ABC & NBC Shunt Technology Transfers to China; Media Missed Liberal $
1) A bi-partisan congressional
committee determined technology transfers to China have harmed national
security. Network interest: 22 seconds on ABC and 26 seconds on NBC. Only
FNC reminded viewers that Loral's chief donated $100,000 to Democrats.
2) A liberal group actually
paid for a pre-election ad by anti-impeachment historians, "though
nobody in the major media seems to have bothered to discover this."
3) The second runner-up quotes
in "The Best Notable Quotables of 1998: The Eleventh Annual Awards
for the Year's Worst Reporting."
4) Cable competition? Minutes
apart the same reporter appeared live Wednesday on MSNBC and then CNN.
>>> Please be on the lookout for
us. As 1998 ends and 1999 begins I expect some columnists and editorial
page writers around the country, as well as talk radio hosts, will feature
excerpts from the MRC's Best Notable Quotables of 1998: The Eleventh
Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting. We normally learn of these
appearances weeks later. This year I'd like to feature, on our Best of
NQ Web page, links to the print ones. So, if you see a column or editorial
or a mention in a magazine over the next few days, could you please let us
know? And if those who write the pieces could send us a text file or alert
us to its location on the Web, we'll feature the piece on our Web page
complete with appropriate plugs and/or links for the publication. Send
your sightings to: firstname.lastname@example.org
the December 29 CyberAlert misspelled the first name of the Democratic
investigative counsel for the House Judiciary Committee. It's Abbe
Lowell, not Abe, as his name is pronounced like "Abby." The same
edition added an extra "L" to Susan McDougal's last name.
It's McDougal, not McDougall.
After months of whining by many in the media about the lack of
bi-partisanship in the impeachment debate, on Wednesday a special select
House committee of five Republicans and four Democrats released a
unanimous report which concluded that U.S. technology deals with China
have boosted the accuracy of their missiles and harmed America's
of the broadcast networks, only CBS considered it worth a full story.
ABC's World News Tonight gave it a piddling 22 seconds and NBC Nightly
News allocated a mere 26 seconds. FNC and CNN also provided full stories,
but only FNC reminded viewers that Loral's Chairman donated $100,000 to
Democrats just before his company earned a technology transfer waiver.
ABC and CNN led with Iraq firing missiles at U.S. planes, NBC began with
the "extreme weather," CBS opened with the China report and FNC
started with the report from the Oklahoma City bombing grand jury. All but
CBS featured full stories on Trent Lott's proposal for a short trial
followed by a vote on whether the charges are even impeachable, a plan
opposed by Henry Hyde. The stories included at least one soundbite from
Ohio Senator Mike DeWine who flew to Washington to make his case that the
Senate can only acquit or convict, not censure. NBC's Claire Shipman
added: "NBC News has learned that a group of conservative Republicans
in the House are poised to announce their support for censure, worried
that since it appears there aren't the 67 votes necessary to convict
him, the President might escape without punishment.")
Here's how each
network's Wednesday, December 30 evening show handled the China report:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. Anchor Kevin Newman gave it 22 seconds: "A report
released today by a special congressional committee claims that technology
deals over the past two decades with China have damaged U.S. national
security, but a lot of the details were not made public. The investigation
was begun after allegations that contributions to the Democratic Party
influenced the illegal transfer of satellite technology to China which
China then used in weaponry."
-- NBC Nightly News. Anchor Brian Williams took
26 seconds to relay: "Across town at Capitol Hill there is news that
a new report concludes some technology deals made between American
businesses and China did in fact hurt U.S. national security. The report
is from the special bi-partisan House committee and reveals China got
access not only to rocket and satellite technology, but also to sensitive
military technology. The report offers almost 40 different proposals to
keep that from happening again."
