"Poster Boy for Betrayal"; CNN Accepted Claim That Gore Created the Internet
1) ABC skipped China for the
third night in a row, but NBC aired its second story of the week, focusing
on how no one thinks Wen Ho Lee is guilty. Zilch again on Today and Good
2) "This is dead
serious," NBC's Tim Russert declared of Chinese espionage, but NBC
Nightly News has aired only two stories and Today hasn't mentioned it
three out of four days this week.
3) One journalist put words
into action: CNN's Lou Dobbs anchored the Moneyline NewsHour from Los
4) Instead of castigating
George Stephanopoulos for failing to reveal what he knew until he got a $3
million book deal, three network pieces so far have scolded him for, as
Diane Sawyer told him, being "the poster boy for betrayal" of
5) Geraldo Rivera said he
thinks Clinton really loved Lewinsky "for a second" and pumped
his fist while proclaiming "Free Susan McDougal."
6) "I took the initiative
in creating the Internet," Al Gore preposterously claimed, but that
didn't faze CNN's Wolf Blitzer who just kept tossing softball
>>> "Monica and George Are
Hot, Not Juanita: Despite Continuing Developments, Networks Stick to
Ignoring the Juanita Broaddrick Cloud." The latest Media Reality
Check fax report by Tim Graham will be posted on the MRC home page by 10am
ET Friday morning by Webmaster Sean Henry. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
Clarification: In a March
11 CyberAlert item about the lack of coverage of Chinese espionage
Wednesday morning I added: "(I believe GMA conducted an interview
Thursday morning, its first. More in the next CyberAlert.)" In fact,
my generosity toward ABC was not matched by the program which did not air
an interview on China Thursday morning. See item #1 below for more
CBS and FNC didn't forget about Chinese espionage Thursday night, but
CNN skipped it after running three stories on Wednesday night, ABC ignored
it for the third night in a row and NBC got around to running only its
second piece in four weekday evenings this week, though NBC's story
focused not on Clinton administration misdeeds in delays in addressing the
breach but on how no one thinks Wen Ho Lee is guilty.
In the morning on
Thursday, nothing on NBC's Today and ABC's Good Morning America
offered only a few seconds from the news anchor about how Sandy Berger
defended the administration's handling of the matter. CBS's This
Morning finally got around to the subject. MRC analyst Brian Boyd noted
that the show carried an update on Clinton's trip to Central America in
which Bill Plante summarized the story and predicted Clinton would be
asked about it at an end of the day press conference. Morning tally so far
this week: One full news story on each network (Tuesday for ABC and NBC,
Thursday for CBS) and one single interview segment: Sandy Berger on
from the Thursday, March 11 evening show:
-- ABC's World News Tonight led with a story
about a report on Internet scams. The show ended with a look by Aaron
Brown at the unbeaten season of the Division 3 basketball team at
Connecticut College, an institution of higher learning he described as a
"sleepy little school in Northeastern Connecticut." Actually,
it's in New London on the ocean, making it Southeastern Connecticut.
-- CBS Evening News opened with the new uniform
label style required for over-the-counter drugs which will supposedly
prevent "deadly mistakes."
Bill Plante played a clip of Clinton denying malfeasance on the nuclear
lab espionage and defending the continuation of the current policy toward
China. Plante added:
"Now despite the fact that two years elapsed
between the discovery of those stolen secrets and the administration's
new security policies, Mr. Clinton says he acted in a timely fashion. He
also noted that the secrets were stolen in the 1980s, but CBS News has
been told that there were serious acts of espionage during the Clinton
administration as well."
-- FNC's Fox Report began with the Dow's
record high and later Brian Wilson highlighted how Richard Shelby said
there were also leaks at the Laurence Livermore lab and that the
scientific exchange programs are at the root of the problem.
-- NBC Nightly News also started with the soaring Dow. After anchor Brian
Williams played a soundbite of Clinton in Guatemala defending his
administration's handling of the situation and arguing the spying does
not justify changing the relationship with China, Anne Thompson provided
the show's first story since Monday. With "Wrong Man?" the
on-screen graphic she talked to co-workers and neighbors who defend Wen Ho
Lee and don't believe he is a spy. She elaborated: "The doubts
expressed here are also being voiced in Washington. Senior law enforcement
and intelligence officials tell NBC News neither the CIA nor the FBI is at
all sure Lee is the source of the leaks, if there are any leaks at all.
And they are a long way from being charges." Thompson did allow the
Director of the Los Alamos to defend the firing.
Though NBC's Today has only touched on Chinese espionage on one day this
week and Nightly News avoided it on Tuesday and Wednesday, just after the
story broke NBC News VP Tim Russert labeled it "dead serious."
