As the month of July draws to a close, Rep. Dan Burton's House Government Reform and Oversight Committee is considering a contempt of Congress citation for Attorney General Janet Reno. She has failed to respond to a subpoena for memos urging her to appoint an independent counsel in the fundraising scandal. While the Monica Lewinsky story turns white-hot, the networks have continued to downplay or ignore new print scoops on the fundraising scandal:
July 2: The Washington Post reported that then-DNC Chairman Don Fowler helped Johnny Chung set up a Treasury Department meeting for China Petrochemical Corporation. The New York Times reported the State Department blocked Shen Rongjun, the son of a Chinese general working for Hughes Space and Communications, from working on a $650 million satellite sale to a Chinese-controlled company. TV coverage? Zero. Clinton was touring China, but the networks didn't find a news hook.
July 9: Associated Press relayed that former Reagan export-control chief Stephen Bryen told the Senate Armed Services Committee that China has obtained "weapons-capable technology" that was forbidden to the Soviet Union, while Clinton aides told another Senate committee the current system was working fine. Network coverage? Zero.
July 10: The Washington Post noted a federal judge ordered the Federal Election Commission to review Judicial Watch's allegations that the Clinton Commerce Department and the DNC offered U.S. businesses spots on trade missions in exchange for donations. The Post also reported that Gore fundraiser Howard Glicken pleaded guilty to charges of illegally soliciting and laundering $20,000 in foreign money in 1993 for Democratic Senate campaigns. Network coverage? Zero.
July 13: The Justice Department announced the indictment of Thai businesswoman Pauline Kanchanalak for laundering foreign money to the DNC. ABC and CBS each gave it 18 seconds, while NBC ignored it. None of the morning shows reported it.
July 16: The New York Times disclosed Sen. Fred Thompson read from FBI Director Louis Freeh's previously unread memo to Reno calling for an independent counsel, noting Freeh found the FBI probe led to the highest levels of the White House. Network coverage? Zero.
July 19: The Los Angeles Times reported that "the government failed to require Pentagon export-security monitors at seven of the 12 [satellite] launches that occurred during President Clinton's watch....And in five of the launches, the monitors now required by government regulations missed prelaunch planning meetings between U.S. and Chinese teams, though some experts consider these meetings even more critical to protecting secrets than the launches themselves." Network coverage? Not a word.
July 23: The New York Times revealed Charles LaBella, the departing chief of the campaign finance probe, concluded in a memo to Reno that she has no alternative but to seek an independent counsel. TV coverage? While NBC's Today carried two briefs, ABC's and CBS's morning shows aired nothing. That night, CBS and CNN filed full stories, but ABC and NBC did nothing. With this record of network avoidance, it's no wonder the Democrats claim the Clinton scandals are all about sex. - Tim Graham