-- CNN's The World Today. Pierre Thomas
provided a full report with soundbites of select committee Chairman Chris
Cox and ranking Democrat Norman Dicks. Thomas emphasized the bi-partisan
aspect: "The 700-page report unanimously approved by five Republicans
and four Democrats focuses in part on two U.S. space and communications
companies, Loral and Hughes Electronics." But Thomas concluded by
worrying about the impact on relations with China: "The classified
report makes 38 recommendations, including some that would make it more
difficult for the Chinese to obtain U.S. technology. That could have a
chilling effect on U.S.-Chinese relations."
-- FNC's Fox Report. Gary Matsumoto summarized
the Cox committee report, explaining how after a 1996 crash of a rocket
carrying a satellite, in helping the Chinese identify the problem, Loral
transferred missile guidance technology to the Chinese. Over video of
Bernard Schwartz shaking hands with Clinton, Matsumoto uniquely reminded
viewers: "There's been lingering suspicion, still unproven, that
Loral CEO Bernard Schwartz, seen here with the President, received a
waiver to export the technology after making a $100,000 contribution to
the Democratic Party in June 1994. Schwartz says there was no connection.
It was a unanimous ruling reached by a bipartisan committee..."
-- CBS Evening News. Anchor John Roberts topped
"The alarm bells have been ringing for
years, over trade deals that sent U.S. military technology to communist
China. Tonight a congressional investigation has concluded that some of
those deals did in fact pose a danger to U.S. national security. Much of
the report is secret, but CBS's Jim Stewart has the big picture of how
American hardware and know-how wound up in China's war machine."
how "the business deals at issue date back to 1989 when former
President Bush, and later President Clinton, approved waivers allowing
U.S. satellites to be launched aboard Chinese rockets." He concluded:
"At least two more shoes are set to drop in this matter. Still
unanswered is whether any of those trade waivers were influenced by
campaign contributions to the Clinton administration and the outcome of a
Justice Department investigation into whether any U.S. companies broke the
law by giving the Chinese perhaps too much advice."
The alarm bells
have been ringing for years? Bells that haven't previously awoken CBS.
As two MediaWatch items from earlier this year detailed, except for FNC,
the networks have shown little interest in this non-Monica scandal.
From the June 1
Another Clinton headache arrived in the April 4 New York Times. Jeff Gerth
and Raymond Bonner reported the Justice Department was looking to
prosecute two defense contractors who may have illegally provided China
with space expertise that "significantly advanced Beijing's ballistic
missile program." But in February, Bill Clinton "quietly
approved the export to China of similar technology by one of the companies
under investigation." The Times noted the Chairman of that company,
Loral, one Bernard Schwartz, was the largest individual contributor to the
Democratic National Committee last year. Network coverage? Nothing except
on the Fox News Channel, which reported it 11 days later.
On May 15, the New York Times reported that
Johnny Chung told investigators that a large part of the almost $100,000
he gave Democrats in the summer of 1996 came from Liu Chaoying, who works
on defense modernization, such as satellite technology, for China's
People's Liberation Army. Two days later, the Times added how Clinton
overrode then-Secretary of State Warren Christopher's decision to limit
China's ability to launch U.S.-made satellites on Chinese rockets.
Where were the networks? On the 15th, in
the midst of heavy coverage of Frank Sinatra's death, ABC devoted 75
seconds to it, CBS 27, and NBC 15. Two nights later, ABC reported one
story, but CBS and NBC ignored it. A few nights later, the networks each
devoted a few seconds to Newt Gingrich's announcement of a special
committee to investigate the China matter (ABC 17, CBS 18, NBC 23). It
took CBS five nights before it aired a full story, NBC six (offering only
62 seconds in the first five nights)....
From the November 2 MediaWatch:
In a front-page story for the October 19 New York Times, reporters Jeff
Gerth and Eric Schmitt followed up on the controversial sale of missile
technology to China with a story on how Clinton's decision to relax
export rules, made after he met high-tech executives who later contributed
to the DNC, "enabled Chinese companies to obtain a wide range of
sophisticated technology, some of which has already been diverted to
So did the networks jump at the chance to
cover a story involving something other than Monica Lewinsky? No. After
spending months lamenting their obsession with sex scandals, the networks
did not devote a single word that night, the following morning or rest of
the week to the substantive issue of China diverting U.S. technology for
military use. While all the networks focused on Clinton's role in
negotiating a new Middle East peace accord, none have aired a single story
on the missile technology diversion story since early June....
