Nets Skipped Chinese Military-DNC Donation Link; Gas vs. Milk for Kids
1) Comparing Clinton to
Roosevelt during WWII, NPR's Nina Totenberg defended Clinton's
decision to play golf.
2) Johnny Chung provided a
direct link from top Chinese officials, including the chief of military
intelligence, to funds donated to President Clinton's campaign. And
China may have sent a "hit squad" to kill Chung, but all the
networks Sunday night ignored the explosive story on the front page of the
Los Angeles Times.
3) Loving liberal protests.
NBC jumped on a rally against police brutality and a dozen people on a
sidewalk led CBS to devote a whole story to claims higher gas prices will
deprive kids of milk.
4) NBC's Maria Shriver
pushed Cal Thomas to admit the Christian Right set a bad "tone"
and she claimed many are automatons who look to Pat Robertson to tell them
"what they should think."
>>> April 5 MediaWatch now online.
Check out a front page article titled "Two Thumbs Down for Oscar's
Honors," by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson and a Review by the MRC's
Tim Graham: "Meet the Obedient White House Press." On the back
page, an On the Bright Side item headlined "CNN Catches Gore
Gaffes" and a piece on how "CNN's Cold War Rewrites the
'80s." Plus, Newsbites on the networks treating the China scandal
as a partisan GOP gimmick, Time magazine falsely hyping Al Gore's claims
about suburban sprawl and how CNN and NBC picked up on negative NARAL ads
against Elizabeth Dole and George W. Bush. To read these articles, go to
the MRC home page and click on the "News Division" button on the
After six days Clinton was as stressed as Roosevelt, so deserved a break
to play golf.
On this past
weekend's Inside Washington, liberal advocate and National Public Radio
reporter Nina Totenberg defended President Clinton's decision to play
golf one day last week:
"I agree it was bad PR and apparently a lot
of people on his staff advised him not to do it. But you know there's a
great passage in Doris Kearns Goodwin's book about the Roosevelt's in
World War II in which she describes how President Roosevelt, when he would
get in a real bind, would go out on his boat for a week or two to try to
figure out how to get out of it and to clear his mind, to think clearly
about it. Clinton was feeling exhausted, he wanted to get out, he wanted
to, let some air in and I don't begrudge him."
I can't beat
Charles Krauthammer's response, so I'll go with it: "The
comparison to FDR is simply absurd. That was a war that lasted half a
decade. This was Day 6 of the bloody campaign..."
"The chief of China's military intelligence secretly directed funds
from Beijing to help reelect President Clinton in 1996, former Democratic
fundraiser Johnny Chung has told federal investigators," Sunday's
Los Angeles Times reported in an explosive front page story bridging the
campaign fundraising and espionage scandals.
disclosed that the FBI feared at one point last year that a "hit
squad" had been sent from China to kill Chung and conveyed the import
of its reporting: "Chung's testimony has provided investigators the
first direct link between a senior Chinese government official and illicit
foreign contributions that were funneled into Clinton's 1996 reelection
Zilch Sunday night. Not a syllable on ABC's World News Tonight, CBS
Evening News or CNN's The World Today, though each had time for at least
one less than pressing non- Kosovo story. (NBA basketball bumped NBC
Nightly News in the East.) ABC found room for a look at how baseball's
opening game was to be played in Mexico and how baseball is marketing
itself to Mexicans; CBS featured a story on how high schools are
considering later start times to accommodate teenage sleep patterns and a
report on the spread of Hepatitis C. CNN's 9:30pm ET edition of The
World Today ran a lengthy piece on a medical school which teaches future
doctors about alternative medicine.
The LA Times story
did generate brief mention on Fox News Sunday and NBC's Meet the Press:
NPR's Mara Liasson asked guest Pat Buchanan about it on Fox and NBC's
Tim Russert raised the story in his last question to Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright. I missed Face the Nation, but did not hear the story
mentioned on ABC's This Week.
can't say they missed the West Coast paper's story on the Easter
holiday, as the Washington Post printed a condensed version of the story
on page A10, though sans the portions about FBI concerns about Chung's
Links Top China Official, Funds for Clinton," announced the April 4
Los Angeles Times headline. Since this all may be news to readers outside
the LA and Washington, DC areas, below are some excerpts from the lengthy
3,500 word piece by Washington bureau reporters William C. Rempel, Henry
Weinstein and Alan C. Miller:
The chief of China's military intelligence
secretly directed funds from Beijing to help reelect President Clinton in
1996, former Democratic fundraiser Johnny Chung has told federal
Chung says he met three times with the
intelligence official, Gen. Ji Shengde, who ordered $300,000 deposited
into the Torrance businessman's bank account to subsidize campaign
donations intended for Clinton, according to sources familiar with Chung's
sealed statements to federal prosecutors.
