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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Wednesday March 10, 1999 (Vol. Four; No. 43)
China Would Have Figured It Out; Rivera Accosted a Starr Deputy

1) Broadcast networks are not pursuing Chinese espionage. Nothing Tuesday night on ABC or NBC and only Today has aired an interview segment. In it Katie Couric forwarded the argument China would have figured out the science "on its own" so it's not a big deal.

2) Tom Brokaw refused to run an excerpt from NBC's Broaddrick exclusive on NBC Nightly News, but Tuesday night the show played two minutes from Couric's exclusive with Lewinsky's parents.

3) Today provided a platform Tuesday morning for Lewinsky's parents to denounce everyone, especially Linda Tripp and Ken Starr. But Katie Couric did call Monica's behavior "amoral."

4) Geraldo Rivera, who called Starr "the investigative terrorist," confronted Starr deputy Hickman Ewing on the streets of Little Rock and demanded that he admit "I've tortured" Susan McDougal.

>>> March 8 Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media, is now online. Topic headings for quotes not previously in a CyberAlert: "Hillary's a Centrist?," "No Heroes in the Monica Wars" and "Unanimous Principled Democrats." Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/1999/welcome.html <<<


couric0310.jpg (11334 bytes)cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) Fallout from the espionage by China led CNN's The World Today on Tuesday night and generated stories on FNC's Fox Report and CBS Evening News, but the subject has hardly excited the networks. Neither ABC's World News Tonight or NBC Nightly News mentioned it Tuesday night after running stories Monday night.

     The totality of weekday network morning show interview segments stands at one: a Tuesday Today interview with Energy Secretary Bill Richardson in which Katie Couric never raised the role of campaign contributions influencing technology transfer waivers and forwarded the argument that the espionage wasn't really that big of a deal: "Isn't there a possibility that China could have done this on its own? After all you've got the U.S., the British, the French and the Russians all able to make these warheads without spying."

     So, instead of informing viewers about the loss of nuclear weapons technology to a communist nation and whether the administration delayed a security crackdown, what did ABC and CBS viewers learn about in the morning?

     On Monday, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson documented, the 7am half hour interview topics on ABC's Good Morning America were an adoption dispute in Kentucky and a look at Clinton's anti-drug efforts with Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey. Tuesday morning GMA ran a story on the Chinese espionage in the 7am news, but the lead interview segments were with a survivor of the attack in Uganda followed by a talk with several people related to an Illinois case in which prosecutors and the police are accused of framing a man for murder. GMA devoted the entire 7:30am half hour to its weight loss series.

     Over on CBS's This Morning, on Monday the show's interview segments in its prime 8am half hour were about four men falsely convicted of murder but released thanks to the efforts of some college students, followed by Monica's Story author Andrew Morton. And in the 8:30 half hour Mark McEwen talked with Johnnie Cochran about his appearance on the CBS soap Guiding Light. Tuesday morning, MRC analyst Brian Boyd noted, in the 8am half hour the show looked at hearing loss and brought aboard three guests to discuss the impact of "Barbie" on the 40th anniversary of the doll.

     On Tuesday's Today, just after substitute co-host Tom Brokaw finished an interview about Joe DiMaggio with Bob Costas and Ted Williams, who literally dozed off before the segment ended, Katie Couric talked with Secretary Richardson. She asked why it took so long to fire Wen Ho Lee, if it made sense to keep him on the job for so long and: "It is a tad curious though is it not that this man was fired only after the story broke in the national media?"

     Then, without raising the issue of how the Clinton administration granted waivers to allow technology transfers which aided China in developing better missiles on which to fire their acquired multiple nuclear warhead weapons, Couric suggested it really isn't a big deal since they would have figured it out soon enough anyway:
     "The allegation is, Mr. Secretary, is that China worked with this stolen data to make a major leap in developing nuclear warheads with much smaller warheads but isn't there a possibility that China could have done this on its own? After all you've got the U.S., the British, the French and the Russians all able to make these warheads without spying."

     I wouldn't be so sure of that. By this attitude, we shouldn't have bothered prosecuting the Rosenberg's or others during the Cold War for giving secrets to the Soviet Union since the Soviets would have figured it out anyway. Maybe we should just save North Korea the time and effort and give them intercontinental missile technology.

     To hear and see Couric's question and Richardson's answer, go the posted version of this CyberAlert on the MRC home page where it will be posted by this item on Wednesday morning. It will also be at: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/biasvideo.html
     (This assumes MRC Webmaster Sean Henry makes it in to the MRC through the Washington area's small snowstorm which has made it difficult to commute because of the large number of people unable to grasp how to drive in the snow, ie: those who go about 3 mph, stop on inclines and then are stuck, accelerate while turning in order to maximize their spin out and how many others they can hit, slide down hills sideways and then abandon their cars in the middle of the road.)