Dishonest historians and disinterested reporters. In Wednesday's
Washington Times, Inside Politics columnist Greg Pierce picked up on a
fascinating item from the January/February issue of American Enterprise
magazine about how a liberal group actually paid for a pre-election ad by
anti-impeachment historians though, the American Enterprise Institute's
magazine observed, "nobody in the major media seems to have bothered
to discover this."
Under the heading
"Dishonest Historians," in the December 30 Washington Times
Pierce first set up the item:
"Earlier in the week, this column noted a
George magazine report that presidential adviser Sidney Blumenthal
orchestrated the 'nonpartisan' ad in which more than 400 historians
declared there was no reason to consider impeachment of the President. The
ad appeared in the New York Times just days before the November
He then quoted the
magazine's discovery that the media "missed one aspect of the
affair: the invaluable assistance these 'historians speaking as
historians' -- as one organizer put it -- received from People for the
American Way (PAW), a left-wing activist group."
Enterprise revealed: "Though the historians neglected to mention it
in their ad, or in their press releases, or at their press conference,
they were only able to publish their Times ad because PAW's tax-exempt
foundation purchased it for them and served as the receiver for the
donations that paid for it. The mailing address given in the historians'
ad is actually the Washington office of PAW, though nobody in the major
media seems to have bothered to discover this. Somehow we suspect that if
400 non-liberal scholars took out such an ad and listed an address that in
fact belonged to, say, the Christian Coalition, the information might come
out in news stories."
Here are the second runner-up quotes in 14 award categories in "The
Best Notable Quotables of 1998: The Eleventh Annual Awards for the
Year's Worst Reporting." (The December 28 CyberAlert ran the
winning quotes, the December 30 edition the first runners-up.) To pick the
winners and runners-up the MRC sent ballots to 50 media observers who
picked a first, second and third best quote in each category. First place
selections were awarded three points, second place choices got two points
and third place picks were assigned one point. Point totals are listed
after each quote. For the list of judges, see the December 28 CyberAlert
or go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/best/nq1998best.html
To read all the
quotes and see and hear the broadcast television ones via RealPlayer as
compiled by MRC research associate Kristina Sewell and Webmaster Sean
Henry, go to the same address: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/best/nq1998best.html
To check which quotes visitors to the MRC Web page picked and to see the
entire ballot, go to: http://www.mrc.org/bestofnq1998.html
and click on "Special Web Edition."
Below is the
second runner-up in the "Quote of the Year," followed by the
third place quotes in the "Presidential Kneepad Award (for Best
Lewinsky Impression)" through the "Carve Clinton into Mt.
Rushmore Award" with the "Hallucinating Hillary Award (for
Promoting the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy)" and the "Good Morning
Morons Award (for Foolishness in the Morning)" amongst those in
Quote of the Year -- Second runner-up
Washington Post media reporter
Howard Kurtz: "It's interesting to watch them, Ann Lewis
and others, dutifully drag themselves before the cameras yesterday and
saying, 'I know I've been telling you for months that this didn't
happen. Well it did happen, but no one cares and lets move on.' So their
own credibility has taken a hit."
Co-host Lisa McRee: "But it's also courageous
professionalism, some would say."
-- Exchange from ABC's Good Morning America, August 19, just after
Clinton admitted he misled his staff. [39 points]
Presidential Kneepad Award (for Best Lewinsky Impression) --
"'The only people who count in any
marriage are the two that are in it.' There is a simple alchemy to their
relationship: she's goofy, flat-out in love with him and he with her.
'They don't kiss. They devour each other,' says one aide. He needs
her - for intellectual solace, political guidance and spiritual
sustenance ....Clinton haters and even some supporters wonder whether
their marriage will end with the presidency. That seems wildly unlikely.