During their initial meeting on Aug. 11,
1996, in Hong Kong, Ji conveyed to Chung the Chinese government's specific
interest in supporting Clinton: "We like your President," Ji
said, according to sources familiar with Chung's grand jury testimony.
Chung testified that he was introduced to the intelligence chief by the
daughter of China's retired senior military officer.
Chung's testimony has provided
investigators the first direct link between a senior Chinese government
official and illicit foreign contributions that were funneled into
Clinton's 1996 reelection effort. It is the strongest evidence to emerge
-- in two years of federal investigations -- that the highest levels of
the Chinese government sought to influence the U.S. election process.
Key aspects of Chung's testimony, which has
not been made public, have been corroborated by financial records in the
United States and Hong Kong, according to law enforcement and other
Gen. Ji, the Chinese intelligence chief,
was named by Chung in sworn grand jury testimony and in statements made to
Justice Department investigators during extensive interviews from December
1997 through March 1998. Chung also turned over cartons of financial
Chung told investigators that he and Ji
were brought together by Liu Chaoying, the daughter of retired Gen. Liu
Huaqing. At the time, she was a Chung business partner as well as a
lieutenant colonel in the People's Liberation Army....
Chung's relationship with federal
authorities took a dramatic turn last spring when teams of federal agents
moved him and his family into protective custody, law enforcement sources
told The Times.
The FBI feared for Chung's safety after he
received veiled threats and bribe offers from individuals pressing him to
keep silent about his China dealings. Those concerns grew after the FBI
received information from overseas indicating that Chung could be in
For 21 days in May and June, Chung and his
family were kept under 24-hour guard in hotels near Los Angeles
International Airport by teams of heavily armed FBI agents. And, as
recently as two weeks ago, special agents again secluded the Chung family
in a Torrance hotel for three days over still-unexplained safety
During this period when Chung and his
family were kept in hiding, FBI counterintelligence agents also monitored
groups of Chinese visitors traveling in Southern California, according to
law enforcement and other sources. At least one group was regarded by U.S.
intelligence operatives as a possible "hit squad," said one
federal law enforcement official....
He met Liu in July 1996. She was not only a
ranking military officer but also vice president of a Hong Kong subsidiary
of China Aerospace Corp., a government-owned company that deals in
satellite technology and missile sales....
The LA Times
normally only keeps articles up for a day, but in this case this article
will probably remain accessible for a few days. Along with the story text,
the Web site version provides a detailed time line for Chung's
activities and a half dozen audio clips of reporter William Rempel talking
about the story. Go to: http://www.latimes.com/HOME/NEWS/POLITICS/NATPOL/lat_china990404.htm
How many liberals protesting does it take to generate a network TV story?
Very few. Saturday's newscasts provided an illuminating demonstration
that it is not how many who are protesting that determines network
interest, but if the cause appeals to network producers.
A couple of
hundred people protesting police brutality made it onto both CBS and NBC
and about a dozen people on a sidewalk complaining about gas prices
generated a hysterical story on CBS, complete with a woman screaming about
how higher gas prices mean she can't buy milk for her children.
brutality. The April 3 CBS Evening News gave a few seconds to a rally in
Washington, DC, but NBC treated it as a seminal event. NBC Nightly News
anchor John Seigenthaler intoned: "To Washington now where families
from across the country staged a protest against police brutality."
Rick Davis began his full story: "They came
from cities and towns across the country, holding names and photographs
high, victims they say of abuse of power. One killing in New York caused
them to join in grief and anger..."
Sounds like a
major protest and NBC only showed close-up video so you could not measure
how many attended.
Check: The April 4 Washington Post allocated this story to page 3
of the Metro section, reporting that "hundreds" attended. The
Washington Times reported that the rally attracted "a couple of
-- Rising gas prices. Saturday's World News
Tonight aired a comparatively reasonable piece by Lisa Salters about how
gas prices have risen to an average of $1.46 a gallon in California
compared to $1.09 nationwide. She attributed the increase to OPEC's
decision to reduce production and fires at some California refineries.
ABC's story was
reasonable compared to the wackiness delivered by CBS. Anchor John Roberts
introduced the April 3 CBS Evening News story on complaints about rising
gas prices by calling it the latest form of "road rage."
Over video of
barely a dozen people on a Los Angeles sidewalk, reporter Vince Gonzalez
asserted: "In car crazy California, motorists are doing the
unthinkable: Leaving their cars and taking to the streets to protest the
price of gasoline."