Explaining why he invited Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard
Shelby onto Meet the Press, on Monday's Hockenberry on MSNBC he
explained, as transcribed by MRC analyst Mark Drake:
"Paul Redman (sp?), the Nazi spy hunter for
the CIA, said that this was worse than Aldrich Ames, and as you said, as
bad as the Rosenbergs, bells went off in my head. I said, 'This is dead
serious. Why aren't people reacting to it?' Front page on the New
York Times on Saturday. I assumed by Sunday the country would be
aghast by it and talking about it. And that's why we reached out to
Russert bore in on
the importance of the disclosure:
"This is dead serious. This is the Commander
in Chief. This is the President of the United States who is responsible
for our national security. And the suggestion is -- when the Clinton
administration learned that our national security had been breached, they
were inactive and slow off the mark to take corrective steps and probably
even the most serious charge, John, is that the then Secretary of Energy
ordered the chief man at the Energy Department, who is responsible for
security, not to tell Congress what had happened because she did not want
Clinton critics to criticize the policy of engagement with China."
Too bad morning or
evening NBC News viewers don't know about this charge, about hiding bad
news from Congress, made by sources cited in the New York Times. Neither
Monday or Thursday's Nightly News stories or Tuesday's Today piece or
interview mentioned the allegation. (There was no Nightly News on Sunday
in the east because of NBA basketball.)
One network VP this week did make the Chinese espionage a big story on his
show. As noted in the March 11 CyberAlert, CNN VP Lou Dobbs anchored
Tuesday's Moneyline NewsHour live from Los Alamos. Since the MRC does
not normally tape or watch this 6:30pm ET CNN business news show we are
indebted to CyberAlert reader Dev Anand of California for bringing it to
The transcript of
the show available on CNN's Web site (http://www.cnn.com/transcripts/)
reveals Dobbs devoted the first half of the show to five stories about the
subject plus interviews with Energy Secretary Bill Richardson and former
Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
Dobbs opened the
show: "Good evening. This is the Los Alamos National Laboratory. It
is also ground zero in what is arguably the most alarming nuclear
espionage scandal in nearly 50 years, certainly since the Rosenbergs. What
has been stolen is a sophisticated miniaturized warhead technology. And
this is the building, this building behind me -- the administration
complex here at the national laboratory -- where the Taiwanese-born
Chinese-American worked, who has been fired under suspicion for years of
passing on the design of that sophisticated technology. But the growing
scandal involves more than one man suspected of betrayal and
In the first story
of the show Bill Dorman played a soundbite of Al Gore insisting the
administration vigorously pursued the security problem, but countered:
"But that pursuit was neither immediate nor vigorous. A report by the
Government Accounting Office, obtained by CNNfn, laid out security
questions surrounding national laboratories long before the Clinton
administration took action last year. In September 1997, the GAO wrote in
61-page report, quote 'The risk that classified or sensitive information
may be compromised through foreign espionage is real and has been
longstanding.' The report goes on to say there have been espionage
activities against Department of Energy labs in the 1980s and the 1990s.
Details of the incidents remain classified. But even after learning of
that history, the Clinton administration was not quick to act...."
Later in the
program reporter Casey Wian examined the close relationship between lab
officials and the Chinese government, revealing: "In fact, documents
show Los Alamos officials took 11 trips to China in 1995 and 1996. Several
took place during the time when then Energy Secretary Federico Pena
assured Congress there were no ongoing discussions about nuclear weapons
George Stephanopoulos, it could be argued, disingenuously defended Clinton
while on the White House staff and on the air for ABC, failing to inform
ABC viewers of what he knew were lies by Clinton. Not until given $3
million by a book publisher did he come clean on how Bill Clinton
regularly threw child-like temper-tantrums and Hillary Clinton cried in
meetings, or how he knew he was forwarding to the public false information
and denials and had concluded Clinton should not have been elected
President. As Howard Kurtz summarized in the March 11 Washington Post:
"On Gennifer Flowers, on the draft
controversy, on Whitewater, on Paula Jones, Stephanopoulos came to doubt
what he was paid to tell reporters, but kept quiet about those doubts
interviewing Stephanopoulos about his new book, All Too Human, have the
media taken Stephanopoulos to task for not delivering this information and
these assessments while being paid several hundred thousand dollars a year
by ABC News? Are reporters angry at his admissions that he deliberately
misled them while he worked for Clinton? Or, are reporters at least
staying neutral and just passing along his inside info on the Clintons as
they did when Don Regan dished on the Reagans?
