Praising Bill Lan Lee; X-Files on the Military's Cold War Hoax
- Nets go three
for three: Nothing on Gore and Molten Metal, House hearings or
discovery of a Whitewater check payable to Bill Clinton.
- ABC paints
Clinton's civil rights nominee, Bill Lan Lee, as a victim of
Republicans who care more about politics than doing right.
- Fox's X-Files
delivered a left-wing history lesson about the military scam that
fooled people into funding the Cold War.
- 20/20 would
not ever interview Marv Albert insisted Hugh Downs a few weeks
ago. Guess who is on tonight?
1) Whether it
involves the Vice President, White House delays in document release or
evidence the President made false statements in Whitewater,
developments in all these scandals have one thing in common: the
networks don't care about any of it. Here's what viewers haven't
learned about each:
Like the Wednesday evening
shows, Thursday's morning shows failed to mention the House
subcommittee hearing about allegations of favors for donations in the
Al Gore/Peter Knight/Molten Metal Technology matter.
What if you have hearings and
nobody hears that they even occurred? On Thursday, the House
Government Reform and Oversight Committee chaired by Dan Burton held
its second day of hearings, but none of the broadcast networks
Thursday night told viewers anything about them. Even CNN's Inside
Politics skipped the event. When the committee first met back on
October 8 the CBS Evening News devoted half of a story to the
proceedings while both ABC and NBC ignored them.
In Thursday's hearing
committee members questioned White House lawyers about the delay in
releasing documents and the coffee videos. CNN's AllPolitics Web page
recounted that lawyers Charles Ruff and Cheryl Mills "were
questioned on the 15-month delay in handing over a White House
staffer's memo. The note suggested that President Bill Clinton wanted
a White House database integrated with one belonging to the Democratic
Party. Mills said she and former counsel Jack Quinn made the decision
to withhold the note from the committee since it did not fall into one
of the seven categories of information requested by Indiana GOP Rep.
David McIntosh's reform subcommittee. Burton characterized the White
House legal staff as engaging in an unprecedented stonewalling of
The memo made Washington
Times and Washington Post headlines last Friday, October 31, but the
networks ignored it then too.
"Check From S&L to
Clinton Found in Ark. Junkyard: President Said Madison Never Gave Him
Loan," announced a November 6 Washington Post headline on page
A-15. The Washington Times put the discovery on the front page. But
the broadcast networks didn't pick up on the story Thursday morning or
night, though CNN's Inside Politics ran a piece. Bob Franken
"The vicious tornadoes
that ravaged Arkansas last March brought President Clinton back to his
home state to inspect the damage. They also may have churned up a
strange new lead in the Whitewater investigation, one that's raising
new questions about the President's sworn testimony. There in the
trunk of one of the many wrecked cars were documents, thousands of
pages from a bank owned at the time by Jim McDougal, Whitewater
partner of the Clintons, now in prison for fraud and conspiracy.
According to the repair shop owner who claims to have discovered them,
among those documents was a 1982 cashier's check from McDougal's bank.
The check was for over $20,000, and payable to Bill Clinton. Last
year, President Clinton denied under oath during pre-taped testimony
for the first Whitewater trial that he ever received a loan from
McDougal's bank. The President's lawyer, David Kendall, called the
whole story far-fetched...."
To see if any of these
matters get mentioned on Friday's morning shows, check the MRC Web
site Friday afternoon for the latest MRC Media Reality Check fax
report put together by Tim Graham.
2) The three
broadcast shows led Thursday night with developments on the Iraq
front, observed MRC news analyst Geoffrey Dickens who stayed late to
track coverage for today's CyberAlert. CBS had no time for the
fundraising hearing, but the Evening News did make time for a story on
another hearing -- about the dangers of music lyrics which urge
suicide. On the "El Nino Watch," Dan Rather ominously warned
that a forecast from UN predicts food shortages in 25 countries. NBC
Nightly News aired a lengthy piece on how Florida seniors don't think
doctors understand their medical needs.
Only World News Tonight picked up on the battle over Clinton's nominee
to serve as Assistant Attorney General in charge of civil rights.
