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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Friday March 19, 1999 (Vol. Four; No. 50)  
China "Red Meat" for Partisan GOP; Brokaw Denounced "Conservative Dogmas"

1) ABC focused Thursday night not on the Clinton administration's actions on Los Alamos but on how Republicans are exploiting it as a partisan issue. NBC downgraded the gravity of the situation by stressing how, thanks to the GOP, it "is now more about politics."

2) Los Angeles Times Washington Bureau Chief Doyle McManus dismissed any connection between campaign donations from China and Clinton policy actions as "the coincidences of the calendar."

3) "Star Wars," nickname or derogatory term? Depends which hour you watch FNC. Putting the burden on the U.S., Tom Brokaw warned from Moscow that missile defense "has the Russians worried."

4) Conservatives don't appreciate diversity, and espouse their "conservative dogmas," because they never experienced the darkest events of World War II, Tom Brokaw argued in his book.

5) Friday night on ABC: "Loyalties questioned, careers destroyed. Blackballed in Hollywood. The Red Scare." A Hollywood director on Elia Kazan: "I'll be watching, hoping someone shoots him."

The anti-Ken Starr episodes of Law & Order and Homicide: See them before they're gone. On Monday, after the usual 30 day exposure, the video clips from the NBC shows will be removed from the MRC's biased videos page. So, if you missed them before you still have a few days to watch excerpts from the two NBC dramas which devoted a cross-over arc to the misdeeds of an out of control independent counsel, clearly meant to represent Ken Starr. Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/biasvideo.html and scroll to the bottom of the list of RealPlayer formatted video clips.


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes)Thursday night ABC's World News Tonight ran just its fourth full story on Chinese espionage since the scandal broke in the March 6 New York Times, but focused not on the Clinton administration's actions but on how Republicans are exploiting it as a partisan issue. "The charge that Mr. Clinton is soft on China is red meat for conservatives," asserted Linda Douglass.

     The ABC, CBS, FNC and NBC evening shows on Thursday all gave a few seconds to President Clinton's announcement that he had asked former Senator Warren Rudman to review security procedures at the nuclear laboratories. CNN's The World Today carried a full story from Andrea Koppel on the China situation.

     Wednesday night, March 17, zilch on CBS, ABC gave a few seconds to Energy Secretary Bill Richardson's request for more money for security and NBC ran a full story from Andrea Mitchell on Richardson's congressional testimony, but she argued that though conservatives "want to punish China," a "a leading Republican" says that "would be a big mistake." Mitchell concluded by stressing how "even critics of the administration say China policy is now more about politics with Republicans taking every shot they can get."

     -- March 18 World News Tonight. ABC's Linda Douglass began her update of the espionage case by noting how Richardson has been on Capitol Hill all week denying the administration was slow to act. After a soundbite from him she spent the remainder of her story demonstrating how Republicans are making it a partisan issue. Douglass explained:
     "Some Democrats point out the espionage started during a Republican administration but that does not stop Republicans who believe they've finally found an issue that will stick to the President."
     Senator James Inhofe: "That President Clinton had been tried for impeachment for the wrong crime."
     Douglass: "The charge that Mr. Clinton is soft on China is red meat for conservatives."
     Senator Tim Hutchinson: "So President Clinton is left us with a strategic partner as he terms it, a strategic partner pointing 13 of its 19 long-rang nuclear missiles at us."

     "The furor has so alarmed the Chinese government," Douglass continued, noting that their Washington embassy held a press conference to deny the charges and decry how U.S.-China relations are the victim of party politics.
     Douglass allowed GOP strategist David Keene to point out how the public trusts Republicans more than Democrats on foreign policy, but she concluded by painting Republicans as the ones most concerned with putting petty personal political interests above all else: "Republicans insist they are not trying to make the Chinese spying case into a partisan issue. Nevertheless, they are planning tasks forces, hearings and investigations that may last well into the campaign season."

     Congressional oversight is their job and the media certainly aren't going to press too much judging by their timidity on this story so far.

     -- March 17 World News Tonight. Anchor Charles Gibson read this short item: "In Washington today, a response to criticism of nuclear secrets leaking to China. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said he is asking for $8 million to increase the security of emails and classified documents at nuclear weapons labs. And he's going to ask the former director of the CIA, John Deutsch, to conduct a review of the program that lets scientists from foreign countries work at the labs."

