Are There Any Clinton China Critics?
Clinton's Satellite Clairvoyance
1) Networks still glowing
about Clinton China performance. Only CNN acknowledged any critics exist.
ABC suggested jurors may not like Linda Tripp. NBC skipped Tripp and Dale
Young to spend time on UFOs.
2) Dan Rather jumped on a
judge's charge that an evidentiary argument by Starr's office is
3) FNC hiring Matt Drudge:
"Further proof that the term 'Fox News' is an oxymoron,"
whined one PBS star.
4) Geraldo Rivera raised the
satellite issue, not to examine its propriety but to admire its foresight
for making possible the live telecasts of Clinton's appearances.
Correction: The June
29 CyberAlert quoted Geraldo Rivera as saying Linda Tripp and Lucianne
Goldberg "were perfectly willing to sacrifice the young former White
House intern on the alter of greed, on the alter of hatred for Bill
Clinton..." As some church-going readers pointed out, that should
have been altar, not alter.
More glowing assessments for Clinton's performances in Beijing topped
the ABC, CBS and NBC evening shows Monday night and only CNN acknowledged
that not everyone back home is thrilled by Clinton's trip. CNN and FNC
led with the argument over attorney-client privilege for Bruce Lindsey and
a preview of Linda Tripp's expected Tuesday grand jury appearance. ABC
and CBS also ran pieces covering both with ABC's Jackie Judd suggesting
"the grand jurors just may not like her" because of her secret
recording, but not NBC, which did not utter a word on the Monica front.
So, other than a vague reference Sunday night, NBC Nightly News viewers
never learned about Dale Young's confirmation that Lewinsky related
details of her relationship with Clinton or how narrowly Clinton defines
"sexual relations" as described in her interview with Newsweek.
Some highlights of
the Monday, June 29 evening shows:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. Up first, Sam Donaldson on Clinton at Peking University
"talking about human rights and freedom." Donaldson showed clips
of challenging questions from students about human rights problems in the
U.S. and whether the U.S. wants to contain China before letting U.S.
Ambassador James Sasser insist that allowing the speech to appear on radio
and TV demonstrates China has undergone profound political change. From
Shanghai, Donaldson concluded:
"For the President the heavy lifting appears
to be over. Here in Shanghai Mr. Clinton meets and talks and discusses
things with a lot of people, but basically takes it easy convinced that
what happened in Beijing has made his trip a success."
Next, Deborah Wang
showed how the university students gathered outside the hall were more
enthused than those Clinton encountered inside. The show ended with a
taped piece from Peter Jennings on the building boom in Shanghai and the
history of the city.
Judd looked at the arguments before the appeals court over testimony from
Bruce Lindsey. Moving on to Linda Tripp's expected grand jury
appearance, Judd told Jennings that she can substantiate the tapes and
corroborate the testimony of others, "but the downside Peter is this
-- that the grand jurors just may not like her, they may not accept her
testimony, may not accept the testimony of a woman who says essentially
it's okay for one friend to secretly record another friend talking about
the most intimate details of her life."
Evening News. Scott Pelley began by painting a Clinton triumph that has
encouraged a Chinese dissident: "Today, on Chinese television, the
President carried a message of freedom into Beijing University..."
After some Clinton soundbites, Pelley continued:
"The openness stirred by the President has prompted one of China's
most famous political prisoners to speak out for the first time, Bao Tung
(sp?)spent eight years in prison, the highest-ranking government official
jailed in the democracy movement. He risked his liberty again to talk with
us..." Via a camera hidden in a bush, viewers saw the dissident talk
with Pelley on a park bench.
Like ABC, CBS ended with Shanghai as Barry
Petersen looked at the building boom and how residents put making money
ahead of political freedom.
Phil Jones checked
in with an update on Lindsey and Tripp. He explained the testimony of Dale
Young "bolsters" Tripp's tapes because she covers a time
before Tripp started taping. Jones told viewers that Young recalled that
Lewinsky told her Clinton broke off their relationship because "he
wanted Chelsea to be proud of him and he wanted to be a good husband and
he didn't want to do anything like this anymore."
-- CNN's The
World Today at 8pm ET led with Bob Franken on the attorney-client
privilege argument over Bruce Lindsey, what Dale Young recalled of what
Monica told her, and the upcoming Tripp appearance. Since Young has
renewed questions about the definition of "sexual relations,"
Greta Van Susteren came on to explain that sex is whatever a jury thinks
it is, not a narrowly defined activity as Clinton seems to be contending.
For the third story of the night, John King
examined various theories about Tripp's motives, calling them a "a
mystery within a mystery."
Fourth, live from
Shanghai Wolf Blitzer relayed the White House pleasure with Clinton's
Beijing performance, but also introduced a piece on detractors back home
who are not so thrilled, the only negative words of the night on any
network about Clinton's activities in China.
Charles Bierbauer found "those
less-impressed with the President's performance say delivering the human
rights message was essential. But expectations remain low." In a
soundbite a Chinese student in the U.S. argued little has really changed
Bierbauer elaborated: "Critics note Clinton
went to a government-approved church, not to those who pray
surreptitiously, and shunned meeting with Chinese dissidents. A decade
ago, Ronald Reagan met students at Moscow's university, and in the thaw of
glasnost shared smiles with Soviet leaders. But a former Reagan aide notes
a difference." CNN ran clips from Gary Bauer as well as Democratic
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi to show that "Clinton's critics,"
which the roadcast networks somehow can't find, "are both
Republican and Democrat."
