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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Friday April 2, 1999 (Vol. Four; No. 60)
Nets Skip Warnings to Clinton; Giuliani Scolded for Criticizing Hillary

1) Thursday newspaper stories disclosed that Clinton was warned that bombing would prompt Milosevic to eviscerate Kosovo, but ABC and NBC ignored the revelation Thursday morning and of the broadcast networks on Thursday night only ABC touched it.

2) FNC's Carl Cameron uniquely reported Thursday night that China approached U.S. nuclear scientists asking for secrets and that the Chinese premier my cancel his scheduled visit to Washington.

3) Today co-host Matt Lauer scolded New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for setting the wrong "tone" for his Senate battle against Hillary Clinton because a Web site says "she's a carpet-bagger, she's someone who failed in her health care experience."

4) From a Washington Post "news" story: "How does a woman whose international profile is so high that bystanders in Africa two years ago referred to her as 'the queen of the world' adjust to becoming a low-ranking member of the seniority-conscious Senate?"

>>> We made it all up. Before anyone cites as real any of the quotes in the April 1 Notable Quotables distributed in the previous CyberAlert, please know that it was an April Fools edition. We made up every quote except the last one from Bryant Gumbel. If any others seemed believable to you it just shows how biased the media are everyday. Authors of the quotes: In addition to myself, MRC staff members Tim Graham, Brent Bozell, Geoffrey Dickens, Mark Drake, Brian Boyd and Tom Johnson all contributed at least one quote. The April Fools issue is posted at: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/1999/nq19990401.html <<<

>>> Dan and Bill. To view a Real Player video clip of Dan Rather kissing up to Bill Clinton on Wednesday's 60 Minutes II with questions about being the husband of a U.S. Senator and "Given the year plus what you and our First Family have been through, tell us what you can about how the three of you are doing," go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/biasvideo.html <<<


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) Bill Clinton was warned in advance by the CIA and top Pentagon officials what Milosevic would do in Kosovo if attacked with airstrikes, Washington Post and New York Times stories revealed Thursday morning. But two of three broadcast networks ignored the disclosure Thursday morning and evening.

     The Washington Post's April 1 front page story reported: "CIA Director George J. Tenet had been forecasting that Serb-led Yugoslav forces might respond by accelerating their campaign of ethnic cleansing in the province of Kosovo -- precisely the outcome that has unfolded over the past week." The New York Times relayed how Pentagon planners "said they warned the administration publicly and privately that Milosevic was likely to strike out viciously against the Kosovo Albanians as soon as a possibility of military actions was raised."

     Neither story generated a syllable on the April 1 Good Morning America or Today, reported MRC analysts Jessica Anderson and Mark Drake, though both shows devoted their entire first half hours to the war. In one news update on CBS's This Morning Bill Plante gave a few seconds to citing the Washington Post story, MRC analyst Brian Boyd noted.

     In the evening, zilch on the CBS Evening News or NBC Nightly News though both programs devoted at least three-fourths of their air time to the war. Over on ABC's World News Tonight, Sam Donaldson took 31 seconds to summarize the two newspaper stories and play a retort from Bill Cohen. Over pictures of the Post and Times headlines, Donaldson told viewers:
     "Administration officials are not denying stories that Pentagon planners warned the President in advance that air power alone could not stop ethnic cleansing if the Serbs were determined to press on. Secretary of Defense Cohen bristled at the suggestion that going ahead anyway was illogical."

     To be fair to NBC, the March 31 Nightly News included an In Depth piece by Andrea Mitchell reviewing the administration's miscalculations. Mitchell began: "Atrocities in Kosovo, a Serb dictator who won't back down, a human torrent of refugees. Proof protestors and critics say that the administration's entire strategy is flawed, miscalculated from the beginning."