Some of the
latter, but more none of the above. Instead, three network pieces so far
have castigated Stephanopoulos for how the book, as Diane Sawyer told him,
"made you the poster boy for betrayal." ABC's Charles Gibson
demanded he respond to the charge of disloyalty. NBC worried he wrote a
book that's "too honest." Check out the approach taken by
Today on Wednesday, 20/20 Wednesday night and GMA on Thursday morning:
-- March 10 Today.
Ann Curry introduced a story from David Bloom: "There's a new book
out this week detailing one former White House loyalist's change of
heart. It's a brutally honest account. Some say, too honest."
Bloom relayed how Stephanopoulos now concedes he
didn't believe Clinton on Lewinsky and in Newsweek said "if I knew
everything then that I know now of course I wouldn't have worked for
him." After showing 1992 video from the War Room movie of
Stephanopoulos threatening a Perot worker out of releasing a list of
Clinton girlfriends, Bloom warned:
"Now it is Stephanopoulos accused by some of
disloyalty and betrayal."
Jack Valenti, former Johnson aide: "Inherent
in every conversation or every meeting with the President is an unspoken
belief that what you hear and what you see and what you feel is locked in
Bloom: "Where does he come off ratting on
the President asked one former Clinton adviser. James Carville adds he's
my friend but he said some things I wouldn't have said."
Paul Begala: "Part of being loyal is
sticking by your friends when they do something you disagree with. And you
know I stuck by the President when he made mistakes and I'm going to
stick by George even though I think that this book is a mistake."
Bloom: "In the eyes of the President's
defenders, some would say apologists, All Too Human is simply all too
candid. For example, Stephanopoulos writes that his first impression of
Clinton was of an overgrown boy. He describes the President's White
House temper tantrums as a 'physical force, like a tornado,' compared
to the First Lady's quote 'calculated chill that would descend over
Bloom concluded my noting how Stephanopoulos
feels the Clintons betrayed him.
-- ABC's 20/20, March 10. Diane Sawyer
introduced her interview: "Since so many former members of the White
House team have criticized Clinton, you have to ask this question: Do
aides have a duty to remain loyal to the President? Does the answer change
based on his loyalty to them?"
During the interview Stephanopoulos got
opportunities to praise as well as criticize Clinton. At one point Sawyer
highlighted White House criticism of him for inadequately defending
Clinton on ABC when the Lewinsky story broke: "Something in
Stephanopoulos snapped. On TV, he seemed to be leading the attack against
Clinton. The White House branded him a turncoat, betrayer."
explained why he didn't automatically defend Clinton on ABC in January
1998: "You know, for six years, I had been his character witness. And
after all this, I felt like a dupe."
Sawyer scolded him: "But as you write, it
made you the poster boy for betrayal."
Stephanopoulos: "And you know, and I'm
sorry about that, and I didn't want that to happen."
Sawyer: "You are the first person to mention
Stephanopoulos explained that all he said was that if the charges were
true Clinton could be impeached, Sawyer retorted: "The word
'impeachment' is a hand grenade."
Stephanopoulos: "In retrospect, I didn't
know when I was saying it that it was going to be a signal."
Sawyer: "People have said, this guy gave him
his career, and when the chips are down, instead of saying, I can't talk
about this, he joins the enemy....What about silence out of respect for
what you were to him and he was to you?"
Better to protect
the liar than reveal the lies?
-- ABC's Good Morning America, March 11. The
show devoted two lengthy segments before and after the 7:30am news to
Stephanopoulos and there's too much to adequately summarize. Co-hosts
Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer began by asking Stephanopoulos
"Should Bill Clinton have been elected President?"
Stephanopoulos replied: "Well, he's done so much good, and this is a
tough question to answer straight, and that's why you keep asking it. He's
done so much good, but knowing everything we know over the last year, and
seeing the recklessness that the President was able to engage in after the
Monica Lewinsky story broke, I think if people knew that, no he wouldn't
have been elected and he probably shouldn't have been elected."
The hosts opened
the 7:30am segment by asking about the FNC/New York Post story that the
Clintons are fighting, but soon pressed him repeatedly about his supposed
disloyalty, as transcribed at length by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson.
Gibson: "George, let me ask you about
writing this book, because when you go into the White House to serve a
President, there has to be a sense, on his part, that he can be absolutely
frank with you, that discussions here, no holds barred, and you write a
book before the end of his presidency, and you tell some, I mean, there's
disarray in the White House, you tell some very personal stories. Are you
Stephanopoulos: "I don't think so. I mean, I
can understand why people who, if you have that kind of absolutist
position, books should not be written, you know, I'm not probably going to
persuade anybody on that point, but there's also a pretty long history of
books being written. There were four written in the Reagan White House. I
think the test is the book itself, and is the book honest and fair and
are you really saying that never once in your room alone at night, did you
say to yourself, am I doing the right thing while he's in office, making
money on a book with what was basically happening? Did you have a contract
of some sort of loyalty while you were there?"