     -- March 17 NBC Nightly News. Andrea Mitchell provided the show's third full story on the scandal. She began, as transcribed by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens:
     "A major crackdown today at the nation's three nuclear weapons labs. New tighter security on classified documents and foreign visitors. New procedures to protect computers from outside attacks. And mandatory screening of email sent by laboratory scientists."
     After a clip of Richardson she continued: "The new Energy Secretary acting three years after similar orders from a former Energy official were allegedly ignored."

     Mitchell then provided a solid summary of the situation, adding a fresh fact about collect calls: "The question being asked today by the Senate Intelligence committee and others, why did this happen? Energy Department documents obtained by NBC News show officials have had longstanding concerns about lax security. Lab scientists did not check with superiors before giving information to Chinese scientists. Chinese visitors actually called China from the labs. The lab even accepted collect calls from China. And lab scientists visiting China reported that their luggage including sensitive documents was missing mysteriously for days. And hotel rooms were bugged. Bottom line. Were laws broken? The Energy Department has fired one Los Alamos scientist Wen Ho Lee for suspicious contacts dating back 11 years during the Reagan administration. But Lee is not charged with spying. The FBI admits the trail of evidence is cold."
     Following a soundbite from Democratic Senator Robert Torricelli, Mitchell led into a clip from Democrat Norman Dicks by suggesting the spying may not have been all that harmful: "So how much damage was done? China now has America's most advanced nuclear warhead design. But the CIA thinks it may have developed the design on its own or had help from Russia."
     Mitchell concluded by making the case against conservatives who want to alter Clinton's policy toward China. Leading into a matching soundbite from George Shultz, Mitchell argued:
     "And how safe are U.S. secrets now? The White House says very secure. Congressional critics disagree, want to punish China. That, says a leading Republican, would be a big mistake."
     After Shultz, Mitchell concluded: "But even critics of the administration say China policy is now more about politics with Republicans taking every shot they can get."


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes)Are journalists skeptical and cynical? Supposedly so, but not so far on the China espionage scandal where the supposedly leery media in Washington are willing to give Clinton's team the benefit of the doubt about the suggestion that campaign contributions from China may have impacted policy decisions.

     As noted in the March 15 CyberAlert, Ted Koppel wrapped up his intro to the March 12 Nightline by contending:
     ".....Berger was first briefed on this story in the Spring of 1996 around the same time that Al Gore had his infamous fundraising luncheon at a Buddhist temple. Later that year was when the first revelations were made about a Chinese arms dealer visiting the White House. And then of course came the charges that China had been making surreptitious contributions to the Clinton-Gore campaign. It all seems to fit so perfectly, especially when you consider the additional charge that the administration told an intelligence official at the Department of Energy not to share what he knew with Congress. There is probably plenty of incompetence and partisanship to go around, but it is not quite as clear cut as it may seem."

     Another Washington journalist agreed in the subsequent Nightline piece. MRC analyst Jessica Anderson caught this from Los Angeles Times Washington Bureau Chief Doyle McManus:
     "At this point, no solid connection has been established between, between these events -- this espionage investigation and either the campaign finance scandal of 1996 or President Clinton's visit to China in 1998 or any of the policy events in between. What Republicans and the opponents of the Clinton Administration's policy are using is, in effect, the coincidences of the calendar."

     I don't recall this reticent approach during Iran-Contra. Reporters then didn't assume that arms went one way and money another because of "the coincidences of the calendar."


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes)"Star Wars," nice nickname or mocking, derogatory term? Depends which hour you watch the Fox News Channel. And putting the burden on the U.S. for ruining arms control, from Moscow NBC's Tom Brokaw warned: "The new American version of Star Wars -- Congress determined to build a system to knock out incoming missiles. That has the Russians worried."

