China Tie Quickly
Dropped; Horrible Hollywood Attack
1. The Chinese
connection got the usual network reception: ignored at first, then one
story, then dropped.
Jennings analogizes a North Korean defector to Thomas Jefferson.
Republican Party is controlled by "nasty" and "horrible
men" who are "the forces of darkness." So says a
After failing to report anything either Monday or Tuesday night about how
Clinton Press Secretary Mike McCurry admitted that the White House coffees
were designed to raise money, thus contradicting President Clinton's
assurances, on Wednesday night (February 12) ABC's World News Tonight and
CBS Evening News did run stories on Web Hubbell. The stories dealt with
Hubbell's release from a halfway house and his refusal to cooperate with
requests for documents. On February 13 NBC Nightly News caught up and ran
a Hubbell story. (See the February
for details on how only CNN's Wolf Blitzer highlighted the McCurry/Clinton
morning's (February 13) Washington Post revealed that the Justice
Department "has uncovered evidence that representatives of the
People's Republic of China sought to direct contributions from foreign
sources to the Democratic National Committee before the 1996 presidential
campaign." The news raised the possibility of economic espionage as
Post reporters Bob Woodward and Brian Duffy noted, "the information
gives the Justice Department inquiry what is known as a foreign
counterintelligence component, elevating the seriousness of the
fundraising controversy, according to some officials."
didn't exactly jump on the story. On Thursday morning:
-- ABC's Good Morning America: MRC analyst Gene Eliasen observed that news
anchor Elizabeth Vargas gave the news a brief mention in two hourly news
-- CBS This Morning: didn't mention it at all, but did manage to find time
to show four and a half minutes of co-host Jane Robelot learning to belly
-- NBC's Today: also couldn't find time for the Chinese connection news in
that morning's Washington Post, but news reader Ann Curry did squeeze in
this from another Thursday morning newspaper story: "The Los Angeles
Times is reporting that First Daughter Chelsea Clinton has been admitted
to Harvard University as a member of the class of 2001. She has until May
1st to make up her mind."
evening all three broadcast networks felt the allegation deserved a full
story. Each included a clip of President Clinton calling it "a very
serious matter" in response to a question posed during a late
afternoon press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
NBC's Jim Miklaszewski offered some details on the activities of John
"At the time of the electronic intercepts, John Huang worked at the
Clinton Commerce Department where he had frequent contacts with the
Chinese government. He also had a high security clearance: top secret. In
fact, government records obtained by NBC News show that on one day Huang
received a number of classified documents from the Commerce Department.
Phone logs show while he possessed those documents he the placed two calls
to his former employer, the Lippo Group, which has strong business ties to
China. And his appointment calendar shows on the same night Huang met the
Chinese ambassador here at the embassy."
Given the network
reluctance to pick up the story in the morning, however, makes you wonder
how much emphasis the story would have received if Clinton had not
commented on it.
networks have hardly been aggressive in their coverage. Here's what
happened on Friday morning:
-- ABC's GMA: No mention.
-- CBS This Morning: Nothing in the second hour. (A massive half inch snow
storm led Washington's CBS affiliate to air local "Storm Team"
coverage during the first hour.)
-- NBC's Today: The 7am news included a re-run of Jim Miklaszewski's
Nightly News story, but no further mention for the rest of the show.
Later on Friday,
in response to a request from Senator Richard Shelby for documents about
CIA Director nominee Anthony Lake's activities as head of the National
Security Council, the White House released some interesting papers. As The
Washington Post's lead Saturday front page story reported:
"White House aides sidestepped or ignored warnings from the National
Security Council staff about some contacts the President and Vice
President had with Asian American fundraisers now under federal
investigation...In one case, a National Security Council official warned
that a Democratic Party fundraiser was 'a hustler' trying to trade on his
connection to President Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton, even
presenting himself as a free-lance diplomat for the President. But White
House aides allowed him into the Executive Mansion at least ten more
times...The same NSC staff official also warned that a fundraising event
at a Buddhist temple should be viewed with 'great, great caution,' because
organizers 'may have a hidden agenda.'"
The New York
Times and Washington Times also put the story on the front page. The
networks on Friday night February 14:
-- CNN's Inside Politics ran a full story by Brooks Jackson.
-- ABC's World News Tonight: nothing.
-- CBS Evening News: not a word.
-- NBC Nightly News. Here's Tom Brokaw's complete report: "There's
more tonight on what looks like the Chinese connection to Democratic Party
politics. NBC's Jim Miklaszewski tells us a number of low level Chinese
government officials were brought to the White House by an Asian American
fundraiser for a photograph with the President, even though the
President's National Security Council had recommended they not be allowed
in. That was in 1995."
So, once network
producers saw the Saturday front pages they prepared stories? Wrong. The
ABC, CBS and NBC evening shows on Saturday didn't utter a syllable, but
CBS Evening News anchor Paula Zahn told viewers: "Independent
prosecutor Kenneth Starr has reportedly hit a snag in his Whitewater
investigation. According to a report in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette,
Starr has conducted four mock trials. In each, the jury acquitted both
President and Mrs. Clinton."
Peter Jennings made quite a stretch for an analogy on the February 13
World News Tonight. Introducing a story on the defection in Beijing of
North Korean official Hwan Jang Yop, Jennings explained:
"In much of the world today, including Washington, governments and
their diplomats are astonished still by the news that such a senior
official should have defected from communist North Korea to the South. A
diplomat in the Chinese capital Beijing said it was as if Thomas Jefferson
had bolted from the young United States."
Actor Alec Baldwin doesn't think much of conservatives. The star of the
Ghosts of Mississippi, who first gained fame as in The Hunt for Red
October in 1990, made his feelings clear in an interview in the February
issue of US magazine. MRC entertainment intern Kelly Weiss noticed this
US: "What do you predict the next four years are going to be like for
Baldwin: "I believe that the people who run the Republican Party in
this country are really rotten, nasty, horrible human beings and they want
to hurt him. They want to bash him; they're pissed. The forces of darkness
are going to try to give it to him bad."
US: "The Shadow speaks? Who are these evil men?"
Baldwin: "Newt Gingrich, who calls [Clinton] a lying scumbag every
chance he gets, and Al D'Amato, the paragon of senatorial virtue."
Gingrich a "rotten..horrible human being" is so much nicer than
Gingrich supposedly calling Clinton a "scumbag." Sounds like
Baldwin is the one in touch with the forces of darkness.
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