Stephanopoulos: "Sure, and I think I
fulfilled that contract. I, and I'm not saying I don't struggle with it. I
think it is a fair question, Diane, but I think I served him loyally and
well, and I don't think that by writing an honest book that is honest in
all aspects, I am walking away from that. Now at the same time you have to
look at things in context, as well. Over the last year, a lot of people
who worked for the President were put in the position of seeing him break
Sawyer: "Yes, but I understand it's honest
for you, but it's hurtful for them. I mean, you are hurting people you
were once close to."
risers and readers: Stephanopoulos will appear on Friday's Today and
Wednesday night Geraldo Rivera offered how he thinks Clinton really loved
Lewinsky "for a second," asked a guest to rate the relative evil
of Goldberg, Tripp and Starr, and pumped his fist while proclaiming
"Free Susan McDougal."
readers have complained that Rivera isn't a real journalist so should
not be chronicled in CyberAlerts. Well, check Friday's NBC network
schedule: As part of his deal with NBC News, at 9pm ET/PT; 8pm CT/MT NBC
will carry a one-hour special hosted and produced by Rivera on the evils
of how the mentally ill are dealt with in the U.S.
Now back to
Geraldo's wackiness on the March 10 Rivera live on CNBC as caught by MRC
analyst Geoffrey Dickens:
-- "See, I
believe, and you know I love the President, obviously. Anyway. But I think
the President really did love her for a time. Maybe it was only a minute.
Maybe, you know, and I know that he gave Leaves of Grass, whatever
the Hell it's called to other people. But I think he did for a second
Well, for at least
as many seconds as it took him to...
-- "Dante in
the Inferno, Andrew [Morton], has you know sinners more and more
evil progressively as you get lower down. In your pantheon who is the
worst? Is it Ken Starr, is it Linda Tripp, is it Lucianne Goldberg? I mean
how do you rate them for relative evil?"
-- "There is
another woman who is being hounded and harassed unmercifully by this
Kenneth Starr. She is Susan McDougal, her trial has begun."
-- going to
commercial, while pumping his fist: "Free Susan! Free Susan! Free
Susan! We'll be right back. Free Susan!"
Watch Rivera flail
away. To see this "free Susan" chant, go to the posted
CyberAlert on the MRC home page where a brief RealPlayer video clip will
be placed next to this item on Friday morning.
Al Gore created the Internet and CNN's Wolf Blitzer created a new
standard in journalism: avoid the tough questions the interviewee would
like to escape.
Catching up on a
Tuesday event, CNN's Late Edition/Prime Time featured a 15-minute or so
interview with Vice President Al Gore conducted earlier that day which was
also excerpted on Inside Politics. Wolf Blitzer asked about Chinese
espionage and whether Gore really thinks Clinton is a "great"
President, but as close as he got to any specific scandal questions was
wondering if there's "any specific strategy you plan on
engaging" to deal with "the scandal issue, the impact potential
spill over effect on you." Imagine an interview with George Bush in
1987 which never pressed him about Iran-Contra.
"I took the
initiative in creating the Internet," Al Gore preposterously claimed
at one point without challenge or follow-up from Blitzer. This exchange is
run below (highlighted by **) in full to show the claim is not taken out
of context and that it didn't faze Blitzer.
To illustrate how
Blitzer never really challenged Gore on anything from Broaddrick to what
he knew and when he knew it about Clinton's fraudulent use of privileges
and appeals to suppress the truth about Lewinsky, here are all of
going to be going to Iowa and New Hampshire in the coming days. Less than
a year from now, we probably will know who the Democratic nominee is, who
the Republican nominee is for the President. Why do you want to be
created an exploratory committee, though. When do you make the formal
-- "Are you
looking at some precedents, some previous examples? When Vice President
Bush, for example, made his announcement?"
people have suggested that you will try to emerge from Bill Clinton's
shadow during the course of the coming year. Others say you don't want to
emerge from his shadow. The question to you is: do you want to emerge from
the President's shadow?"
-- "And the
Al Gore vision will not be necessarily completely the same as the Bill
**-- "I want
to get to some of those substantive domestic and international issues in a
bit, but let's just wrap up a bit of the politics right now. Why should
Democrats, looking at the Democratic nomination, the process, support you
instead of Bill Bradley -- a friend of yours, a former colleague in the
Senate -- what do you have to bring to this that he doesn't necessarily
bring to this process?"