     The Senate voted 97-3 on Wednesday to approve building a missile defense system. In a story aired on FNC's 6pm ET Special Report with Brit Hume, David Shuster recalled: "Most Democrats have mockingly dismissed what they call Star Wars since Ronald Reagan proposed it 16 years ago." But an hour later, on the 7pm ET Fox Report, the network did not run Shuster's piece and held the story to a brief item read by anchor Paula Zahn. But she offered a more benign definition of the term "Star Wars," declaring: "Star Wars is making a comeback on Capitol Hill. The Senate voted 97 to 3 to start a nationwide missile defense system. The idea was nicknamed Star Wars when President Reagan proposed that system back in the 1980s..."

     In fact, the bill the Senate passed Wednesday and the House on Thursday, would create a ground-based system, not a satellite-based system as envisioned by Reagan. Thursday night CNN's The World Today gave Jamie McIntyre time to explain the planned project and NBC Nightly News ran a full piece from Jim Miklaszewski, but neither the CBS Evening News nor ABC's World News Tonight mentioned the vote on either Wednesday or Thursday night.

     Miklaszewski's piece followed Tom Brokaw's opening remarks from Moscow:
     "Good evening from Moscow, where once again nuclear missiles are coming between the United States and Russia. This time it's an old issue and a new one. The new issue is Y2K, the end of the century computer problem. The old issue is the new American version of Star Wars -- Congress determined to build a system to knock out incoming missiles. That has the Russians worried."

     NBC later played excerpts of Brokaw's interview with the Russian Prime Minister.


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes)If conservatives experienced the darkest events of World War II then they'd be liberals or at least less intolerant, Tom Brokaw seemingly argued at one point in his much-publicized book, The Greatest Generation. In the book, Brokaw recounts heroic World War II experiences by those who returned to America and built the country during the '50s and '60s.

     Most of us at the MRC like to watch, TV that is, but news analyst Mark Drake actually does some reading of an old-fashioned medium: books. Going through Brokaw's tome he caught this hit on conservatives at the end a chapter about the experiences of liberal Republican Mark Hatfield, the former Senator from Oregon.

From page 339:

So in 1996, Mark Hatfield retired and returned to his beloved Oregon to teach and share in the benefits he had brought to his state during thirty years in the Senate. He left as he arrived, a man of strong independent convictions and still a member of the Republican Party, despite the changes in the DNA of the GOP in recent years.

Commenting on the Republican newcomers, Hatfield told a reporter, 'There are those who think we should be of one mind. They feel, perhaps, that diversity in the party is a weakness, not a strength. I'm an Old Guard Republican. The founders of our party were for small business, education, cutting the military budget. That was our platform in 1856 and I think it's still a darned good one.'

Some of the newer Republican Senators, with their strict conservative dogmas, may never understand a man like Mark Hatfield, but then they've never shuttled Marines ashore under heavy fire at Iwo Jima or Okinawa. They've never looked out on the otherworldly landscape of nuclear devastation and shared their lunch with a starving Japanese child."

END Book excerpt

     How arrogant. People who lived through Hatfield's experiences were, no doubt, profoundly affected and while many became liberal or moderate in their later years, many also became quite conservative and are no less tolerant of other views than liberals are of conservative ones. I'm sure the Christian Coalition membership includes many World War II veterans and while Bob Dole may not be a solid conservative, he certainly had first-hand exposure to the horrors of war and became much more conservative than Hatfield.


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes)The lifetime achievement award to be presented to director Elia Kazan at the Academy Awards on Sunday night has generated quite a bit of moral indignation from the film industry because Kazan actually answered honestly when asked to identify those supporting a totalitarian, murderous regime working to conquer nations around the world.

      Friday night the leftist outrage will get an airing on ABC. Here's the promo for the Match 19 World News Tonight aired Thursday night:
     Announcer: "Tomorrow."
     Peter Jennings: "Loyalties questioned, careers destroyed. Blackballed in Hollywood. The Red Scare."
     Announcer: "The Century on Friday on World News Tonight."

     If I have time, I'll send a CyberAlert on Saturday with some examples of Hollywood's inability to "move on" as they can't forget what Kazan did 45-plus years ago. But here's one example, from writer-director Abraham Polonsky on what he hopes will occur during the Oscar ceremony: "I'll be watching, hoping someone shoots him. It would no doubt be a thrill in an otherwise dull evening."

     Quite an appreciation of diversity.  -- Brent Baker


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