     As noted above, Tuesday night neither ABC or NBC mentioned China. Here's how the other March 9 shows approached the subject:

     -- Dan Rather sternly declared on the CBS Evening News: "There is more information tonight about stolen U.S. nuclear weapons secrets getting into the hands of China's building military and how the U.S. government's ultra slow-mo investigation did little or nothing about it for years." Sharyl Attkisson never raised the role of campaign contributions in any delay and began by citing a neighbor who doubts Win Ho Lee's guilt. She did allow Chris Cox to assert that problems still exist at the nuclear labs, elaborating about how personnel information about the scientists on staff is on a Web site, foreign nationals have lab access, and U.S. scientists freely visit other nations.

     -- CNN's The World Today was the only show to lead with China. David Ensor reported that the CIA is forming a task force to assess the damage and ran a soundbite of Al Gore blaming Republican administrations. Introducing a clip of Senator Richard Shelby, Ensor then raised an explicit criticism of Clinton policy, a subject not yet broached by the other networks: "Critics charge that the Clinton administration's desire to increase exports to China caused it to delay action for too long, leaving an untrustworthy scientist in his job with top security clearances."

     Next, Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre examined the potential impact of China acquiring of the sophisticated warhead which allows for eight or more on one missile. His piece included comments from Frank Gafney, a former Reagan official.

     -- FNC's Fox Report. Brian Wilson began with Gore's claim but noted the Clinton team's delay in instituting better security measures. Wilson noted that of those in he administration, only Bill Richardson admits mistakes were made. Leading into a soundbite from Trent Lott, Wilson observed: "Suggestions that the Clinton administration does not have responsibility here are not sitting well with some on the Hill." Anchor Paula Zahn then discussed the situation with former CIA Director James Woolsey.


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) NBC Nightly News has yet to mention Juanita Broaddrick's name this year, despite NBC's exclusive interview by Lisa Myers run on Dateline NBC. No interview excerpt before or after the Dateline story aired on February 24.

     But Tuesday night NBC Nightly News featured an excerpt of a network exclusive Tom Brokaw and his producers are not too ashamed or embarrassed to promote: Katie Couric's talk with Bernard and Barbara Lewinsky, Monica's father and step mother.

     Brokaw played a two minute and ten second excerpt of what aired Tuesday morning on Today with Couric asking their reaction to learning what Monica did, Couric calling her behavior "amoral," and Bernard Lewinsky saying he's glad Clinton wasn't impeached so the family does not have the stigma of causing it.

     For more on this interview, see item #3 below.


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) Today provided a platform Tuesday morning for Bernard Lewinsky, Monica's father, and Barbara Lewinsky, her step mother, to denounce everyone around their daughter, especially Linda Tripp. But their lack of interest in their daughter's life even frustrated interviewer Katie Couric, who asserted:
     "Weren't you furious at her?" and: "I mean if it had been my daughter I would have said, 'Hello! What were you thinking?'....But also it's just so amoral frankly. Did you have a problem with that? I mean not that she was solely responsible but here is a married man, President of the United States and she is involved with him in a way, in this way, and surely I imagine she understood that this was wrong. Am I right?"

     Yes, answered Bernard Lewinsky without any evidence before Barbara Lewinsky said Monica just didn't think she'd get caught and that she (Barbara) doesn't want to know anything about Monica's relationship with Bill Clinton. Asked what she'd say to Clinton if she met him, Barbara giggled about how she'd tell him he's "a butthead."

     Monica would have been a lot better off in her life if she had Couric for a mother.

     Couric soon got to the evil Tripp and tried to get the two to attack Ken Starr, as transcribed by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens:
     Couric: "Monica's friendship with Linda Tripp was the catalyst that started this whole ordeal. You have very strong feelings about Linda Tripp, as does Monica."
     Bernard Lewinsky: "As does the rest of the world."
     Barbara Lewinsky: "You can, you know she can make herself over. She can change her hair and her makeup but she cannot change her soul. And I think she needs to be strung by her toes actually."
     Bernard Lewinsky: "She, she came out on television as a makeover, I guess, and actually stated that a) she would do the same thing again and b) that if her daughter was in the situation she'd wish somebody would do the same thing to her. I don't know how she could say that. She would like her daughter to have the millions of legal fees, to be defiled in front of the world, to be insulted, to be brought into this type of an arena? She would like that for her daughter? I don't think so. I don't know what planet she comes from but on this planet I think everybody agrees that what she did was awful, to say the least. She said it was patriotic for her to do. Every time she pushed the button she had a patriotic moment? I don't think so."
     Couric, without pointing out to the Lewinsky's that their daughter asked Tripp to commit a crime, moved on: "In one chapter in Andrew Morton's book, called Terror in Room 1012, she describes what happened that day at the Ritz Carlton. I know that under your immunity agreement you cannot talk that openly about Ken Starr, but from your perspective it was an insane day as well wasn't it?"
     Bernard: "Well, my day was insane."
     Couric: "But you were trying to get in touch and help Monica."
     Bernard: "We were trying to get ahold of her and we finally were able to negotiate a way of talking through the people at that place, but I really don't want to get into more detail. It was a harrowing experience."
     Barbara: "Monica, we've always said, did not murder anybody. She didn't, you know, it wasn't a drug thing, and to be treated like that just is really beyond comprehension."

