CyberAlert -- 12/31/1998 -- ABC & NBC Shunt Technology Transfers to China
ABC & NBC Shunt Technology Transfers to China; Media Missed Liberal $
1) A bi-partisan congressional committee determined technology transfers to China have harmed national security. Network interest: 22 seconds on ABC and 26 seconds on NBC. Only FNC reminded viewers that Loral's chief donated $100,000 to Democrats.
>>> Please be on the lookout for us. As 1998 ends and 1999 begins I expect some columnists and editorial page writers around the country, as well as talk radio hosts, will feature excerpts from the MRC's Best Notable Quotables of 1998: The Eleventh Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting. We normally learn of these appearances weeks later. This year I'd like to feature, on our Best of NQ Web page, links to the print ones. So, if you see a column or editorial or a mention in a magazine over the next few days, could you please let us know? And if those who write the pieces could send us a text file or alert us to its location on the Web, we'll feature the piece on our Web page complete with appropriate plugs and/or links for the publication. Send your sightings to: firstname.lastname@example.org <<<
Spelling Corrections: the December 29 CyberAlert misspelled the first name of the Democratic investigative counsel for the House Judiciary Committee. It's Abbe Lowell, not Abe, as his name is pronounced like "Abby." The same edition added an extra "L" to Susan McDougal's last name. It's McDougal, not McDougall.
After months of whining by many in the media about the lack of bi-partisanship in the impeachment debate, on Wednesday a special select House committee of five Republicans and four Democrats released a unanimous report which concluded that U.S. technology deals with China have boosted the accuracy of their missiles and harmed America's national security.
Network reaction: of the broadcast networks, only CBS considered it worth a full story. ABC's World News Tonight gave it a piddling 22 seconds and NBC Nightly News allocated a mere 26 seconds. FNC and CNN also provided full stories, but only FNC reminded viewers that Loral's Chairman donated $100,000 to Democrats just before his company earned a technology transfer waiver.
(Wednesday night ABC and CNN led with Iraq firing missiles at U.S. planes, NBC began with the "extreme weather," CBS opened with the China report and FNC started with the report from the Oklahoma City bombing grand jury. All but CBS featured full stories on Trent Lott's proposal for a short trial followed by a vote on whether the charges are even impeachable, a plan opposed by Henry Hyde. The stories included at least one soundbite from Ohio Senator Mike DeWine who flew to Washington to make his case that the Senate can only acquit or convict, not censure. NBC's Claire Shipman added: "NBC News has learned that a group of conservative Republicans in the House are poised to announce their support for censure, worried that since it appears there aren't the 67 votes necessary to convict him, the President might escape without punishment.")
Here's how each network's Wednesday, December 30 evening show handled the China report:
-- ABC's World News Tonight. Anchor Kevin Newman gave it 22 seconds: "A report released today by a special congressional committee claims that technology deals over the past two decades with China have damaged U.S. national security, but a lot of the details were not made public. The investigation was begun after allegations that contributions to the Democratic Party influenced the illegal transfer of satellite technology to China which China then used in weaponry."
Stewart explained how "the business deals at issue date back to 1989 when former President Bush, and later President Clinton, approved waivers allowing U.S. satellites to be launched aboard Chinese rockets." He concluded: "At least two more shoes are set to drop in this matter. Still unanswered is whether any of those trade waivers were influenced by campaign contributions to the Clinton administration and the outcome of a Justice Department investigation into whether any U.S. companies broke the law by giving the Chinese perhaps too much advice."
The alarm bells have been ringing for years? Bells that haven't previously awoken CBS. As two MediaWatch items from earlier this year detailed, except for FNC, the networks have shown little interest in this non-Monica scandal.
From the June 1
On May 15, the New York Times reported that Johnny Chung told investigators that a large part of the almost $100,000 he gave Democrats in the summer of 1996 came from Liu Chaoying, who works on defense modernization, such as satellite technology, for China's People's Liberation Army. Two days later, the Times added how Clinton overrode then-Secretary of State Warren Christopher's decision to limit China's ability to launch U.S.-made satellites on Chinese rockets.
Where were the networks? On the 15th, in the midst of heavy coverage of Frank Sinatra's death, ABC devoted 75 seconds to it, CBS 27, and NBC 15. Two nights later, ABC reported one story, but CBS and NBC ignored it. A few nights later, the networks each devoted a few seconds to Newt Gingrich's announcement of a special committee to investigate the China matter (ABC 17, CBS 18, NBC 23). It took CBS five nights before it aired a full story, NBC six (offering only 62 seconds in the first five nights)....
