"Gorbachev of China;" Funneling
Fumbled; Competition or Liberal Bias?
1) Quote of the Weekend:
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift dubbed Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin "the
Gorbachev of China."
2) "Nothing has been
proven" in the over-hyped Monica mess; Bryant Gumbel prefers France
where the media aren't so sex "obsessed."
3) Forced abortions and
campaign money funneling were raised at the Hong Kong press conference,
but Friday night not a word on abortion and only CNN mentioned the
4) ABC and CBS ignored the
e-mail showing Tripp tried to end her relationship with Lewinsky.
Newspaper revelations about Chung and satellites skipped by all.
5) CNN's retraction: Before
the original story Jeff Greenfield promised it would "make news"
as it "comes multiply sourced." Most blamed competition, but
ABC's Cokie Roberts blamed liberal bias.
Quote of the holiday weekend, from Newsweek's Eleanor Clift on the
"I think the President is acknowledging a
new China, a commercial power. And China understands that if they're
going to globalize their economy and be a member of the family of nations
they've got to have rules that are modern and that means a legal system
and that means expanding freedoms. I think that Jiang Zemin, the Chinese
President, could well be the Gorbachev of China in the sense that he will
try at least preside over this change in a peaceful fashion."
Another week of Public Eye, another liberal shot from Bryant Gumbel who is
using the platform of the soon-to-end CBS show to spout his views while he
still can do so. MRC news analyst Jessica Anderson caught this loaded
introduction to a July 1 story on how the French are so much more
reasonable in how they approach sex:
"Over five months have passed now since
those first over-hyped reports alleged a sexual relationship between
President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Although Mr. Clinton has denied it
and nothing has been proven, the mere suspicion seems to have obsessed a
good number of media people and other Americans. What some view as high
scandal in our country, is barely cause for concern elsewhere. Richard
Schlesinger takes a look at the French connections."
At Clinton's wrap-up press conference late Friday afternoon Hong Kong
time (5:30am ET), a reporter (Larry McQuillan of Reuters, I believe) asked
him if he had pressed Jiang Zemin about sending campaign money into the
U.S. and CNN's Wolf Blitzer inquired if he had raised the issue of
forced abortions. Friday night, however, matching coverage of the previous
ten days, none of the four network evening stories mentioned forced
abortions, and only CNN alluded to campaign donations funneled from China.
In his The World Today story, Blitzer led into a soundbite from Clinton on
how he accepts Jiang's denial of any knowledge, by observing: "On
several sensitive issue Mr. Clinton seemed to take President Jiang at his
word. The Chinese leader, for example, had forcefully denied China had
funneled campaign cash into Mr. Clinton's Democratic Party." The
night after Jiang made his comment at the Beijing press conference, only
Bill Plante on the CBS Evening News told viewers about it -- in one brief
sentence. But ABC and NBC viewers have yet to hear anything about it.
All the stories
did highlight answers to questions by CBS's Scott Pelley as to why
Clinton did not meet with dissidents and NBC's David Bloom about whether
Clinton expects democracy to come to China. The answer to the latter
became the biggest news out of the press conference: yes. (All the
newscasts Friday, Saturday and Sunday night led with the Florida fires.)
July 4 the CBS Evening News did find time for a Chinese outrage and
Clinton failure, running a story by Jacqueline Adams about how the Lincoln
Center operators are upset that Clinton neglected to raise the issue of
how China had barred the Shanghai Opera Company from traveling to New York
City to perform a 22-hour-long opera. NBC Nightly News delivered a piece
about how the Chinese people were thrilled by Clinton's visit.
Here's how each
of the four network stars traveling with Clinton wrapped up his nine-day
trip in the conclusions they delivered to their July 3 stories, the first
night since Monday, June 29 that the three broadcast networks all aired
full stories on China:
-- Sam Donaldson,
on ABC's World News Tonight, told anchor Forrest Sawyer that China gave
Clinton a forum to push human rights and he gave them a rejection of
Taiwan becoming an independent state. He then concluded: "Many saw
this trip of the President's as a gamble. If so Forrest, he appears to
have won it, at least for now."
-- Scott Pelley on
the CBS Evening News: "The tour will most likely be remembered as the
time the President put Tiananmen Square in the past while making only
slight progress on democracy's future."