Gonzalez then played a clip from the protest from
a woman identified as Alicia Dei, who preposterously shouted: "How
are you going to buy milk for your children and gas for your car to go to
how gas prices are up 40 cents a gallon in the past month from record
lows. After playing a clip of a woman at a gas station complaining,
Gonzalez featured a man claiming it's all because of "greed"
by the oil companies:
"What's causing the rise now? There really
isn't any one thing. The oil producing countries did collectively cut
production last month and at the same time fires at refineries in
California cut into supplies. But gasoline dealer Alan Cherko blames it on
Cherko: "The oil companies have had a bad
year and I think it was a time where they could get the prices up where it
normally should be."
Gonzalez: "Cherko is raising his prices
everyday in response to the price his supplier is charging him. Still, he
thinks things will settle down soon."
Cherko: "I don't see anybody screaming,
jumping up and down."
Well, viewers did as Gonzalez jumped right back
to the protest and Dei, who screamed: "What are we going to do? What
are we Americans gonna do?"
dismissing Dei as a wacky crank, Gonzalez took her cause seriously,
outlining how protesters have called for "a national gas out
Check. ABC and CBS ignored two
factors in the price of gas in California: environmental rules and
excessively high taxes. As an April 2 AP story on the then upcoming
protest organized by a "community activist" noted:
"The nation's most populous state has been
particularly hard hit. Fires at two California refineries cut into
supplies, and a state decision to phase out an additive designed to make
gas burn cleaner because of safety concerns could be costly.
"Then there's a state levy of 18 cents per
gallon added to a 7.25 percent sales tax, some of the highest fees in the
nation. Motorists already pay 18.4 cents per gallon in federal
In other words,
taxes on a gallon are greater than the recent 40 cents per gallon rise.
+++ Watch the woman with the wild claims
and see the small size of the crowd. To see and hear the CBS story,
including the humorous jump from the gas station owner claiming no one is
screaming to the screaming woman, go to the MRC home page where Kristina
Sewell and Sean Henry will post a video clip Monday morning in RealPlayer
format. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
To see past video
clips, including Today's Matt Lauer condemning the HillaryNo.com Web
page and Dan Rather kissing up to Bill Clinton last week, go to the
MRC's video page: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/biasvideo.html
On Friday's Today NBC's Maria Shriver kept pushing Cal Thomas to admit
the Christian Right set a bad "tone" in the 1980s. Earlier,
matching the derogatory liberal view that Rush Limbaugh listeners are
automatons, Shriver claimed "a lot of people" look to Pat
Robertson to tell them "what they should think." (Shriver filled
in last week for Katie Couric.)
conservative columnist and former aide to Jerry Falwell, has co-authored a
new book titled, "Blinded by Might: Can the Religious Right Save
America?" After allowing Thomas to explain his thesis that the
Religious Right became too entangled in politics, how some leaders got
their priorities mixed up as ordained ministers got away from their true
calling, and urging conservatives to encourage bubble up morality, Shriver
what would you say to Reverend Robertson? A lot of people look to him to
figure out where they should vote, what they should think -- to be guided
by him. What would you say?"
Thomas cautioned: "Well I don't know if a
lot of people look to him to be guided. I think most of the people simply
look to him for a voice. For may years they felt excluded from the major
media and people like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and James Dobson and
others gave a voice to their concerns...."
to explain his view that when religious leaders became so active in
politics it looked like they were saying being religious means you must be
a conservative Republican.
analyst Mark Drake noticed, then pressed Thomas: "What do you think
is the biggest mistake, single biggest mistake, you, Reverend Falwell, the
Religious Right made?"
Thomas: "I think it's looking top
political leadership for..."
Shriver, not getting the answered she wanted, cut
him off and suggested her own: "Not in the tactics, not in the
Thomas: "Well I think that too, sure. I
think a lot of the direct mail -- and that comes from both left and right.
The left sends out fundraising saying the right is going to come in and
police your bedroom. The right sends out fundraising saying the left is
going to ruin your daughter."
Shriver, still not pleased with his answer,
shouted over his last words: "But don't you think that the '80s --
your work with the Moral Majority, with Reverend Falwell that conjured up
a lot of negativity?"
Thomas: "Well there was a lot of negativity
going on and still is. Unborn children being aborted, the cultural
Shriver, talking over Thomas the second she heard
the word "aborted" from Thomas: "But do you think you were
at all responsible for that? For inflaming people's opinions, throwing it
right out there in their face, asking them...."
Thomas, jumping in: "No, I think to Jerry
Falwell's lasting credit he gave voice to a lot of issues and put them
on the front burner that should have been there, that might have not been
without his intervention."
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