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 CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Friday July 10, 1998 (Vol. Three; No. 108)

Arnett Attacks "Right-Wing Media;"
NBC Embraces Cosby's Hateful Tirade

1) Peter Arnett complained about "the right-wing media," after CNN decided not to fire him. Explaining why he has no responsibility for his story, he insisted he's "primarily an action reporter." CNN is "too bloody cozy" with the military, a fired producer charged.

2) More disturbing news about technology transfers to China, but the networks don't care. Only CNN and FNC care about Tripp.

3) ABC, CBS and FNC, but not CNN, pointed out how science proves implants did not cause the heath problems claimed by women. NBC endorsed Camille Cosby's claim that she's a hate crime victim.

4) Camille Cosby blamed modern Americans, the Founding Fathers, the Voting Rights Act and Christians for making her son's killer hate blacks.


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) "I was being trashed on a daily basis in the right-wing media. I felt my reputation going down the tubes," whined Peter Arnett to the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz after CNN News Group Chairman/CEO Tom Johnson decided to take no further action against him beyond the already announced reprimand. CNN made Arnett cut off his vacation and fly to Atlanta for an 8am meeting Wednesday morning on the NewsStand story. After the three-hour meeting Johnson released this statement: "Peter Arnett's reprimand stands. No further personnel actions are planned."

     Kurtz observed in his July 9 story that "many CNN journalists question why Arnett was merely reprimanded while the two producers on the story were fired and the top executive of NewsStand resigned. 'There's no doubt I feel the resentment in the hallways,' Arnett said. 'I feel a sense of hurt and uneasiness on the part of some of those I meet. I can understand that young people feel I have somehow betrayed their trust.'"

     Arnett quipped to Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Phil Kloer: "At one point I thought, 'Which is tougher: the bombing of Baghdad or being bombed in Atlanta?'"

     At least after falsely accusing Americans of war crimes he feels bad that his colleagues are disturbed.

     New York Times reporter Felicity Barringer on July 9 put a face to the anger, quoting CNN's other famous foreign correspondent:
     "Arnett's defense -- that he was simply doing the bidding of the producers of the new program NewsStand: CNN and Time and reading words written by others -- has proved a particular irritant to some of the other network correspondents. Christiane Amanpour, whose reporting from arenas like Bosnia and Iran has given her high visibility, vehemently denied that, when reporting for a newsmagazine program like Impact, she narrates reports developed by others, as Arnett suggested in an interview. 'I believe, contrary to what Peter Arnett appears to believe, that a network correspondent should be responsible for what he or she says on the air,' she said in a telephone interview today. 'I believe that we have our face, our name, our voices and our credibility, and therefore we should be responsible for' such reports."

     Arnett defended himself to Kurtz, insisting: "I was the host correspondent." Arnett boasted: "I'm primarily an action reporter. I was never informed that my face on the air gave me responsibility for a major story. In the field, I have to answer for everything I say and do. To many, it's shocking that I could be so detached. But this was a team effort. I'm a company guy. You want me to read a script, I'll read it."

     Having responsibility for what you say, what a novel concept. And one he has yet to accept with his stories about the Iraqi "baby milk factory."

     Johnson relieved him of responsibility. Barringer quoted Johnson: "'On this, he did exactly what he was asked to do. He read the script for air and turned the information over to producers. Including the interview with the pilot' who denied that he had carried tear gas as part of his armaments."

     CNN's decision pleased the fired producers. Barringer reported: "Ms. Oliver and Smith both applauded the network's decision to retain Arnett. 'This is a victory for reporters everywhere,' Smith said. 'I am delighted that Peter Arnett's job has been saved, provided it's unconditional and that CNN management did not force him to take any positions that Peter felt he was forced to agree to, to save his job.'"

     After all, Oliver and Smith still believe their tale and don't hesitate from disparaging their former employer. "Smith said CNN buckled because of a 'too bloody cozy' relationship with the military," USA Today's Peter Johnson relayed July 9.

     Smith's attitude certainly suggests an anti-military liberal perspective drove the story more than the often blamed "competition" for a hot scoop in 24-hour news market.


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) More disturbing news Thursday about technology transfers to China, but not a word about it on the networks. The AP's Tom Raum reported Thursday afternoon:
     "China has obtained weapons-capable technology from the United States that goes far beyond that of satellite exports, Congress was told Thursday by the former director of the Pentagon agency that oversees technology security.
     "'The export-control system is falling apart' under the present jurisdiction of the Commerce Department, Stephen Bryen, director of the Defense Technology Security Administration during the Reagan administration, told a hearing by the Senate Armed Services Committee.
     "In particular, he cited Commerce Department approval of exports to China of supercomputers, machine tools, jet engines and high-tech furnaces. 'China has been able to get technology that was forbidden to the Soviet Union,' he said.