-- Wolf Blitzer on
CNN's The World Today: "The President's aides concede most of his
critics back in Washington are unlikely to be impressed by this visit to
China. Still, they insist Mr. Clinton did the right thing and predict this
trip will eventually pay huge dividends for the United States and
-- David Bloom on
the NBC Nightly News: "His critics say he came to China, saw much,
but changed little. And if the legacy of this trip is the piecemeal
release by China of a few well-known dissidents, even many of Mr.
Clinton's supporters will say he failed. But Mr. Clinton argues that
America now has a strategic partnership with China, one that he is not
prepared to walk away from no matter how long the march from communism to
democracy may be."
ABC and CBS skipped the release of e-mail on Thursday, July 2 showing that
Linda Tripp tried to break off her relationship with Monica Lewinsky well
before she went to Ken Starr. CNN, FNC and NBC all cited the messages in
full stories on Tripp's second day of testimony, but ABC didn't utter
a word about her appearance and CBS held her testimony to a brief item
read by anchor John Roberts. The July 2 Washington Post and New York Times
delivered two China scandal-related revelations, but all the networks,
both in the morning and evening, ignored them both.
"Chung Secured Treasury Meeting for
Chinese Petrochemical Firm" announced the headline over the
Washington Post story. Reporter George Lardner Jr. opened:
"Democratic contributor Johnny Chung,
boosted by the Democratic National Committee, secured a meeting at the
Treasury Department in the fall of 1995 on behalf of China's biggest oil
company, according to new information released by House GOP investigators.
"Chung pleaded guilty in March to a scheme
to illegally funnel money to the Democrats' 1996 campaign and is now
cooperating with the Justice Department. He has told investigators that
DNC officials knowingly accepted tainted contributions from him. The
documents from the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee reveal
that then-DNC Co-Chairman Donald L. Fowler helped Chung arrange a meeting
at Treasury for a delegation headed by Huaren Sheng, President of China
Petrochemical Corp. (SINOPEC), a huge state-owned conglomerate that
employs 900,000 people. Sheng was hoping to secure low-interest loans for
expansion of his refineries in China...."
In the New York
Times on Thursday Jeff Gerth revealed:
"While the Clinton administration continues
to re-examine whether to allow a $650 million satellite sale to a
Chinese-controlled company, the State Department has blocked the son of a
Chinese general from working on the sale.
"Shen Jun, the son of Lt. Gen. Shen Rongjun,
is a manager in Southern California at Hughes Space & Communications,
the manufacturer of the powerful commercial satellite.
"The State Department issued a license in
1996 allowing the younger Shen, a Canadian citizen, to work as an
interpreter in connection with design talks about the satellites with the
customer, a consortium with close ties to the Chinese military.
"But the license was suspended last week,
while Congress presses questions about the role of the United States in
China's rocket and satellite projects. Officials are examining Shen's role
in the project as well as the capabilities of the sophisticated
satellites, which are to be the cornerstone of a commercial mobile phone
network planned for China and 21 other Asian countries but which also
could be used to eavesdrop on thousands of phone calls in the
Clinton was only
in China, but I guess the networks couldn't think of a hook for the
CBS, CNN and FNC
Thursday night featured full reports on Clinton's day in China beginning
with his boat trip to highlight the environment. Scott Pelley of CBS
followed standard liberal analysis in telling viewers that China must
choose between the environment or economic progress.
from some of the Thursday, July 2 evening shows:
-- CBS Evening
News. "The reason" China is so polluted, Scott Pelley contended,
is that "the communist industrial revolution is powered by
coal." Pelley concluded with AlGorian thinking about how progress
leads to more pollution when in fact new technology is the answer to
reducing pollution: "Mr. Clinton is pledging to help with money and
know-how, but China faces a painful choice: closing dirty factories leads
to unemployment and unrest. The issue for China is how to lift a billion
people into the middle class without doing serious damage to the
-- CNN's The
World Today. Bob Franken provided a full report on Tripp's appearance,
including the release by someone close to her of e-mail showing she tried
to end her close relationship with Lewinsky. Tripp wrote: "Please
give me a break, I can't take this" and "The information alone
is a heavy burden, one that I did not ask for." Franken highlighted a
CNN/Time magazine poll demonstrating how Tripp has suffered in the media.
52 percent see her unfavorably, 12 percent favorably and 36 percent never
heard of her. "Has Ken Starr acted responsibly?" Yes said 31
percent, no replied 52 percent. What part of the 52 percent overlap with
the clueless 36 percent?
-- NBC Nightly
News. Lisa Myers explained the Tripp e-mail messages before asserting that
on the "talking points" memo "legal sources now say the
memo apparently was written on Lewinsky's home computer, but that she
definitely had help."
