Rosenberg a Victim; Lashing Limbaugh
Rosenberg's Soviet handler concedes Rosenberg was a spy, but ABC and CBS
still portray him as a victim.
newspaper story ties misuse of CIA files to a Clinton fundraising effort,
but ABC ignores the discovery.
News makes a big deal about a station dropping Rush Limbaugh. But given
the station is it really newsworthy?
Revolving Door column. U.S. News shores up its liberal staff; two ABC
veterans find homes on Clinton's team.
(Some people have sent e-mails
requesting examples of bias from Bryant Gumbel. To see some, read the Best
Notable Quotables of 1996 and the special December 30, 1996 Bye-Bye-Bryant
edition. Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/nq)
"Julius Rosenberg Spied, Russian Says: Agent's Handler Contradicts
Moscow in Controversial '50s Case," announced a headline on the front
page of Sunday's Washington Post. But as happened when Alger Hiss died
last fall, the networks saw the 1950s spy case through a left-wing prism.
Rosenberg's handler, contradicting what liberals have maintained, has
confirmed that Rosenberg had indeed been a spy and passed along critical
information on military electronics, including the atomic bomb. But CBS
and ABC found another angle to emphasize.
(March 17) CBS This Morning, news anchor Jose Diaz-Balart reported:
KGB agent who worked with Julius Rosenberg says Rosenberg and his wife
Ethel were not the top spies they've been made out to be. The Rosenberg's
were executed in 1953 for giving the Soviets blueprints for the atomic
bomb. The former KGB agent says Julius Rosenberg did pass some secrets to
Moscow, but nothing useful for building the bomb."
On the March 16
World News Sunday, ABC reporter Jim Wooten began his story:
longer much debate over whether Julius Rosenberg was a Soviet spy. But
after all these years a few questions still remain. Did he pass on atomic
secrets? Was his wife Ethel involved? Was their execution justified? No,
to all three answers Alexander Feklisov a former KGB agent in a
documentary to be broadcast on the Discovery Channel next Sunday...."
After a soundbite
from Feklisov, Wooten continued: "Fifty years ago Feklisov was the
Soviet contact for Rosenberg and a network of other agents in New York
City. He says Rosenberg did hand over important military material, but not
atomic secrets. Historian Walter Schneir always a defender of Julius
Rosenberg, has now changed his mind..."
of Schneir and historian Ronald Radosh, who always believed Rosenberg was
guilty, Wooten concluded:
they seem persuasive, they may not convince many of those who still insist
the Rosenbergs were the first casualties of the Cold War."
So, there at
least was some debate as to Rosenberg's guilt until Feklisov came forward
and Wooten realizes that some still consider Rosenberg a victim. So,
doesn't that argue for the Washington Post's lead, that the news here is a
Soviet agent confirming Rosenberg's guilt -- not the level of spy work he
CBS insisted he
passed along "nothing useful for building the bomb" and ABC
asserted that he didn't "pass along atomic secrets." How anxious
would a Soviet like Feklisov be to admit the Soviets really needed help
and couldn't have built the bomb on their own? Even if he wasn't key to
the atomic project, Feklisov reported that Rosenberg passed on a lot of
useful information. In a Cox News Service story carried in the March 16
Washington Times, husband and wife reporting team Joseph Albright and
Marcia Kunstel showed otherwise. Rosenberg gave Feklisov "a
hand-drawn diagram of a lens mold used in making the U.S. atomic
bomb." Feklisov recounted how Julius Rosenberg gave him a proximity
fuse. Albright and Kunstel explained the importance:
proximity fuse was one of the four most important secret breakthroughs by
American physicists that helped turn the tide of World War II, Daniel
Kevles, a scientific historian at the California Institute of Technology,
said in a book published in 1971. Soviet SA-2 missiles equipped with
proximity fuses shot down six U-2s," including the Gary Powers plane.
veteran [Feklisov] said the fuse was so 'highly evaluated' by Soviet
specialists that it spawned a Soviet crash project right after the
The Clinton scandal coverage died over the weekend, and even a major
revelation didn't prod ABC Monday night. As noted in the March 14
CyberAlert, NBC Nightly News didn't air a word about fundraising last
Wednesday or Thursday. Nightly News didn't change policy over the weekend:
not a word appeared Friday night, Saturday night or Sunday night. ABC and
CBS were also silent Friday as was ABC on Saturday night. NCAA basketball
dunked CBS Evening News on the east coast Saturday and Sunday.
On March 16 ABC's
World News Sunday devoted 23 seconds to anchor Carole Simpson recounting
how, on Face the Nation, Senator Orrin Hatch insisted that the White House
knew of the FBI probe into Chinese attempts to buy influence.
Street Journal carried a front page story on how DNC Chairman Don Fowler
overruled a NSC recommendation that Roger Tamraz not be allowed into the
White House. Tamraz is a Lebanese businessman wanted for questioning in
his country about missing bank funds. The Journal reported that after the
NSC's Sheila Heslin said she opposed the Tamraz visit, "Ms. Heslin
told associates Mr. Fowler argued that Mr. Tamraz had helped the U.S. in
the past and that the CIA would send her a paper on him. A short time
later, officials say Ms. Heslin received -- unsolicited by her -- a CIA
document on Mr. Tamraz." The Journal concluded that in the Tamraz
case fundraisers went beyond perks, "defying the President's national
security advisers and even deploying secret intelligence
ABC's World News
Tonight: nothing, though John Donvan offered a story on Anthony Lake's
impending withdrawal. The CBS Evening News did air a full report by Rita
Braver on Tamraz. On the NBC Nightly News Jim Miklaszewski picked up on
the Journal story to show how the "DNC used the CIA for political
Later in the show
Lisa Myers told a hard-luck story of an 81-year-old lady who wrote 60
checks totaling $1,600 to Democratic groups, claiming that her
"family complains she was robbed by mail." Myers explained that
the letters "warned of 'devastating' results if Republicans won,
'ruthless attempts to gut Social Security and Medicare,' said 'for the
sake of the nation' her money was 'desperately needed.'"