Neither Clinton plans to trade in a public career for shuffleboard. As
long as they're in the limelight, their turbulent partnership seems
certain to endure -- for better or worse. That's because they see
themselves in almost Messianic terms, as great leaders who have a mission
to fulfill. Her friends speculate that the Bible gives her a historical
context for what she's going through. 'There's a lot of consolation,
guidance and refueling that comes from reading about centuries-old
calamities,' says a friend. Given the storm they're in, it's a
source of inspiration they'll need."
-- Matthew Cooper and Karen Breslau, Feb. 9 Newsweek. [48 points]
Wired Wicked Witch Award (for Loathing Linda Tripp) -- Second runner-up
"And Kathleen Willey also spoke about
Linda Tripp, a Clinton-basher who seems to be at every ugly turn in this
controversy. Tripp was outside the Oval Office when Willey emerged from
her encounter with the President...Just how is it that Linda Tripp is so
often conveniently involved in the President's troubles? For some clues
let's bring in The New Yorker's Jane Mayer, who has profiled the
controversial Miss Tripp in this week's issue. You write that co-workers
often viewed her as an inveterate busybody. Has she always been a snoop
and a gossip with a particular interest in other people's romantic
-- Bryant Gumbel on Public Eye, March 17. [53 points]
Hallucinating Hillary Award (for Promoting the Vast Right-Wing
Conspiracy) -- Second runner-up
"On another front, there could be
trouble for the Ken Starr Whitewater investigation. Reports continue to
surface that this key witness for the prosecution, David Hale, may have
been secretly bankrolled by political activists widely regarded as Clinton
opponents, people that Clinton supporters call Republican haters from the
-- Dan Rather, April 2 CBS Evening News. [43 points]
Corporal Cueball Carville Cadet Award (for Hating Ken Starr) --
"The best defense it seems somehow is
going on the offense now. While seedy stories in the media seem to be
getting ever seedier. Each reporter in his turn sounds more and more like
Howard Stern. A great investigative boom reporting who did what to whom.
We see so many different styles of accusations and denials. When so much
mud around you flies, you are bound to get some in your eyes. When such a
war has been declared, everyone's in, nobody's spared. The jokes, the
snickers, and the flippery. The slope we're on is long and slippery. And
there is something in the air which this country best beware: for there is
danger in the dirt and lots of people could get hurt. And what we sow, we
someday reap. Last night as I laid down to sleep I dreamed an apparition
swarthy, the unshaved ghost of Joe McCarthy."
-- Charles Osgood, CBS Saturday Morning, February 28. [46 points]
Steve Brill Media Masochism Award (for Bemoaning Monicagate's
Impact on Clinton) -- Second runner-up
"I think, not to underestimate the
American public. If you just look at one story where the press really
almost entirely went one way and the public went the other way, was the
whole episode of Monica Lewinsky. I mean there you had a story where the
press was so consistently hostile on this story, and the public stood back
and said 'Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute, we're not going
to go along with it until we're a lot further down the road.' The
public is a lot more sophisticated because they've been exposed to too
many stories that turned out not to be true."
-- U.S. News & World Report Publisher Mortimer Zuckerman on the July 7
Good Morning America. [45 points]
Media McCarthyism Award (for Tying Conservatives to Murder) --
"My concern with this guy, Weston, is
he's a guy talking up this business about the evils of big government
and he's a nut case, but this is his rant and I wonder if, you know, in
some way the Republicans in this town haven't gone too far with this
kind of logic."
-- FNC analyst and Washington Post reporter Juan Williams on the Capitol
Hill shooting, July 26 Fox News Sunday. [45 points]
The Everybody But Us Shut Up Award (for Promoting Campaign Finance
Reform) -- Second runner-up
"It was a bill that was doomed to die.
The last time you heard people so eager to claim responsibility for
something like this, they were terrorists."
-- NBC reporter Gwen Ifill, February 27 Washington Week in Review on PBS.
