1) A busy
news day on the Clinton scandal front on Friday, but you'd never know
it if you watched the network news. Network producers were greeted by
this Washington Post headline: "FBI Had Overlooked Key Files in
Probe of Chinese Influence." But they ignored it as none of the
morning shows contained a syllable about the latest Justice Department
misstep, a revelation which at least partially vindicated Fred
Thompson's charge about Chinese money.
A few hours
later on Capitol Hill Johnny Chung met behind closed doors with the
House investigating committee. In Dallas, lawyers for Paula Jones
deposed Gennifer Flowers.
Post reporter Bob Woodward's November 14 top of the front page story
has acknowledged overlooking key intelligence information gathered as
far back as 1991 that investigators believe shows further Chinese
government efforts to buy political influence in the United States,
senior U.S. government sources said yesterday.
General Janet Reno learned of the new evidence on the night of Nov. 5.
A senior Justice Department official said Reno was 'livid' at the FBI
foul-up and two days later apologized to Sen. Fred D. Thompson (R-Tenn.)
for failing to disclose information that was germane to Senate
hearings into campaign fund-raising abuses. Thompson had suspended his
committee's hearings Oct. 31....
newly discovered intelligence, much of it culled from electronic
surveillance conducted by the FBI and other U.S. agencies over the
past six years, includes evidence of the magnitude and means by which
Beijing hoped to influence U.S. elections, several officials said. The
evidence also shows links between the Chinese government and several
U.S. citizens, including a Democratic fundraiser in Los Angeles whom
several officials characterize as an 'agent' for the Chinese.
Officials would not provide details of the highly classified
belatedly discovered files indicate that Maria Hsia -- a Taiwanese
American immigrant who for a decade has raised money for Democratic
causes -- was 'doing the bidding' of Beijing as a Chinese agent, a
senior official said.
became significantly involved in Democratic Party fund-raising in 1988
with James Riady, a wealthy Indonesian businessman who once lived in
California and whose Lippo Group has been at the center of inquiries
over the past year into campaign finance irregularities. Hsia, 46, set
up an Asian American fund-raising group called the Pacific Leadership
Council with Riady and John Huang, later a Democratic National
Committee fund-raiser. The two largest recipients of PLC money in the
1990 election cycle were then-Sens. Albert Gore Jr. (D-Tenn.) and Paul
worked closely with Huang and was co-chair with him of an April 1996
luncheon attended by Vice President Gore at the Hsi Lai Buddhist
temple in California...."
on Friday's morning shows. NBC's Today put a higher priority, MRC
analyst Eric Darbe observed, on a first hour interviews with Bill
Cosby and a Mir space station astronaut as well as a full report on
the "teacher rapist" in Washington state. The second hour
featured a segment on how to choose the right sports bra.
So, how about
Friday night when the networks had time to put together pieces and
explain how they may have to revise criticism of Fred Thompson's
claims about Chinese influence? Only CBS mentioned Woodward's story,
ABC and CNN each noted the talk with Flowers, but not CBS or NBC, and
only CNN uttered a word about Chung. NBC decided to skip all of it.
here's the entirety of Friday night coverage of Woodward's China
angle, a 29-second item read by Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News:
new twists today in the investigation of sleazy political campaign
fundraising, an alleged China connection and FBI bungling of evidence,
if that's what is was. Confirming today's top story by Bob Woodward in
the Washington Post, the FBI said it just discovered more
counter-intelligence files that were previously overlooked, some going
all the way back to 1991. The raw files -- never analyzed -- relate to
accusations that communist China sought to buy political influence
with U.S. campaign donations."
Flowers got 16 seconds of vagueness from World News Tonight anchor
Dallas today Gennifer Flowers has been conferring with lawyers for
Paula Jones in her sexual harassment case against the President. Miss
Flowers claims that she had a 12 year affair with Mr. Clinton. Paula
Jones' legal team is trying to establish a pattern of behavior for Mr.
Clinton in their case against him."
wiped out Friday's Inside Politics on CNN, but World Toady at 10pm ET
ran a full story from Bob Franken on Gennifer Flowers. Afterwards
anchor Joie Chen read a 15-second item on the appearance of Johnny
Chung before the House committee.
But, you say,
the November 14 evening shows were packed with news about Iraq, a
developing story far more important than any scandal news. Well, not
News Tonight had no time for the China angle or Chung, but did squeeze
in a full story on parents in Texas upset by supposedly racy lyrics
used by five-year-olds in a cheerleader competition.
News couldn't make time for Flowers or Chung but did make room for Dan
Rather's "El Nino Watch" interview with a meteorologist
about the winter forecast, region by region.
News didn't bother with anything about the day's three scandal
stories, but did have plenty of time for news beyond Iraq. NBC
featured full stories on the teacher rapist, how Carlisle, Iowa is
dealing with publicity for the impending septuplets (followed by an In
Their Own Words segment from parents of quintuplets) and an Act of
Faith series segment on people bilked by those preying on those who
pray -- hucksters who fool Christian believers into investing in
scams. Plus, an American Spirit piece on a Vietnam hero, a man who won
the Silver Star for rescuing another Marine, but never got it. The men
in his squad re-submitted the paperwork so he would get the medal.
Fine stories, but hardly breaking news.