Donaldson Gets Chinese Arrested;
Geraldo Protects Clinton
1) ABC and NBC focused
Thursday on the arrests of dissidents in what Sam Donaldson called "a
police state." Minutes later Peter Jennings said he learned "the
only people who think China is a communist country now live in
Washington." CBS took on Taiwan and Motorola.
2) Geraldo Rivera in
China for NBC's Today: Tiananmen Square no big deal, everybody loves
Clinton and don't care about Monica.
>>> The June 29 edition of Notable
Quotables has now been posted on the MRC home page by the MRC's Sean
Henry. Just go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org and you'll see it
The networks didn't use Clinton's arrival in China as a hook to focus
on Chinese donations to the Democrats or why technology waivers were
approved, but their reporting Thursday night hardly following the White
House script. ABC and NBC allocated more time to the arrest of some
dissidents than to Clinton's arrival, as both Sam Donaldson and David
Bloom contrasted Clinton's policy hope that prodding the Chinese will
lead to improvements, with the reality. "When it comes to political
dissidents," concluded NBC's Bloom, "it appears the Chinese
authorities aren't listening." And, "No matter what President
Clinton may say about progress," echoed ABC's Donaldson,
"China is still a police state." Over on CBS, Scott Pelley
looked at how China's concern about Taiwan is "overshadowing"
ABC also ran
stories on the new rich and old poor in China while CBS examined how
Motorola rationalizes working in a country with little respect for its
citizens and NBC traveled to Tibet.
China led the CBS,
FNC and NBC newscasts Thursday night, June 25. CNN began with Susan
McDougal's release from prison and the Supreme Court decisions topped
ABC. Every network briefly noted the grand jury appearance planned for
Tuesday by Linda Tripp. All but CNN, which led with a full report, ran
brief items on Susan McDougal's release.
Here's a rundown
of how much priority each network gave the various Supreme Court decisions
announced Thursday. ABC ran full stories on the four big rulings: line
item veto unconstitutional, HIV a protected status under the Americans
with Disabilities Act, NEA may consider decency when awarding grants, and
attorney-client privilege protects Vince Foster's comments to his lawyer
before he died. CBS skipped the NEA, mentioned the "setback for
Starr" on Foster and ran full stories on the line item veto and HIV
ruling. CNN provided full reports on everything but the line item, which
got a few seconds. FNC mentioned HIV and Foster and ran one story that
covered both the NEA and line item. NBC devoted the least time to the
rulings, ignoring the NEA decision, just mentioning the HIV and Foster
rulings while running a full report only on the line item veto.
from the Thursday, June 25 evening shows:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. Sam Donaldson opened with the welcoming ceremony in Xian
featuring and "effusive" greeting from the Mayor which was
reciprocated by Clinton. But, Donaldson contrasted, China rounded up human
rights activists, including a local middle school teacher. Donaldson
showed himself asking the Mayor about the teacher and then recounted his
"We sought out a friend of the arrested man
who promised us an interview. But when we drove up to his building
security officers, clearly expecting us, closed the gate. We tried anyway.
But a guard, brandishing her security identity card told us we couldn't
enter the building in order to protect state security."
After showing Clinton refusing to answer a
question about the round-up of dissidents, Donaldson concluded with this
"And here's the postscript to this story:
The man we went to interview but were not allowed to see, a 30-year-old
advertising executive named Yang Hi (sp?), was arrested a few hours later.
His family cannot learn his whereabouts. U.S. Ambassador James Sasser is
said to be protesting this and other arrests to Beijing, but it's an
incident, Peter, that further mars this trip and an incident that shows no
matter what President Clinton may say about progress, that China is still
a police state."
ABC dedicated A
Closer Look to "the new China." Peter Jennings asserted:
"Various Chinese tell us today that the only people who think China
is a communist country now live in Washington. Today in China, for many
people, it is really about the pursuit of wealth." Jennings told
viewers about a woman developing condos, an Internet café owner and a man
creating aquariums. Next, Deborah Wang showed the other end of Chinese
society: the majority who live in rural poverty.
-- CBS Evening
News. Scott Pelley showed a few seconds of the welcoming ceremony before
"Mr. Clinton wants to move ahead on human
rights, the environment and expanding trade but progress will be limited
by an issue that overshadows the summit: Taiwan. The Chines are obsessed
by regaining the island 90 miles off their coast...."
Recalling the flashpoint it was with the U.S. two
years ago that prompted Clinton to send in two aircraft carriers, Pelley
pictured trouble ahead as some Taiwanese leaders want complete
independence. Concluded Pelley: "Despite the high stakes, relations
between the U.S. and China can never be normal so long as Taiwan remains
the last beachhead of the Cold War."