So did the networks jump at the chance to cover a story involving something other than Monica Lewinsky? No. After spending months lamenting their obsession with sex scandals, the networks did not devote a single word that night, the following morning or rest of the week to the substantive issue of China diverting U.S. technology for military use. While all the networks focused on Clinton's role in negotiating a new Middle East peace accord, none have aired a single story on the missile technology diversion story since early June....
Dishonest historians and disinterested reporters. In Wednesday's Washington Times, Inside Politics columnist Greg Pierce picked up on a fascinating item from the January/February issue of American Enterprise magazine about how a liberal group actually paid for a pre-election ad by anti-impeachment historians though, the American Enterprise Institute's magazine observed, "nobody in the major media seems to have bothered to discover this."
Under the heading
"Dishonest Historians," in the December 30 Washington Times
Pierce first set up the item:
He then quoted the magazine's discovery that the media "missed one aspect of the affair: the invaluable assistance these 'historians speaking as historians' -- as one organizer put it -- received from People for the American Way (PAW), a left-wing activist group."
The American Enterprise revealed: "Though the historians neglected to mention it in their ad, or in their press releases, or at their press conference, they were only able to publish their Times ad because PAW's tax-exempt foundation purchased it for them and served as the receiver for the donations that paid for it. The mailing address given in the historians' ad is actually the Washington office of PAW, though nobody in the major media seems to have bothered to discover this. Somehow we suspect that if 400 non-liberal scholars took out such an ad and listed an address that in fact belonged to, say, the Christian Coalition, the information might come out in news stories."
Here are the second runner-up quotes in 14 award categories in "The Best Notable Quotables of 1998: The Eleventh Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting." (The December 28 CyberAlert ran the winning quotes, the December 30 edition the first runners-up.) To pick the winners and runners-up the MRC sent ballots to 50 media observers who picked a first, second and third best quote in each category. First place selections were awarded three points, second place choices got two points and third place picks were assigned one point. Point totals are listed after each quote. For the list of judges, see the December 28 CyberAlert or go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/best/nq1998best.html
To read all the
quotes and see and hear the broadcast television ones via RealPlayer as
compiled by MRC research associate Kristina Sewell and Webmaster Sean
Henry, go to the same address: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/best/nq1998best.html
Below is the second runner-up in the "Quote of the Year," followed by the third place quotes in the "Presidential Kneepad Award (for Best Lewinsky Impression)" through the "Carve Clinton into Mt. Rushmore Award" with the "Hallucinating Hillary Award (for Promoting the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy)" and the "Good Morning Morons Award (for Foolishness in the Morning)" amongst those in between.
Washington Post media reporter
Howard Kurtz: "It's interesting to watch them, Ann Lewis
and others, dutifully drag themselves before the cameras yesterday and
saying, 'I know I've been telling you for months that this didn't
happen. Well it did happen, but no one cares and lets move on.' So their
own credibility has taken a hit."
"'The only people who count in any
marriage are the two that are in it.' There is a simple alchemy to their
relationship: she's goofy, flat-out in love with him and he with her.
'They don't kiss. They devour each other,' says one aide. He needs
her - for intellectual solace, political guidance and spiritual
sustenance ....Clinton haters and even some supporters wonder whether
their marriage will end with the presidency. That seems wildly unlikely.
Neither Clinton plans to trade in a public career for shuffleboard. As
long as they're in the limelight, their turbulent partnership seems
certain to endure -- for better or worse. That's because they see
themselves in almost Messianic terms, as great leaders who have a mission
to fulfill. Her friends speculate that the Bible gives her a historical
context for what she's going through. 'There's a lot of consolation,
guidance and refueling that comes from reading about centuries-old
calamities,' says a friend. Given the storm they're in, it's a
source of inspiration they'll need."