Concluded Bierbauer: "The criticism won't
stop when President Clinton returns home. Republican Bauer says there's a
future campaign issue in the President's trip, suggesting Clinton gave the
Chinese redemption and got little in return."
7pm ET Fox Report opened with Rita Cosby delivering a rundown of Tripp and
Lindsey. On Dale Young, Cosby explained that she said Lewinsky told her
there was intimate touching, phone calls and oral sex, but not to
completion. That matches Clinton's denial of a "sexual
relationship," argued Fox News consultant Dick Morris. Reporter Jane
Skinner then profiled Tripp and how she got to her current position.
From Shanghai Jim
Angle delivered a report very similar to the other networks about
Clinton's Beijing University address.
Nightly News. Tom Brokaw's before the theme music tease: "President
Clinton in China, again speaking out forcefully for human rights."
David Bloom noted how Clinton praised individual
rights but the students shot back with hostile questions, which shows just
how nationalistic young generation has become compared to the class of
1989. Citing some trade deals Clinton signed, Bloom uniquely highlighted
how "The Clinton administration will now let U.S. companies share
highly technical information about America's most advanced nuclear power
plant designs. But, it's a controversial move."
Next, Jim Maceda
looked at student attitudes since Clinton met with skepticism about
freedom. For most students, Maceda asserted, "talk of human rights
and democracy is a waste of time." They are now more interested in
making money, but there is also an element of fear of what would happen if
they spoke out.
Zilch on NBC about
Lindsey, Tripp or Young but NBC made time for two pieces on pool safety
and a full report about scientists who want to study UFOs.
Dan Rather never misses a chance to disparage Ken Starr. Last Friday, MRC
news analyst Jessica Anderson reminded me, he was the only network anchor
to showcase this criticism from a judge:
"In Washington a federal judge today bluntly
described special prosecutor Ken Starr's tactics as, and I quote,
'really scary.' It was at a court appearance for long-time Clinton
family friend Web Hubbell. U.S. District Judge James Robertson's comment
came when Starr's team argued that it was proper to indict Hubbell again
on tax charges based on documents Hubbell supplied under a grant of
Cheap, anti-Fox News Channel and Matt Drudge shot of the week: From
"The Insider" column in the June 29 Electronic Media, an item
showing that though Ken Bode was absent from the June 19 Washington Week
in Review he moderates, so he could attend the graduation at the college
where he teaches, he was still delivering liberal analysis -- just to
fewer people. Greg Spring relayed:
"Grudge for Drudge. Kicking off the Medill
School of Journalism's annual convocation ceremony June 20 at
Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., new dean Ken Bode noted how
ironic it was that Medill was celebrating the graduation of a new crop of
journalists the same day that Internet columnist Matt Drudge premiered his
new talk show on the Fox News Channel. 'Further proof that the term
'Fox News' is an oxymoron,' said Mr. Bode."
"The most extraordinary thing is this: Presidents usually go abroad
to avoid their problems, not to underline them. No President has ever
flown right into the winds of his problems the way Clinton does tomorrow.
The President isn't leaving his difficulties behind. He's bringing them
with him. The President isn't compensating for his problems with his
foreign trip. He's compounding them....
"Clinton is under fire for his fundraising
practices. Many of them lead right to Beijing, the second stop on his
China trip. He's under fire for lending the prestige of his office to the
men who planned and prosecuted the Tiananmen Square crackdown in June
1989. He'll be standing there in Tiananmen Square on Friday, with many of
those very same men. He's under fire for compromising American security by
permitting China to enhance its missile capabilities. One of the principal
rationales for this trip is American national security."
Those words may
have seemed prescient to Boston Globe Washington Bureau Chief David
Shribman when they appeared last Tuesday, June 23, but with the networks
praising Clinton's joint press conference and Beijing University speech
and how they triumphed over any Tiananmen Square negatives(see June 29
CyberAlert) and reporters otherwise ignoring the whole China connection
issue, Shribman's worries have proven false, at least in network
show illustrated how far the networks are from caring about illegal
donations or technology waivers for supporters. MRC news analyst Geoffrey
Dickens noticed that in ending a piece celebrating Clinton for so
vigorously raising human rights in China, Geraldo Rivera raised the
satellite issue, not to examine its propriety but to admire its foresight:
"...It is fair to say it is undeniable that
the President has raised the issue of human rights. He hasn't just raised
it he has trumpeted it from virtually every rooftop in China. Ninety
percent of all Chinese homes have television. Interestingly one of our NBC
national security experts tells me that but for that controversial
transfer of satellite technology from our country to their's, neither of
those live broadcasts would have been possible."
There you have it.
It was all part of Clinton's long-term strategy to bring about democracy
so even if China has our best technology and ability to better target
nuclear missiles it won't matter because after a few talks from Clinton
they will embrace Jeffersonian democracy.
-- Brent Baker
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