"Journey to China" segment Dan Rather looked at how fast China
is changing, going in five years from roads packed with two-wheelers to
highways jammed with cars. The boom is presenting big opportunities for
Western companies, such a Motorola's cellular phone technology. Rather
talked with the President of Motorola's Asian division about the
challenges of introducing high-tech without letting China gain any
dangerous information. Specifically, safeguards Motorola imposed during
the Chinese launch of six satellites for Motorola's "Iridium"
worldwide phone system based on 66 satellites. At another point Rather
posed this leading question: "There has to be at sometime
conversations in the upper tiers of your management and leadership, listen
we're doing business, it's a great business, it's a good business
but in a country where the government in some ways treats its people
poorly. Do you have those conversations?"
-- CNN's The
World Today at 8pm ET. Live from Xian China at 8:12am Friday morning, Wolf
Blitzer focused his story on National Security Council efforts to get
China to agree to de-target U.S. cities. Blitzer also highlighted the
arrests of the dissidents and how Clinton ignored questions about them.
-- FNC's 7pm ET
Fox Report led with Jim Angle in China. Angle's angle: How no major
announcements or agreements are expected. FNC also showed Clinton ignoring
questions about the dissidents.
-- NBC Nightly
News. Tom Brokaw opened:
"Good evening. President Clinton had been in
China only a few hours when the issues of human rights and free speech
were forced into the open with the reported arrest of a dissident at the
President's first stop, Xian, the ancient capital south of Beijing. Mr.
Clinton was told of the reported arrest and in his public remarks he did
remind the Chinese that the success of America grows out of the freedom of
David Bloom explained how three locals were
detained. A woman told NBC how her husband Yang (sp?) "was arrested
just hours before President Clinton arrived as Yang tried to leave his
office for an interview with a U.S. reporter which could have embarrassed
the Chinese government." (Sounds like Donaldson.)
Human rights groups expressed outrage, but Bloom
noted, Clinton remained silent, ignoring questions and defending his trip.
Through a translator, the woman blasted Clinton: "Clinton once said
that the Chinese human rights situation has improved. I think it's
regrettable for a President to say such a thing. He doesn't understand
Bloom then offered Clinton's policy
prescription before concluding by describing it as ineffective: "The
President is convinced though that only by prodding China on human rights
while pursuing a broad range of issues will progress be made. When it
comes to political dissidents, here in Xian at least, it appears the
Chinese authorities aren't listening."
Next, Jim Maceda
looked at the plight of Tibet where the people have been
"seduced" with jobs and services and the Chinese pour in. Kids
pledge allegiance to China not the Dalai Lama, Maceda explained before
passing along this alarm: "In exile the Dalai Lama warns the flood of
Chinese men and money will kill Tibet's freedom more efficiently than any
Later in the show
Jim Miklaszewski highlighted how Trent Lott and Newt Gingrich are using
their clout "to bring home the pork." Gingrich got more
C-130 cargo planes built by Lockheed Martin in his district than the Air
Force wanted and Lott added $50 million for an aircraft carrier to be
built in Mississippi that the Navy doesn't want it. Miklaszewski ended
with this scolding:
"Both sides have always used the Pentagon
budget to win votes back home, but now that Defense spending is tighter,
when lawmakers add money in one place the services have to give up
something else. It may be good politics, but critics call it bad budgeting
that could eventually take a toll on national defense."
But no worse than
just cutting divisions and equipment as Clinton has since taking office.
Since Wednesday NBC's Today show has featured a story each morning from
Geraldo Rivera in China. So far we've learned he's baffled about why
anyone is upset about a ceremony in Tiananmen Square, has discovered that
everyone loves Clinton and has approvingly passed along in a promo that
the Chinese care more about "the fate of the Japanese Yen than
whether or not the President had a yen for a young intern named
morning, June 24, he insisted: "This place is different than any in
the United States. It's hard to explain just why the President's
decision to come here is so very controversial. Tiananmen is part Bunker
Hill, part White House lawn and part Times Square. It's not just the
place where they meet and greet visiting dignitaries. Virtually every
major political event in Chinese history has echoed off these walls."
MRC news analyst
Geoffrey Dickens also caught this exchange:
Katie Couric: "Geraldo,
meanwhile I understand that, the adulation for President Clinton by the
people over there is palpable. So he is going into very friendly territory
in that regard."
Rivera: "The people here,
and it is impossible for the central government to manipulate this, are
ecstatic. Everything I have heard, everything I have seen, everything I
have read. The people are sweeping up in front of their homes, they are
painting, they are polishing. Everybody is, extremely, extremely
noticed this promo Wednesday night on CNBC:
"The President is getting out of Dodge. Hi
everybody I'm Geraldo Rivera reporting from China on the first
controversial visit here by an American president since the Tiananmen
Square massacre nine years ago. On the agenda: everything from human
rights to guided missiles, to the current economic crisis in Asia. And I
tell you folks around here they are much more interested in the fate of
the Japanese Yen than whether or not the President had a yen for a young
intern named Monica. Join me tonight, Rivera Live from China."
Monica. But couldn't Geraldo apply his investigative zest to tracking
down a few of the campaign finance scandal figures who have been granted
refuge in China?
-- Brent Baker
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