     Since the networks gave so little, if any, time to the Washington Post and New York Times revelations, below are excerpts from the two April 1 stories:

     -- "Advice Didn't Sway Clinton On Airstrikes," announced the headline over the page one Washington Post piece by John F. Harris which opened:

The warnings were there for President Clinton. For weeks before the NATO air campaign against Yugoslavia, sources said, CIA Director George J. Tenet had been forecasting that Serb-led Yugoslav forces might respond by accelerating their campaign of ethnic cleansing in the province of Kosovo -- precisely the outcome that has unfolded over the past week.

All during this time, U.S. military leaders were offering Clinton a corresponding assessment of their own. If the Serbs did launch such an assault, they said, air power alone would not be sufficient to stop it -- precisely the analysis that NATO's supreme commander, Gen. Wesley K. Clark, articulated publicly this week when asked what the military could do to halt the humanitarian disaster unfolding in the Balkans.

But in the face of this advice, according to a variety of U.S. and European sources familiar with the decision-making, Clinton and his senior White House advisers pressed on with their planning for an air campaign. The group, participants said, never reassessed the fundamental judgment they had reached the previous fall, which ruled out the use of ground troops as a way of protecting Kosovo's majority Albanian population from a brutal crackdown by the Serbs.

That judgment, which several administration officials said was arrived at easily and with little internal dissent, is now at the core of what could count as the most serious foreign policy crisis of Clinton's presidency. With more than a hundred thousand Albanians already driven out of Kosovo by Serb "ethnic cleansing," and an unknown number killed, a central question is confronting Clinton: Why were his foreign policy aims not more closely matched with the military means necessary to achieve them?

The essential answer, as offered by a variety of administration officials, is that Clinton never believed he had a viable alternative. The use of NATO ground troops, never a likely option, was expressly ruled out by the White House in October, when NATO military analysts produced a study that concluded it would take as many as 200,000 NATO troops to protect Kosovo on the ground....

     END Post excerpt

     -- New York Times reporters Craig Whitney and Eric Schmitt led their dispatch from Brussels, Belgium:

The top civilian and military leaders of NATO settled on their strategy against President Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia despite several military assessments and intelligence warnings, and even a clue from a Yugoslav general, that bombs alone could not stop Serb forces from carrying out a purge in Kosovo.

The finger-pointing about missed signals and suggestions of mismanagement began to surface here and in Washington as the second week of the bombing campaign began with no sign that Milosevic was buckling, and no idea how it would end.

Pentagon planners, for example, said they warned the administration publicly and privately that Milosevic was likely to strike out viciously against the Kosovo Albanians as soon as a possibility of military actions was raised, and that he would use the period of negotiations in France to prepare....

Senior Administration and congressional officials in Washington, for example, cited an American military intelligence assessment completed shortly before the allied air campaign which concluded that Milosevic intended to "ethnically cleanse" the 1.8 million Albanians within a week.

Officials in Washington dismissed the plan as foolish Serbian bravado and confidently boasted that tough Kosovo Liberation Army fighters, plus a few days of allied bombing, would be enough to show Milosevic that he was mistaken. Throughout the months of planning for a crisis over Kosovo, a ranking officer in Brussels said today, the allies chose bombing because none of them were willing to take the risk of sending in the 100,000 to 200,000 troops that they thought it would take to keep the Serbs from having their way with the 1.8 million ethnic Albanians in the province....

     END Times excerpt


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) The Fox News Channel can handle two stories at once. For the second time this week, FNC managed to cover the Kosovo war and simultaneously deliver some unique information about Chinese espionage. Paula Zahn took about half a minute on the April 1 Fox Report to inform viewers that Fox had learned that Chinese intelligence agents had targeted U.S. nuclear scientists, asking that they pass along secrets, a scoop reporter Carl Cameron more fully outlined on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume:
     "Energy Department sources say that over the last year they have counter-intelligence debriefed some 200 U.S. scientists and staffers from the Los Alamos labs and in at least four cases Los Alamos employees say they have been approached by Chinese officials and asked to expose to them top secret U.S. nuclear weapons technology...."