"And Kathleen Willey also spoke about
Linda Tripp, a Clinton-basher who seems to be at every ugly turn in this
controversy. Tripp was outside the Oval Office when Willey emerged from
her encounter with the President...Just how is it that Linda Tripp is so
often conveniently involved in the President's troubles? For some clues
let's bring in The New Yorker's Jane Mayer, who has profiled the
controversial Miss Tripp in this week's issue. You write that co-workers
often viewed her as an inveterate busybody. Has she always been a snoop
and a gossip with a particular interest in other people's romantic
"On another front, there could be
trouble for the Ken Starr Whitewater investigation. Reports continue to
surface that this key witness for the prosecution, David Hale, may have
been secretly bankrolled by political activists widely regarded as Clinton
opponents, people that Clinton supporters call Republican haters from the
"The best defense it seems somehow is
going on the offense now. While seedy stories in the media seem to be
getting ever seedier. Each reporter in his turn sounds more and more like
Howard Stern. A great investigative boom reporting who did what to whom.
We see so many different styles of accusations and denials. When so much
mud around you flies, you are bound to get some in your eyes. When such a
war has been declared, everyone's in, nobody's spared. The jokes, the
snickers, and the flippery. The slope we're on is long and slippery. And
there is something in the air which this country best beware: for there is
danger in the dirt and lots of people could get hurt. And what we sow, we
someday reap. Last night as I laid down to sleep I dreamed an apparition
swarthy, the unshaved ghost of Joe McCarthy."
"I think, not to underestimate the
American public. If you just look at one story where the press really
almost entirely went one way and the public went the other way, was the
whole episode of Monica Lewinsky. I mean there you had a story where the
press was so consistently hostile on this story, and the public stood back
and said 'Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute, we're not going
to go along with it until we're a lot further down the road.' The
public is a lot more sophisticated because they've been exposed to too
many stories that turned out not to be true."
"My concern with this guy, Weston, is
he's a guy talking up this business about the evils of big government
and he's a nut case, but this is his rant and I wonder if, you know, in
some way the Republicans in this town haven't gone too far with this
kind of logic."
"It was a bill that was doomed to die.
The last time you heard people so eager to claim responsibility for
something like this, they were terrorists."
"CNN has learned the ranking Democrat
on the House Judiciary Committee plans to ask Attorney General Janet Reno
to investigate whether Ken Starr should be removed from office. Sources
say Congressman John Conyers is writing a long letter to Reno, accusing
Starr of repeated abuses of power, including pressuring witnesses to
commit perjury. The allegations are specific and serious, aimed at a man
who already has given many people the impression he's on a mission. That
may have a lot to do with Starr's religious and Republican
"You and I spoke right at the beginning of this second term. Now, with two years left, is it something you look forward to? Do you get out there and say 'I want to keep going out, I want to meet people, I have more stuff I want to do,' or do you look and go 'Oh, my God, two more years!'?"
"There's so much speculation now about what you're going to do. What Hillary Clinton's life is going to be after the presidency. Do you find that takes away from what you're going to do, or do you just like slough it off and pay no attention?"
"I've talked to several people and
they came up and said 'She's so different than I thought she would be.
She's so much more of a people person. She's funny, she's nice.'
Do you think that, like, people don't get you? I mean you get out there
and people see a different side of you."
"Will all of the media, including NBC,
give even a fraction of the airtime and the newsprint that we gave to
these allegations [Filegate, Whitewater, Travelgate] to the fact that no
impeachable offenses were found? When are we going to say to the President
of the United States, 'we're sorry'?"
"I think Republicans are doing a
rendition -- remember that old Zero Mostel parody Springtime for Hitler? I
think that's what they're doing. The moral charge against Bill Clinton
is being led by Newt Gingrich, the only Speaker in history to be
sanctioned for unethical conduct, the most unpopular political figure in
America. Dan Burton, the committee chairman, now has, at least according
to the Washington Times, has his staff wearing latex gloves because he
says left-wingers are sending him condoms in the mail. His staff aide, Mr.
Bossie, most reporters I know think was a duplicitous wacko."
"China has a one-child policy. Is that
a good idea for all countries?"
Dan Rather: "With the
economy humming, CBS's White House correspondent Scott Pelley reports,
President Clinton was singing his own praises, this time with the facts
and figures to back him up."
Cable news competition? Watching MSNBC at about 4:10pm ET on Wednesday I saw a live report from a snowy Worcester, Massachusetts neighborhood. The reporter: Mark Dedarian (sp?) of WHDH-TV, a Sunbeam-owned NBC affiliate in Boston. Dedarian was decked out in an orange jacket emblazoned with a "7 News" logo. When he was done I switched over to CNN, only to see three minutes later....Mark Dedarian in his orange "7 News" jacket live from the very same street.
Apparently NBC hasn't prevented its affiliates from signing deals with CNN.
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