Gore: "Well, I will, I'll be offering my
vision when my campaign begins, and it'll be comprehensive and sweeping,
and I hope that it'll be compelling enough to draw people toward it. I
feel that it will be. But it will emerge from my dialogue with the
American people. I've traveled to every part of this country during the
last six years. During my service in the United States Congress I took the
initiative in creating the Internet.
"I took the initiative in moving forward a
whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our
country's economic growth, environmental protection, improvements in our
educational system. During a quarter century of public service, including
most of it long before I came into my current job, I have worked to try to
improve the quality of life in our country and in our world. And what I've
seen during that experience is an emerging future that's very exciting,
about which I'm very optimistic and toward which I'm -- I want to
Blitzer "On this political front: the polls
currently show Governor George Bush of Texas, and even Elizabeth Dole,
ahead of you in this hypothetical race nearly two years away from today.
Why do you think that's the situation?"
video clip of this exchange will be placed on the MRC home page on Friday
morning by MRC Webmaster Sean Henry. Go to: http://www.mrc.org]
there is one poll that recently came out that did show 45 percent of the
voters -- 45 percent of the American people -- say they've already ruled
out voting for you."
-- "You know,
several of your potential Republican challengers, including the former
Vice President Dan Quayle, have slammed you for saying on that day the
President was impeached that Bill Clinton will go down as one of America's
greatest Presidents. Do you still feel that way, knowing today what you
know -- what you knew then?" [Answer: yes]
-- "So even
though the President was impeached, and by his own admission did engage in
reckless conduct with an intern here at the White House, you still stand
by that basic statement he will go down as one of America's greatest
-- "Is there
any specific strategy you plan on engaging in during the campaign to deal
with this issue, the impeachment issue, the scandal issue, the impact
potential spill over effect on you, from the President's behavior?"
Lott, the Senate Majority Leader, Dennis Hastert, the Speaker of the
House, are refusing at this point to say they trust the President and to
engage in the kind of kind of bipartisan cooperation necessary to move on
issues like education, Social Security, Medicare. Is there any window of
opportunity now to get some of these programs off the ground? Or is there
going to be deadlock, gridlock right now for the foreseeable future?"
-- "But there
are some philosophical differences. On the education issue, the
Republicans want local communities to be in control. They accuse the
Democrats and you of wanting the federal government in Washington to
dictate to local school districts the kind of education policy they should
move on to a key international issue on your agenda today, namely the
situation with China. China's been accused of human rights abuses. It's
been accused of engaging in unfair trade practices, a record trade deficit
with the United States. It has made bellicose statements against Taiwan in
recent days, threatening Taiwan. And now there are allegations that the
Clinton administration under your watch, that the administration was
negligent in dealing with an allegation of espionage of nuclear secrets at
the Los Alamos nuclear facility, research facility. Do you continue to
engage in your policy, as you call it, 'constructive engagement' with
China, in the midst of all of these allegations?"
-- "But you
heard Senator Lott and Senator Shelby say over the weekend that this
administration was negligent, was lax in dealing with the threat that some
people thought really existed at that time because of the overall need to
-- "In the
midst of these allegations, do you continue this engagement policy with
China, or do you pause and reassess where the United States should be
going with China?"
-- "I know
you have to go, but a quick question on your becoming soon a grandfather.
Is this going to change your life?"
looking to some other grandfathers for grandfatherly advice?"
Check: Steve Allen of the Progress & Freedom Foundation
alerted me to a www.wired.com story
which rips apart Gore's claim about "creating" the Internet.
Here are some excerpts from the March 11 post by Declan McCullagh:
WASHINGTON -- It's a time-honored tradition
for presidential hopefuls to claim credit for other people's successes.
But Al Gore as the father of the Internet?
That's what the campaigner in chief told
CNN's Wolf Blitzer during an interview Tuesday evening....
Preliminary discussions of how the ARPANET
would be designed began in 1967, and a request for proposals went out the
following year. In 1969, the Defense Department commissioned the ARPANET.
Gore was 21-years-old at the time. He
wasn't even done with law school at Vanderbilt University. It would be
eight more years before Gore would be elected to the US House of
Representatives as a freshman Democrat with scant experience in passing
legislation, let alone ambitious proposals....
To read the full
story which goes on to cover Gore's erroneous plans in Congress for how
the Internet would develop, go to: http://www.wired.com/news/news/politics/story/18390.html
It looks like Gore is about as accurate in his
claims as is Clinton. -- Brent Baker
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