All the networks
have done pieces on terrible conservative groups which supposedly scare
the elderly out of their money, so it was nice to see Myers zoom in on the
other side. After noting how the liberal letter writers were using scare
tactics about an end to Medicare, Myers could have tied that in to an
overall 1996 campaign of false and mean-spirited attacks by liberals. But
no, instead she employed the both sides do it defense: "Elderly
groups say exaggeration and scare tactics are favorite tools of
fundraisers in both parties."
The lead item in the Washington Whispers page in the March 24 edition of
U.S. News & World Report: "In Delaware, the Rush is Off: For the
First Time, a Top Radio Market Drops Limbaugh." It's liberals who
delight in any setback for Limbaugh, making you wonder about the
perspective on life of those at U.S. News who thought this so newsworthy.
"top" radio market? Wilmington, Delaware. The MRC research
library is a bit behind on buying a new Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook,
but the 1988 edition lists Wilmington as the 76th radio market, just ahead
of McAllen, Texas. With apologies to any proud Delawareans, I must note
that media-wise, Wilmington is really a suburb of Philadelphia. The
station in question, WILM, a 1,000 watt AM at 1450, has a fraction of the
coverage area of WWDB, a full power FM station in Philadelphia that
carries Limbaugh and easily covers northern Delaware.
U.S. News quoted
the station manager as asserting that Limbaugh had "peaked in
audience interest" and become "predictable."
The only thing
becoming more predictable at U.S. News is its liberal tilt under new
Editor James Fallows, a perspective further solidified by the recent
hiring of a Clinton administration official. The February MediaWatch
Revolving Door column which follows below details the recent hiring
decisions at the magazine, plus two ABC News veteran who have taken new
positions in Clinton's team. -- Brent Baker
Revolving Door, from the February MediaWatch:
U.S. News &
World Report Editor James Fallows, a former speechwriter for President
Carter, continues to shore up the liberal talent at the top of the
magazine so that now the top three editors directing news coverage once
toiled for Democrats. The latest addition: In February he brought aboard
Steve Waldman, a Clinton Administration operative, as Assistant Managing
Editor (AME) for national news. For the past year Waldman's been promoting
AmeriCorps as policy adviser for planning and evaluation to Harrison
Wofford, the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National
Service. Until January of 1996 Waldman was Newsweek's Deputy Washington
Just after taking
the top editorial position last September, Fallows promoted AME Harrison
Rainie to Managing Editor, the number two slot at the magazine. Before
jumping to U.S. News in 1988 Rainie served as Chief-of-Staff to Democratic
Senator Daniel Moynihan.
An on-air ABC
News veteran has traveled with Madeleine Albright, the United Nations
Ambassador and newly confirmed Secretary of State, from New York City to
the State Department in Foggy Bottom. Rick Inderfurth covered national
security, the Penatgon and Moscow for ABC News between 1981 and 1991. At
the U.S. Mission to the UN Inderfurth held one of three Ambassador slots
under Albright who has named Inderfurth Assistant Secretary of State for
South Asian Affairs.
now worked for virtually every foreign affairs-related government
operation. In the 1970s he toiled for Carter's National Security Council
staff and later became Deputy Staff Director for the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee, jumping to ABC when the GOP took control of the
the only journalist implementing Clinton policy. Strobe Talbott, Deputy
Secretary of State and former Time Washington Bureau Chief, "intends
to remain in that job," USA Today reported February 12. State
Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said Talbott will stay "well
beyond this summer and well into the future."
At least three
other media veterans are sticking with the White House staff.
Communications Director Donald Baer, an Assistant Managing Editor at U.S.
News before leaping to the White House in early 1994, will stick around
through July. He was planning to leave, The Washington Post reported,
"but agreed to stay after appeals from" Chief of Staff Erskine
Bowles and Bill Clinton....
who went from a producer at ABC's Nightline to Clinton's National Security
Council where she handled press relations, then to Newsweek's Washington
bureau -- all in two years -- has spun through the revolving door again.
She's back at the NSC "working on identifying foreign policy
priorities for the second term," reported The Washington Post....
campaign Press Secretary and former ABC News and CNN staffer Joe Lockhart
has landed in the White House as Senior Adviser for special projects in
the press office. Lockhart put in a stint as an ABC assignment manager in
Chicago before moving to CNN as a deputy assignment editor until joining
the 1988 Dukakis-Bentsen presidential effort as a traveling press aide.
-- L. Brent
Bozell III, Publisher; Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham; Editors
-- Geoffrey Dickens, Gene Eliasen, James Forbes, Steve Kaminski, Clay
Waters; Media Analysts
-- Kathleen Ruff, Marketing Director; Carey Evans, Circulation Manager;
Brian Schmisek, Intern
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