While Linda Douglass allowed Senator Orrin Hatch to explain his
opposition, he was outnumbered four-to-one in soundbites. ABC framed
the story as a tale of a mistreated American success story, not as a
story of how the nominee, Bill Lan Lee, wants to further the racial
spoils system and insists on fighting public will in California's Prop
209 vote. As transcribed by Geoffrey Dickens, ABC offered this
sympathetic picture of a victim of conservative racial apathy:
"In Washington today
there is a nasty political battle going on about the fate of a man who
everyone seems to acknowledge has been, at least up until now, a
classic example of an American success story. His name is Bill Lan
Lee. And he is the President's choice to run the civil rights division
at the Justice Department. Mr. Lee who is Asian-American has been a
supporter of affirmative action as is the President. Which makes Mr.
Lee's nomination the latest battleground in the campaign to end
affirmative action. Here's ABC's Linda Douglas."
Linda Douglas: "Bill Lan
Lee seemed to be the perfect candidate to be the nation's head of
civil rights. He grew up in Harlem, the son of penniless Chinese
immigrants and watched his father suffer discrimination as he worked
in a laundry. But Lee went on to win a scholarship to Yale and later
became one of the country's leading civil rights lawyers representing
Edward Kennedy: "He's
devoted his life and career to finding practical solutions to real
life problems of discrimination and bigotry."
Douglas: "But today the
Republican Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee described Lee as
an affirmative action zealot who would twist the law to fit his
Orrin Hatch: "It's time
for us to take a stand against these policies that are dividing
America and ripping us apart."
Douglas: "Hatch's stance
is only recent. Coming after weeks of pressure by conservative groups
to defeat Lee. And last week House Speaker Newt Gingrich took the
unusual step of sending a letter to the head of the Senate arguing
that Lee, 'seems to ignore the color blind nature of the
Constitution.' But Democrats charge Republicans are just using Lee as
a way to attack President Clinton for supporting affirmative
Joseph Biden: "I think
you all have the wrong bill. I think this is about Bill Clinton not
about Bill Lee."
Douglas: "Some of Lee's
defenders believe it is easier for Republicans to go after Lee because
he is not black but Asian-American."
Karen Narasaki, Asian Pacific
American Consortium: "The Senators have been much more aggressive
about going after Bill Lee because many of them come from states where
there are not large Asian-American constituencies."
Republicans chose not to speak today but with civil rights leaders
looking on [video of Jesse Jackson, Mfume and others] emotions ran
high. Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy choked back tears as he talked
about the discrimination faced by his father, an Irish
Pat Leahy: "There is not
a Bill Lan Lee or anybody else willing to enforce a civil rights law.
Had there been my father's life would have been a lot different. I do
not want to see us backtrack."
Douglas: "Privately some
Democrats are gleeful believing that Republican's attacks on Lee may
backfire with minority voters. But many Republicans are willing to
take that chance gambling that the time is right to take on President
Clinton over affirmative action. Linda Douglas, ABC News,
night at 9pm ET the Fox drama series the X-Files will complete a three
show arc that began with last season's final episode. In the second of
the three, aired this past Sunday night (November 2) viewers were
treated to a lengthy history lesson about how the military used fears
of UFOs to fuel unnecessary Cold War spending and work on evil
biological weapons, all because "the business of America isn't
business, it's war."
To try to explain the X-Files
would take many a CyberAlert, but if you haven't seen the show here's
what you need to know: The show features FBI agents "Fox Mulder"
and "Dana Sculley." Mulder thinks the Earth has been visited
by aliens. Government efforts to cover up this fact have been the
basis for many episodes over the show's first four years. The cover up
involves murder and deception at the highest levels. Sculley is
Mulder's partner. She is more skeptical, but recently got cancer, a
disease Mulder thinks the government planted in order to kill her so
the truth will not be revealed.
