Huang's China Sport; Journalists Aid the Enemy; Why Brokaw's Leaving
- The latest
stories ignored by TV: Huang aided Chinese Olympic effort; another
Clinton buddy got a high-paid "job" for Hubbell.
- The Executive
Editor of The Washington Post would not let a reporter deliver a
message that could prevent China from using a biological weapon.
- CBS schedules
Gumbel's show as CNN tries to nab Brokaw, prompting Letterman's
"Top Ten Reasons Tom Brokaw May Be Leaving NBC."
1) The guilty
plea of the Lums generated network stories last Wednesday, but the
networks have ignored two other Clinton scandal developments involving
John Huang and Webster Hubbell.
-- "Riady, Huang Aided
Chinese in Bid for Olympics, Documents Show," announced a May 21
Washington Post headline over a story that revealed how, before
joining the Clinton team, Huang worked to assist the communist regime.
The lead to the Post story:
"James Riady and John
Huang...worked together in March 1993 to arrange a trip to Atlanta for
a high-ranking Chinese Communist Party official involved in Beijing's
bid to win the Olympics in 2000, documents show. Huang and Riady
arranged the visit for Zhang Baifa, the First Executive Vice Mayor of
-- As noted in the May 21
CyberAlert, the networks skipped a May 20 Los Angeles Times story
disclosing how Mickey Kantor arranged for a federal job for Webster
Hubbell's son. The ever- growing list of Hubbell "jobs"
remains a story the networks rarely touch.
"Clinton Pal Jordan Got
Hubbell Job," read a front page USA Today headline on Thursday,
May 22. In addition to all the other previously disclosed deals for
Hubbell, reporter Edward Pound discovered: "Washington lawyer
Vernon Jordan, a close friend of President Clinton, helped land a
lucrative job for Webster Hubbell with a holding company controlled by
billionaire financier Ronald Perelman in the weeks after Hubbell
resigned from the Justice Department. Hubbell was paid more than
$60,000 by Perelman's MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings after Jordan
introduced him to the firm in April 1994, according to people familiar
with the arrangement."
Coverage. MRC news analysts
Clay Waters, Steve Kaminski, Gene Eliasen and Geoffrey Dickens
informed me: Not a word about either revelation on the Wednesday or
Thursday ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, CNN's The World
Today or NBC Nightly News.
evidence that some journalists see themselves above international
differences -- as being too petty to concern them. At least a few see
themselves as even too important to help preserve the security of the
nation which guarantees freedom of the press and thus allows them to
be so selfish.
The latest proof appeared in
a "Notebook" item in the May 26 New Republic:
"Still wondering why
journalists are such suspect citizens? Consider a scene at Nora, a
trendy Washington restaurant. Fifty or so media and political chummies
gathered to discuss a dilemma raised in A Firing Offense, a new spy
novel by a Washington Post editor, David Ignatius.
"In the book, a
Washington Post reporter cultivates sources at the CIA, who later ask
him for a favor. Will he, while traveling in China, pass a message to
a scientist that could not only save the scientist's life, but
possibly prevent China from developing a horrific new biological
"At the lunch, Ignatius
asked Bob Woodward what he would do. Considering the extraordinary
circumstances, Woodward said he would pass on the message, as long as
his Washington Post bosses approved. It just so happened that one of
those bosses, Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr., was
also at the lunch, and Downie rather passionately announced that, far
from approving Woodward's secret mission, he would resign from the
paper rather than allow it to go forward.
"Downie, who doesn't
vote in order to prevent himself from having political opinions,
apparently sees journalists as a priestly class above national
security, citizenship, even life and death -- as if we didn't have a
high enough opinion of ourselves already.
"What if it were not the
Chinese, someone asked, but the Nazis? Downie held to his position, if
wiltingly: 'Usually we look for alternatives...' Usually? How often
does this question come up at the Post?"
The New Republic report
reminded me of a story in the April 1989 MediaWatch on a PBS show on
how journalists should cover war. Peter Jennings and Mike Wallace
argued that the story should come before saving American lives, a
position that justifiably disgusted a Marine Colonel. Here's an edited
version of the 1989 MediaWatch article:
Peter Jennings and Mike
JOURNALISTS FIRST, AMERICANS SECOND
In a future war involving
U.S. soldiers what would a TV reporter do if he learned the enemy
troops with which he was traveling were about to launch a surprise
attack on an American unit? That's just the question Harvard
University professor Charles Ogletree Jr, as moderator of PBS' Ethics
in America series, posed to ABC anchor Peter Jennings and 60 Minutes
correspondent Mike Wallace. Both agreed getting ambush footage for the
evening news would come before warning the U.S. troops.
For the March 7 installment
on battlefield ethics Ogletree set up a theoretical war between the
North Kosanese and the U.S.-supported South Kosanese. At first
Jennings responded: "If I was with a North Kosanese unit that
came upon Americans, I think I personally would do what I could to
warn the Americans."
Wallace countered that other
reporters, including himself, "would regard it simply as another
story that they are there to cover." Jennings' position
bewildered Wallace: "I'm a little bit of a loss to understand
why, because you are an American, you would not have covered that
"Don't you have a higher
duty as an American citizen to do all you can to save the lives of
soldiers rather than this journalistic ethic of reporting fact?"
Ogletree asked. Without hesitating Wallace responded: "No, you
don't have higher duty...you're a reporter." This convinces
Jennings, who conceded, "I think he's right too, I chickened
Ogletree turned to Brent
Scrowcroft, now the National Security Adviser, who argued "you're
Americans first, and you're journalists second." Wallace was
mystified by the concept, wondering "what in the world is wrong
with photographing this attack by North Kosanese on American
A few minutes later Ogletree
noted the "venomous reaction" from George Connell, a Marine
Corps Colonel. "I feel utter contempt. Two days later they're
both walking off my hilltop, they're two hundred yards away and they
get ambushed. And they're lying there wounded. And they're going to
expect I'm going to send Marines up there to get them. They're just
journalists, they're not Americans."
Wallace and Jennings agreed,
"it's a fair reaction." The discussion concluded as Connell
said: "But I'll do it. And that's what makes me so contemptuous
of them. And Marines will die, going to get a couple of
3) Where will
you be Wednesdays at 9pm ET in the fall? Probably not watching CBS.
That's the scheduled time CBS announced last Thursday for Bryant
Gumbel's new, yet to be named, magazine/ interview show. When Gumbel
cut his deal with CBS in March, media reports on his annual take
pegged it at $5 million to $7 million. If Ted Turner has his way NBC's
Tom Brokaw will be pulling in a similar amount, but for five times
more hours. CNN is courting Brokaw with an offer of $7 million a year
for nightly prime time hour, the New York Times reported last
The news inspired David
Letterman's Top Ten list on Thursday night. From the May 22 Late Show
with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Reasons Tom Brokaw May Be
Leaving NBC." (Copyright 1997 by Worldwide Pants, Incorporated.)
10. Those drunken, late
night phone calls from Katie Couric
9. Can't handle grueling
8. NBC rejected his new
situation comedy, Seinkaw
7. Network had petty
objection to his making up the news as he went along
6. Ratings war causing
friction with his live-in companion, Dan Rather
5. Network won't let him
wear his lucky sombrero on air
4. Whenever he eats lunch
at the NBC Commissary, Willard's toupee rubs against his leg and
begs for table scraps
3. Heard that if you move
from NBC to CBS, you get a boatload of cash
2. Ted Turner's offering $7
million a year and a night with Jane
1. Decided that the NBC
Peacock is just "too creepy"
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