     "His testimony conflicted sharply with that of present officials of the Defense, Commerce and State departments, who told another Senate committee on Wednesday the current system was working fine and had strengthened, rather than weakened, export control in general."

     But the networks just don't seem to be interested in the story from any angle. They also skipped that Wednesday testimony and not even new questions about the lost circuit board prompted any attention. Raum reported: "Meanwhile, the Pentagon said it doubts that China stole a circuit board from a U.S.-made communications satellite that crashed in 1996 during an attempted launch atop a Chinese rocket. 'It is highly unlikely that the devices survived the crash because of the crash impact and high temperatures produced by the burning rocket propellants,' the statement said." See the June 25 CyberAlert for details on the allegation and coverage it generated.

     Thursday night, July 9, ABC and NBC led with the plan for a big anti-drug TV ad campaign, the teens sentenced in Delaware for killing their baby topped CBS and FNC while CNN went first with news that the Justice Department is appealing a 10th circuit ruling that prosecutors cannot promise leniency in exchange for testimony. ABC also did a piece on the ruling which Peter Jennings called a "bombshell."

     CBS, CNN and FNC all briefly noted that the judge in the Paula Jones case, agreeing to a request from Clinton's lawyers, has decided to not release all the papers and depositions involved in the case.

     Linda Tripp made her fourth grand jury appearance Thursday as Maryland pursues a case against her for taping, two developments highlighted only by CNN and FNC. On The World Today, CNN's Wolf Blitzer asserted:
     "The bad blood between Monica Lewinsky and Linda Tripp is about to get worse. Two sources close to Lewinsky's legal team tell CNN, the former White House intern is ready to cooperate with a Maryland state prosecutor who is investigating whether Tripp violated state law by secretly recording her phone conversations with Lewinsky. The sources say Lewinsky is prepared to say under oath that she neither approved nor knew that Tripp was taping any of their phone calls. She's ready to cooperate 100 percent, CNN was told. Under Maryland law, it's a felony if only one party records a phone conversation without the other's consent, but to get a conviction, the prosecution must show the party recording the conversation knew it was illegal to do so."

     FNC's David Shuster on the Fox Report explained why Starr's office and Tripp say they are not worried about the Maryland action: "All of the tapes are in the hands of the Washington grand jury and in order for Maryland prosecutor Steve Montanarelli to get them, he would have to seek approval from the judge in charge of the Lewinsky grand jury and prosecutors are convinced there is no chance Norma Holloway Johnson will give a state prosecutor evidence that is under seal in a federal investigation."


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) Wednesday night ABC, CBS and FNC led with the news that a judge had accepted a proposed settlement in the class action lawsuit against Dow Corning over silicone breast implants. All at least mentioned that science does not support the women, but while CNN also ran a piece its story failed to report that scientists have found no link between implants and health problems.

     Clinton's gun initiative topped CNN and on CBS reporter Scott Pelley told viewers: "In a plea from the White House Mr. Clinton called on America to lock up its guns. He stood with Suzanne Wilson, whose daughter was murdered in the Jonesboro, Arkansas massacre." Only FNC's Brian Wilson followed the mother's plea ("Don't let what happened in Jonesboro happen to your town") with a dose of reality: "But later White House aides all but admitted the laws they are proposing would not have applied in the Jonesboro shooting. One analyst believes this is more about politics than policy." Wilson played a soundbite from Sterling Burnett of the National Center for Policy Analysis.

     NBC lent credibility and heft to Camille Cosby's racist vitriol, blaming white America for her son's murder, by mixing her diatribe in with a story on a hate crime hearing featuring the daughter of the man murdered in Jasper, Texas.

     Oddest story of the night: CNN's Jeannie Moos on Al Lewis, better known as "Grandpa Munster," collecting signatures to get on the ballot as the Green Party candidate for Governor of New York.

     -- On the Dow Corning settlement the networks conceded science is on Dow's side.
     Jackie Judd on ABC's World News Tonight: "Dow does not admit the implants caused any serious harm and recent scientific studies cast doubt on linkage between implants and systemic diseases, such as lupus."
     Jacqueline Adams on the CBS Evening News: "The Dow Corning settlement could end six years of controversy for a company that points to medical studies that show silicone breast implants cause no harm."
     Steve Brown on the Fox Report: "But Dow seemed to have science on its side. Two dozen studies done in the U.S. and abroad all suggest that there is no connection between the implants and disease."
     Charles Molineaux on CNN's The World Today, however, failed to report what scientists have found: "Dow Corning still disputes claims that its implants caused the broad assortment of health problems blamed on them, like lupus and immune system disorders."