     Wednesday on Today, part two of the interview taped last week. Couric offered this plug: "Tomorrow we'll talk about Monica Lewinsky's first lawyer, William Ginsburg, the so-called right-wing conspiracy and how this past year has affected the Lewinskys' own relationship."


geraldo0310.jpg (11850 bytes)cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) Imagine you are walking down the street when you are confronted by Geraldo Rivera with a camera-crew tagging along. That nightmare occurred Tuesday to top Starr deputy W. Hickman Ewing on a street in Little Rock where he is prosecuting Susan McDougal, a persecution Rivera has traveled this week to Little Rock to cover.

     Rivera's four-minute interview with Ewing aired Tuesday night on his CNBC shows, days after he said of Bill Clinton, "I think his judgement has been impeccable," and a day after he impugned Ken Starr as "the investigative terrorist."

     The on the street interview is detailed below, but first a couple of Geraldoisms from the last few days picked up by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens.

     -- On the March 4 Rivera Live he offered this insight about Bill Clinton: "I think his judgment has been impeccable. He's been a brilliant President. He's just been a dumb guy."

     -- Monday night on CNBC's Rivera Live, live from Little Rock, he asserted that Susan McDougal "has been hounded for 15 years by investigators and for the last five by the investigative terrorist, Ken Starr."

     The show featured two jurors from her California trial which found her not guilty, in town to monitor Starr's abuse of his power. Rivera declared: "But the steadfastly defiant former business partner of Bill and Hillary Clinton says she would rather go back to jail than tell lies about the Clintons. Lies, she says, Ken Starr wants to hear."

     -- Hounding Hickman. Before playing a tape of his curbside accosting of Ewing, on the March 9 Upfront Tonight Rivera called him "Ken Starr's enforcer" and disparaged him as the man who does Starr's "dirty work."
     Rivera's first "question" to Ewing, more like a bit of defense lawyer advocacy: "Two points. Number one: She's already done 18 months for contempt. Isn't it double jeopardy, isn't it enough? When is enough enough?"
     After Ewing's reply, Rivera picked up: "The second point is: Julie Hiatt Steele cooperated, now she's indicted. Monica Lewinsky maintains that she was surrounded by Ken Starr's people and intimidated even to the point where she wouldn't call her own lawyer. Isn't there a reasonable scintilla to back up Susan's claim that she won't be treated fairly by you all?"
     Ewing noted that Monica chose to testify, prompting Rivera to fire back: "And now she thinks that Ken Starr is the next thing to the devil."

     To show you how Ewing kept his good humor in the predicament of being waylaid by Rivera, check out this next exchange:
     Rivera: "Ken Starr has a 25 percent approval rating now so by a ratio of three-to-one the people..."
     Ewing: "It sounds like it's coming up!"
     Rivera: "It is. It's sky high as it has been. But seriously, you have a situation here where the American people clearly are saying stop, enough is enough."

     Ewing explained that America is governed by courts not by polls, leading Rivera to say: "You seem such a pleasant man. Don't you at some point doubt yourself. Do you ever look in the mirror and say I'm not doing the right thing?"

     When Ewing said he's heard plenty of false things in the news, Rivera replied that he has an open invitation to come on his show and offer corrections.

     That would take more time than Rivera's shows last on CNBC.

     Back to the interview, as Ewing started to back away Rivera propounded: "One last question, last question. Isn't it true that Susan McDougal is just the surrogate defendant, that defendant you really want is the President of the United States? You can't get him so, almost like a spiteful child you're to break this [last word unintelligible]?"

     Rivera actually squeezed in one more bit of his personal crusade on McDougal's behalf: "How are you going to feel when she's on that witness stand and she gives you the answers you don't want to hear, you say 'My God I've tortured this woman for two years.'"

     After the tape finished, Rivera turned to his in studio guest, McDougal's attorney Mark Geragos, who said of Ewing's claim that they just want the truth whether it implicates or exculpates the Clintons: "It's ludicrous."

     Check out how Ewing handled Rivera by watching the second half of this interview which will be placed, snow allowing, in RealPlayer format on the MRC home page Wednesday morning. Just go to: http://www.mrc.org or to our videos page where MRC Webmaster Sean Henry will keep it available for the next 30 days: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/biasvideo.html

     Memo to Washingtonians: If you can't drive in snow, get out of my way and stay home. -- Brent Baker


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