     Cameron also raised the possibility that the Chinese premier will cancel his trip to Washington that's scheduled for next week. Noting China's opposition to the Kosovo war and a recent ruling about its unfair trade practices, plus the controversy over the espionage that China denies, Cameron told Hume: "It has all created a very antagonistic atmosphere and there are senior Chinese officials right now raging a huge debate over the wisdom of whether or not Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji should come next week. Right now the Chinese embassy says they believe he's coming but there are a number of State Department sources who say they would not be surprised at all if at the last minute they were to scuttle the trip altogether."

     See the March 31 CyberAlert for Cameron's March 30 story on how a Senate Intelligence Committee report due in late April will provide "the most direct link yet between alleged Democratic campaign finance corruption and China's military advancement."


giuliani0402.jpg (8126 bytes)cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) Hillary for Senate Committee, Studio 1A Opposition Suppression Command. From NBC's Studio 1A in Rockefeller Plaza, Thursday morning Today co-host Matt Lauer rebuked New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for setting the wrong "tone" for his potential Senate seat battle against Hillary Rodham Clinton. Giuliani's offense? Affiliation with a Web site which, Lauer huffed, says "she's a carpet-bagger, she's someone who failed in her health care experience."

     How destructive, making a couple of factual observations. But maybe that's the problem for Lauer who reflected the wider media attitude that critically assessing an opponents record is an evil of politics that politicians should be shamed out of talking about. At least if their words or ads might hurt the liberal candidate.

     MRC analyst Mark Drake observed that Today primarily brought Giuliani aboard to be scolded by Lauer for a lack of sensitivity over how he has reacted to protests about the police shooting of the unarmed Amadou Diallo. When Giuliani insisted he has shown empathy for the plight of minority neighborhoods beset by crime, Lauer shot back: "You know that's not your reputation. This has dogged you for your entire administration." Lauer proceeded to demand that Giuliani admit he has a "difficult time connecting" with minorities.

     After Giuliani suggested his polls will rebound when people realize how much crime has fallen as police shooting have actually been declining on a per capita basis, Lauer jumped to the Senate campaign:
     "You're not all that concerned about polls, but this comes at a difficult time because you are considering higher office. You've made no secret of the fact you are eyeing a possible Senate run for Patrick Moynihan's seat. So is the First Lady. Let me give you a quick shot of a Web site that went up recently called HillaryNo.com sponsored by Friends of Rudolph Giuliani. [on screen shot of the Web page] This is a very unflattering portrayal in pictures and content of the First Lady. Is this the kind of tone..."
     Giuliani jumped in: "Oh, it isn't at all, come on."
     Lauer: "Oh it is, let me tell you about some of the things."
     Giuliani: "It raises an issue, Matt."
     Lauer cuts in: "She's a carpet-bagger, she's someone who failed in her health care experience. She's used New York to set her sights on higher office. She's unqualified to become a Senator."
     Giuliani: "All very fair, all very fair issues about somebody's that's never run for public office, wants to run in a state that they have absolutely no connection to. If I were to go to Arkansas and attempt to run for the Senate, don't you think those issues would be raised?"
     Lauer: "Is this the tone of the campaign we might expect?"
     Giuliani: "No, of course not. This is an attempt to gain some benefit from the fact that there are issues here and this was the most successful political Web site in the history of the Internet. It had almost 300,000 people who came to it and it developed 2,500 volunteers. People, I know that there's a certain like aura here, but the reality is, let's just make it politics now, I go to Arkansas, I've never run for public office before. Not a mayor, never run for public office before. Have no connection to the state of Arkansas. Don't you think the people in Arkansas and the other political figures in Arkansas would raise that the issue that oh my goodness you're a carpet-bagger. Come on. And to be this outraged by it is a little bit of an overreaction Matt."