     -- NBC Nightly News on hate crimes and Camille Cosby. Tom Brokaw opened: 
     "Good evening. Often the phrase hate crime seems to be kind of abstract, just another headline. Well today in Washington the real meaning of hate crime was unmistakable. It was defined in unforgettable fashion by the daughter of a black man killed simply because he was black."
     Gwen Ifill began by showing testimony to a Senate committee from Renee Mullins, the daughter of the black man dragged to death in Jasper, Texas. So far, the story made sense. A Hate crime victim talking about a hate crime. But then Ifill delivered this transition:
     Mullins: "It's just a pity to have to die because you're a different color than someone else."
     Ifill: "Exactly the same sentiment echoed by comedian Bill Cosby's wife Camille today one day after a Los Angeles jury convicted Ukrainian Mikail Markhasev of murdering her son, saying in USA Today that she believes her son's murder was also racially motivated, writing, 'I believe America taught our son's killer to hate African-Americans.'"
     Professor Ronald Walters, University of Maryland: "We have a barbaric problem of race in America that many people have tried to sweep under the rug. I think it's peeked out from underneath that rug and we need to deal with it forthrightly."

     A bit of a stretch from Ifill since Cosby's son was murdered buy a Ukrainian immigrant who robbed him in order to get money to buy drugs.

     CBS, CNN and FNC all ran short items on Cosby's outburst, but they did not give it the credibility Ifill offered by featuring it in a story on a real hate crime.


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) So what did Bill Cosby's wife, Camille Cosby, assert? Normally I wouldn't cover comments from the wife of a celebrity, but since she is so prominent, the media have picked up her comments and they are so preposterous, I think it's worth the space and your time to read them. So, here are some excerpts from her July 8 op-ed in USA Today:

America Taught My Son's Killer to Hate Blacks

By Camille O. Cosby

I believe America taught our son's killer to hate African- Americans. After Mikail Markhasev killed Ennis William Cosby on Jan. 16, 1997, he said to his friends, "I shot a nigger. It's all over the news."...

Presumably, Markhasev did not learn to hate black people in his native country, the Ukraine, where the black population was near zero. Nor was he likely to see America's intolerable, stereotypical movies and television programs about blacks, which were not shown in the Soviet Union before the killer and his family moved to America in the late 1980s....

Yes, racism and prejudice are omnipresent and eternalized in America's institutions, media and myriad entities. Here are a few examples:
- The Voting Rights Act signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965 will expire in 2007. Congress once again will decide whether African-Americans will be allowed to vote. No other Americans are subjected to this oppressive nonsense.

- African-Americans, as well as all Americans, are brainwashed every day to respect and revere slave-owners and people who clearly waffled about race. In truth, the enslavement of millions of Africans immeasurably enriched the treasuries of America's government and individuals. Interestingly, several slave-owners' images are on America's paper currencies: George Washington ($1), Thomas Jefferson ($2), Alexander Hamilton ($10), Andrew Jackson ($20), Ulysses Grant ($50) and Benjamin Franklin ($100)...

- God and most Christian holy people artistically have been recreated in images of whiteness. This shrewd propaganda undeniably lessens the worthiness of most of the Earth's people. Because of those visual constructs, the churches have a deep problem with race....

Ennis William Cosby was shot and killed in a middle-to upper- middle-income, predominately white community. The misperception immortalized daily by the media and other entities is that crimes are committed in poor neighborhoods inhabited by dark people.

All African-Americans, regardless of their educational and economic accomplishments, have been and are at risk in America simply because of their skin colors. Sadly, my family and I experienced that to be one of America's racial truths.

Most people know that facing the truth brings about healing and growth. When is America going to face its historical and current racial realities so it can be what it says it is?

      White on black hate crime is a problem that quite reasonably concerns blacks, but as one expert at the Senate hearing on hate crime observed, many more whites are murdered by blacks in the U.S. than blacks are murdered by whites.

     Cosby's views are not quite the same as expressed by the character played by Phyllis Rashad. But then she doesn't benefit so directly from the millions Bill Cosby earns each year as arguably, with Bob Hope his only real competition, the most enduring and popular humor man over the past 30 years in this black-hating culture. -- Brent Baker

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