Starr Behind Bars Award
"CNN has learned the ranking Democrat
on the House Judiciary Committee plans to ask Attorney General Janet Reno
to investigate whether Ken Starr should be removed from office. Sources
say Congressman John Conyers is writing a long letter to Reno, accusing
Starr of repeated abuses of power, including pressuring witnesses to
commit perjury. The allegations are specific and serious, aimed at a man
who already has given many people the impression he's on a mission. That
may have a lot to do with Starr's religious and Republican
-- Greta Van Susteren hosting the February 5 CNN special
"Investigating the Investigator." [48 points]
Good Morning Morons Award (for Foolishness in the Morning) --
"You and I spoke right at the
beginning of this second term. Now, with two years left, is it something
you look forward to? Do you get out there and say 'I want to keep going
out, I want to meet people, I have more stuff I want to do,' or do you
look and go 'Oh, my God, two more years!'?"
"There's so much speculation now
about what you're going to do. What Hillary Clinton's life is going to
be after the presidency. Do you find that takes away from what you're
going to do, or do you just like slough it off and pay no attention?"
"I've talked to several people and
they came up and said 'She's so different than I thought she would be.
She's so much more of a people person. She's funny, she's nice.'
Do you think that, like, people don't get you? I mean you get out there
and people see a different side of you."
-- Maria Shriver's questions to Hillary Clinton during her bus tour,
July 16 Today. [44 points]
Move Over Buddy Award (for Geraldo Rivera's Pro-Clinton
Lapdoggery) -- Second runner-up
"Will all of the media, including NBC,
give even a fraction of the airtime and the newsprint that we gave to
these allegations [Filegate, Whitewater, Travelgate] to the fact that no
impeachable offenses were found? When are we going to say to the President
of the United States, 'we're sorry'?"
-- Rivera, after citing a Nexis count of stories on the other scandals,
September 14 Rivera Live on CNBC. [44 points]
Damn Those Conservatives Award -- Second runner-up
"I think Republicans are doing a
rendition -- remember that old Zero Mostel parody Springtime for Hitler? I
think that's what they're doing. The moral charge against Bill Clinton
is being led by Newt Gingrich, the only Speaker in history to be
sanctioned for unethical conduct, the most unpopular political figure in
America. Dan Burton, the committee chairman, now has, at least according
to the Washington Times, has his staff wearing latex gloves because he
says left-wingers are sending him condoms in the mail. His staff aide, Mr.
Bossie, most reporters I know think was a duplicitous wacko."
-- Wall Street Journal Executive Washington Editor Al Hunt, May 9 Capital
Gang. [44 points]
Politics of Meaninglessness Award (for the Silliest Analysis) --
"China has a one-child policy. Is that
a good idea for all countries?"
-- Good Morning America co-host Lisa McRee to Bill McKibben, author of
Maybe One: A personal and Environmental Argument for Single-Child
Families, May 30. [46 points]
Carve Clinton into Mt. Rushmore Award -- Second runner-up
Dan Rather: "With the
economy humming, CBS's White House correspondent Scott Pelley reports,
President Clinton was singing his own praises, this time with the facts
and figures to back him up."
Scott Pelley: "The recovery began before Mr. Clinton
took office. The fact that it's run so long is credited to what some
call the great odd couple -- Mr. Clinton and Alan Greenspan, the Federal
Reserve Chairman. Simply put, when Mr. Clinton made deficit reduction his
top priority, Greenspan felt confident driving interest rates down.
America did the rest. If the recovery continues to December, it will be
the longest peacetime recovery in history."
-- March 6 CBS Evening News. [33 points]
Cable news competition? Watching MSNBC at about 4:10pm ET on Wednesday I
saw a live report from a snowy Worcester, Massachusetts neighborhood. The
reporter: Mark Dedarian (sp?) of WHDH-TV, a Sunbeam-owned NBC affiliate in
Boston. Dedarian was decked out in an orange jacket emblazoned with a
"7 News" logo. When he was done I switched over to CNN, only to
see three minutes later....Mark Dedarian in his orange "7 News"
jacket live from the very same street.
hasn't prevented its affiliates from signing deals with CNN.
No more CyberAlerts until next year. --Brent Baker
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