     Indeed, from Lauer's ominous summary of the page's supposed destructiveness you'd think it featured extensive articles and postings tearing Hillary Clinton apart with intemperate language and malicious charges. But that's not quite the reality. All the Web site features is buttons for three options: signing a petition urging Giuliani to run, a donations page and page explaining how to place the "HillaryNo.com" banner on your Web page. Above these three links the page has two paragraphs of text. Here they are, in full:
     "Senator Clinton? Hillary Rodham Clinton is considering a future as a United States Senator in New York! With no governmental experience, never elected to any public office, her failed health care experiment under her belt, Mrs. Clinton now wants to be part of the Senate as we head into the next millennium. Born in Illinois and carried to power in Arkansas, with no connection of any kind to New York, Hillary has set her sights on the New York Senate seat and maybe...probably...set her sights even higher.
     "That's what HillaryNo.com is all about. It is a website dedicated to the notion that we should expect more from someone who aspires to the U.S. Senate. That the U.S. Senate is a place for proven leaders, not a proving ground."

     That's it. That's the wrong "tone" to Lauer. I guess to make Lauer happy Friends of Giuliani should put up a site promoting Hillary's wonders.

     As for Lauer's claim that the site features "a very unflattering portrayal in pictures," that's ludicrous. It features just one picture, a nice color shot of a smiling Hillary, her arm outstretched doing a thumbs-up. Check for yourself: http://www.hillaryno.com

+++ Watch this Lauer/Giuliani exchange about his Web site's tone. Friday morning the MRC's Sean Henry will post a video clip in RealPlayer format. After 10am ET, go to: http://www.mrc.org


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) Staying on the Hillary the Great theme, a Thursday Washington Post dispatch from a reporter traveling with First Lady Hillary Clinton in Morocco appeared in the news section though it read like a tribute from an admirer befuddled by why she would want to lower herself by becoming a Senator.

     In the story caught by the MRC's Tim Graham, reporter Peter Baker wondered: "How does a woman whose international profile is so high that bystanders in Africa two years ago referred to her as 'the queen of the world' adjust to becoming a low-ranking member of the seniority-conscious Senate?"

     Here's the first third of the Post's adulation under the page A17 headline, "In Morocco, Hillary Clinton Discards Politics for Diplomacy." From Marrakesh, Morocco Peter Baker, definitely no relation to me, oozed:

Forget the Senate. Over the last 12 days, Hillary Rodham Clinton has looked and sounded more like a candidate for Secretary of State.

There she was in Egypt, gently urging tolerance for the minority Coptic Christians. There she was in Tunisia, lashing out at Islamic radicals in other countries who oppress women. And here she was in Morocco, speaking out on everything from the Middle East peace process to the NATO airstrikes in Yugoslavia.

It has hardly been a new role for the most traveled First Lady in American history. Indeed, Clinton's trek through the deserts of North Africa has closely followed the political and diplomatic road map she has used through six years of globe-trotting to such out-of-the-way locales as South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and the former Soviet republics.

But the sight of the First Lady back on the world stage where she feels so sure-footed brought into sharp focus the peculiar trade-offs facing her as she decides whether to run next year for the seat of retiring Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.): How does a woman who eagerly told an audience this morning about education and economics in Guatemala and Uganda turn her attention to the pork-and-potholes issues that arise in places like Utica and Ithaca? How does a woman whose international profile is so high that bystanders in Africa two years ago referred to her as "the queen of the world" adjust to becoming a low-ranking member of the seniority-conscious Senate?

These are the questions that some advisers leery of her Senate flirtation have been asking her. If she has come up with any answers, she was not letting on today....

     END Excerpt

     Well she certainly will go into the race with an advantage over Giuliani. She'll have the national media on her side.

     Final Thought. Doesn't "Arkan," the Serbian para-military leader who was interviewed Wednesday by CNN and on Thursday on Today and the CBS Evening News, sound like the name for a character on Star Trek? My Larry King moment for the week. -- Brent Baker


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