CNN's Thursday afternoon decision to retract their "Valley of
Death" story aired on the June 7 NewsStand: CNN & Time, has
generated much news coverage and space does not permit a full airing here
of all the issues involved, so I'll try to stick to delivering material
that will probably be fresh to you on several fronts. The report completed
for CNN by attorney Floyd Abrams, as well as the statement by CNN CEO Tom
Johnson, are on the CNN Web page: cnn.com. The direct address for the
Abrams report: http://www.cnn.com/US/9807/02/tailwind.findings/
For Johnson: http://www.cnn.com/US/9807/02/tailwind.johnson/
coverage by the competition: All the networks ran full stories Thursday
night. All but CBS also ran through the other recent media embarrassments:
Boston Globe and New Republic writers making up material and a Cincinnati
Enquirer reporter stealing voice-mail messages. On the CBS Evening News
Jim Stewart concluded by emphasizing: "Both CNN and Abrams insist
there is no evidence anyone at the network deliberately set out to deceive
the public. The reporters and producers believed in their research and
they believed everything they wrote, Abrams said, there just weren't
enough facts there to back it up."
-- That darn
videotape. Here's a blast from the past CNN NewsStand co-host Jeff
Greenfield would rather I not remind you about. MRC news analyst Eric
Darbe went back to our tape of Greenfield's June 5 appearance on Imus in
the Morning, to promote the upcoming blockbuster story, and discovered
some hype that's embarrassing in retrospect:
Jeff Greenfield: "I have to tell you, you
know, I think you know, that I have done this show a number of years and I
have, I have tried not to sort of hype and go 'Oh my god!' you know
'we've got something coming up.' The first story we've got Sunday
night is gonna make news, real news, 'cause it's about a black ops
operation by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. This stuff comes
multiply sourced by people who were involved in the mission and all I can
tell you at this point is that both the target of the mission and the
means used to try to carry that mission out are really most
Imus: "What kind of an operation?"
Greenfield: "Black, it was a black
operation. I mean off the books super secret, you know deniability if it
ever got out, because they were doing things, they were aimed at targets
and using methods that, even now 28 years later, it's gonna to raise a
lot of eyebrows about what the gov, what the military was up too."
Actually, a lot
more eyebrows about what CNN was up to.
Greenfield's new line, as quoted in the July 3 Atlanta
Journal-Constitution: "'Clearly there's a whole lot of people who
should have looked at this a lot harder, and I'm one of them.'...
'It's like what Robert Kennedy said about Vietnam,' Greenfield said.
'There's enough blame to go around.'" (Greenfield wrote
speeches for Kennedy.)
But not enough to hurt any of the top people like
CNN/USA President Rick Kaplan, who developed NewsStand, or Peter Arnett,
the on-air reporter for the story whom, The Washington Times noted Sunday
and Kaplan confirmed on Reliable Sources, conducted two of the interviews
-- What's to
blame: competition or liberal bias? The journalistic community consensus:
competition, but ABC's Cokie Roberts actually cited liberal bias.
Leading into a soundbite from Tom Rosenstiel of
the Project for Excellence in Journalism, Thursday night NBC's Jim
Miklaszewski relayed the majority view: "So what's going on? Media
critics claim the explosive growth in 24 hour news outlets has created an
Saturday night on ABC's World News Tonight
Carole Simpson talked with Marvin Kalb, now at Harvard and formerly with
CBS and NBC, about how the demand for ratings are to blame for media
errors. She then offered another explanation: "One of the other
things that seems to be going on in the news industry is that older people
are leaving. Do you think young people are lacking some of the wisdom that
the old heads could provide, because they're not there in the newsroom
Reality Check: CNN reporter Peter Arnett has been
around for more than 30 years and Jack Smith, the Senior Producer fired by
CNN, looks to be (and I hope I'm not guilty of ageism) well past 50 in
age. He's been a network producer at least back to the early 1970s.
But just hours
after Simpson's theory aired, ABC colleague Cokie Roberts suggested an
explanation along the lines advocated by the MRC. On Sunday's This Week
"This plays into the whole conservative view
of the liberal media, which is that it's a fundamental view of a America
that is essentially anti-American. It is saying that the American military
is such an evil institution that it will go out and do this to its own
Glad you now see
what we've been talking about for all these years. Now if only you'll
concede liberal bias impacts other topic areas as well.
-- Brent Baker
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