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All The News That's Fit to Skip: Network Apathy Toward Chinese Contributions and Espionage

Conclusion: How to Cover Foreign Policy Fairly

If the networks desire to present the fullest and fairest portrait of all America’s foreign-policy imbroglios, it wouldn’t have to simply compare the Clinton administration to the Reagan or Bush administrations. It could compare them to the Clinton campaign manifesto from 1992, Putting People First. On pages 133-139, the following promises were made:

• "Preserve the attributes that have made the American military the best in the world: the outstanding quality of our personnel and the overwhelming superiority of our technology...

• "Get tough with countries and companies that sell these [missile] technologies and work with all countries for tough, enforceable, international nonproliferation agreements...

• "Condition favorable trade terms with repressive regimes — such as China’s Communist regime — on respect for human rights, political liberalization, and responsible international conduct."

Political observers expect partisans to be partisan, whether they’re Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative. But they don’t expect the networks, which claim to be objective, to choose which scandal to cover based on whose ox is gored. If the networks see their role as holding accountable all branches and all administrations of the government, then their coverage ought to better represent a single strategic standard. If the network pundits can deplore the partisan back-tracking when Republicans chat up peace plans with dictators and deplore NATO adventurism, and Democrats no longer see the need for a War Powers Act to restrain the President’s powers, shouldn’t they first consider their own partisan track record on investigating and reporting foreign-policy scandals and counter-intelligence failures?