In the November 2 episode a
Defense Department official upset that his son contracted a disease
during the Gulf War, a disease he thinks was caused by U.S. biological
weapons, tells Mulder that he has been the victim of a big hoax. In
short, the military had used Mulder and others over the years to
spread fear of UFOs so they could get more money to spend for more
terrible weapons. As transcribed by MRC intern Chris Martinez, here's
the history lesson viewers heard:
"This is the hoax into
which you have been drawn. The roots go back fifty years to the end of
World War II. Playing on a virulent national appetite for bogus
revelation and a public newly fearful of something called the atom
bomb, the U.S. military command began to fan the flames of what were
being called flying saucer stories. There are truths which can kill a
nation, Agent Mulder. The military needed something to deflect
attention away from its arms strategy, global domination through the
capability of total enemy annihilation. The nuclear card was fine as
long as we alone could play it, but the generals and politicals knew
what they could not win was a public relations war. Those photos from
Nagasaki and Hiroshima were not faces Americans wanted to see in the
mirror. Oppenheimer knew it of course, but we silenced him. When the
Russians developed the bomb, the fear in the military was not for
safety at home, but for armistice and treaties. The business of
America isn't business, it's war. Since Antetum, nothing has driven
the economy faster. We needed a reason to keep spending money. When
there wasn't a war to justify it, we called it war anyway. The Cold
War was essentially a fifty year public relations battle. A pitched
game of chicken against an enemy we not much more than called names.
The communists called us a few names, too. 'We will bury you'
Khrushchev said. And, the public believed it. After what McCarthy had
done it to the country, they ate it with a big spoon. We squared off a
few times in Cuba, Korea, and Vietnam, but nobody dropped the bomb.
Mulder asked: "What does
any of this have to do with flying saucers?"
The DOD official continued:
"The U.S. military saw a good thing in '47 when the Roswell story
broke. The more we'd deny it, the more people believed it was true:
Aliens had landed. A made to order cover story for generals looking to
develop the national warchest. They opened official investigations
with names like Grudge, Twinkle, Project Bluebook, Majestic 12. They
brought in college professors and Congressman and fed them enough
bogus fact, enough fuzzy photos, and eyewitness accounts that they
believed it too. They even hooked Doug MacArthur, for God's sake. I
can't tell you how gratuitous the timing of it all was. You know when
the first supersonic flight was Agent Mulder? 1947. Soon every
experimental aircraft being flown was a UFO sighting. When the
abduction stories started up, it was too perfect. We had almost gotten
caught in Korea, an ambitious misstep. China and the Soviets knew it,
and the U.N. got all heated up at us."
Mulder: "Germ warfare.
We were accused of using them in Korea."
DOD guy: "It was
developmental then, nothing like what we or the Russians have now. The
bio weapons used in the Gulf War were so ingenious as to be almost
undetectable. Developed right in this very building.
Mulder: "And, all these
reports of abductions -- you're saying they have all been lies."
DOD official: "Not lies
exactly but citizens taken unsuspecting and tested, a classified
military project above top secret and still ongoing. You have heard
the recent denials about Roswell by the military and CIA. What's been
the effect? Even wilder and more widespread belief, the American
appetite for bogus revelation, Agent Mulder."
Mulder: "But, I've seen
aliens; I have witnessed these things."
DOD official: "You've
seen what they wanted you to see. The line between science and science
fiction doesn't exist anymore. What this is about is control of the
very elements of life, DNA, yours, mine, everyone's."
Of course, in the best
X-Files tradition, this may all be a hoax -- the hoax was to convince
Mulder there was a hoax. By the end of the show there were suggestions
that aliens may really have visited the Earth. Tune in Sunday to learn
the "truth." And before you dismiss this as some low-rated
Fox thing that no one watches, since Fox moved it to Sundays last year
the X-Files regularly finishes in second place, beating two of the big
three network movies.
Albert on 20/20. No way. On the October 13 Larry King Live, the
Washington Post's John Carmody noted on November 4, Hugh Downs
insisted that his show would not stoop to interview Marv Albert. The
co-host of ABC's 20/20 maintained: "I am certain that I would say
no." How about Barbara Walters, King asked. Downs was steadfast:
"Barbara wouldn't do it."
On tonight's 20/20: Barbara
Walters interviews...Marv Albert.
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