislation would do or might have done to prevent this horrific thing from happening."

To view the ad and a bit of the FNC panel's evaluation of it, go to the MRC home page where Webmaster Andy Szul has just posted RealPlayer clip: http://www.mrc.org

3

NBC's The West Wing debuted its 30-something "blond Republican babe" character Wednesday night, but by the end of the hour she was rebuking her Democratic administration-hating friends, obviously characters meant to conjure up Clinton-haters. She lectured them about how all the people she met on the White House staff "have been extraordinarily qualified, their intent is good, their commitment is true. They are righteous and they are patriots."

Before that scene, however, viewers were treated to her lecturing a liberal White House aide: "This White House that feels that government is better for children than parents are, that looks at 40 years of degrading and humiliating free lunches handed out in a spectacularly failed effort to level the playing field and says let's try 40 more."

She also contended the aide only favored gun control because he doesn't "like the people" who own guns: "Think about that the next time you make a joke about the South."

On the October 25 episode, in addition to a subplot revolving around greedy pharmaceutical companies unwilling to provide free drugs to everyone in Africa suffering from AIDS, viewers were introduced to the new character, lawyer "Ainsley Hayes" played by Emily Procter. In the opening scene, she trounced White House aide "Sam Seaborn," played by Rob Lowe, on a TV talk show. Her prowess impressed Democratic "President Bartlet," played by Martin Sheen, who ordered her hired for the counsel's office despite her contrary political ideology.

Chief-of-Staff "Leo McGarry" invited her to the White House and she agreed to think about his offer. Later, she returned to tell McGarry she didn't want the job but while waiting to see him she ran into Seaborn and aide "Josh Lyman," played by Bradley Whitford. When Seaborn suggested she just wanted to be a TV star, she fired back with some conservative spin rarely heard in prime time:
"You think because I don't want to work here it's because I can get a better gig on Geraldo? Gosh, let's see if there could possibly be any other reason why I wouldn't want to work in this White House. This White House that feels that government is better for children than parents are, that looks at 40 years of degrading and humiliating free lunches handed out in a spectacularly failed effort to level the playing field and says let's try 40 more. This White House that says to anyone that points that out to them, that they are cold, mean and racist and then accuses Republicans of using the politics of fear. This White House that loves the Bill of Rights, all of them, except the second one."

Seaborn, referring to how Lyman and the President had been shot weeks before, reprimanded her: "This is the wrong place to talk about guns right now. I thought your column was idiotic."
Ainsley Hayes: "Imagine my surprise."
Seaborn argued: "But for a brilliant surgical team and two centimeters of a miracle [turning to Lyman] this guy's dead right now from bullets fired from a gun bought legally. They bought guns, they loaded them, they drove from Wheeling to Rosslyn and until they pulled the trigger they had yet to commit a crime. I am so off the charts tired of the gun lobby tossing around words like 'personal freedom' and nobody calling them on it. This is not about personal freedom and it certainly has nothing to do with public safety. It's just that some people like guns."
Hayes responded: "Yes they do. But you know what's more insidious than that? Your gun control position doesn't have anything to do with public safety and it's certainly not about personal freedom. It's about you don't like people who do like guns. You don't like the people. Think about that the next time you make a joke about the South."

The Hayes character puts politeness and respect for the views of others ahead of ideological differences, sort of a combination of Dr. Laura and Ross Perot, a personality which came through loud and clear minutes later. Unable to meet with McGarry she left the White House, without having given him an answer, and met a couple of her conservative friends, a man and a woman, at a restaurant.

Upon sitting down, the man salivated about McGarry's reaction to her rejecting his overture. When she informed him she didn't get to talk to him, he exclaimed: "Damn, I wanted you to say it to his face. I wanted to see-"
The woman friend jumped in: "I hate these people."
The man wondered: "Did you meet anyone there who isn't worthless?"
Hayes, becoming upset, ordered: "Don't say that."
Man: "Did you meet anyone there who has any-"
Hayes lectured: "I said don't say that. Say they're smug and superior. Say their approach to public policy makes you want to tear your hair out. Say they like high taxes and spending your money. Say they want to take your guns and open your borders, but don't call them worthless. At least don't do it in front of me. The people that I have met have been extraordinarily qualified, their intent is good, their commitment is true. They are righteous and they are patriots."

After a dramatic pause Hayes revealed, apparently prompted by her disgust of her friends' attitudes, that she had changed her mind and would join the White House staff: "And I'm their lawyer."

She then got up and walked away from the table.

To be continued on NBC on Wednesday, November 1.

4

Two new pieces of analysis now online from Rich Noyes, Director of the MRC's Free Market Project. The fresh articles in the October 26 MediaNomics:

-- News Media Promoted Pro-Gore Tax Activist as "Nonpartisan" Expert
Can a Hollywood producer offer an objective review of his own movie? Most people would probably say no -- once they stopped laughing, that is. But something comparable happened when one network turned to a liberal activist and made him an honorary member of their "Truth Squad" after a TV debate between the two presidential candidates....

For the rest of the article, go to:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/medianomics/2000/mn20001026.asp

-- Gore Spin Echoed by Network Correspondents In Coverage of Texas Education Study
Veteran journalists understand that politically significant reports and studies don't merely pop up on the media landscape in a presidential campaign's waning days. That's one reason why it was so unusual to see the networks rush to highlight a RAND Corporation study on Texas education that was being heavily promoted by the Gore campaign. Knowing that the report greatly aided Gore's cause, both ABC and NBC pushed the story two days in a row on their morning news shows, while all three broadcast networks featured the report at the top of their evening broadcasts on October 24....

For the complete analysis, go to:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/medianomics/2000/mn20001026b.asp

To read past MediaNomics articles, go to:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/fmp/medianomics/archive2.html

The news and bias never stops. Back with more tomorrow. -- Brent Baker


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