Broadcast Nets Suppress China-DNC; Couric Deplored "Right-Wing"
1) Only CNN considered
newsworthy the news that China's military intelligence chief gave Johnny
Chung $300,000 to give to the DNC. Zilch morning and evening on the
broadcast networks though GMA made time for how baseball fans will consume
26 million hot dogs.
2) ABC News confused the
Atlantic with the Adriatic, labeling the body of water between Italy and
Montenegro: "Atlantic Ocean."
3) Today's Katie Couric
lamented with Ann Richards how the right-wing is "alienating"
moderates and that the climate "established by religious zealots or
Christian conservatives" led to the James Byrd Jr. and Matthew
>>> Gore Gaffes picked up by two
nationally syndicated columnists. Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe and Paul
Greenberg of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette have penned columns about
Gore's gaffes and the lack of media interest in them as documented by
the March 25 edition of the MRC's Media Reality Check fax report. Both
columns should remain on their paper's Web site's for the rest of this
week. To read Jacoby's April 5 column, "Say What, Mr. Gore?",
go to: http://www.boston.com/globe/columns/jacoby.
To read Paul Greenberg's April 4 piece, "Vice President Bore,"
go to: http://www.ardemgaz.com/today/Sun/edi/wopgreenberg4.html.
To check out the MRC fax report by Tim Graham which features a 1993 video
clip of Al Gore at Monticello asking of busts of Washington, Franklin and
Lafayette: "Who are these people?", go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/1999/fax19990325.html.
The MRC's video page features a CNN story that includes a clip of Gore
boasting in 1988 of tobacco: "I've put it in the plant beds and
transferred it. I've hoed it. I've suckered it. I've sprayed it." Go
and then scroll down to the clip dated 3/24. <<<
On Monday only CNN, which gave the story 29 seconds on The World Today,
considered newsworthy Sunday's Los Angeles Times scoop about how Johnny
Chung told a federal grand jury that in 1996 the chief of military
intelligence for China gave him $300,000 to donate to the Democratic
National Committee to help re-elect Bill Clinton. Not a syllable about the
revelation aired on the broadcast networks Monday morning or evening nor,
surprisingly, on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume or Fox Report
Monday night, though it should be noted FNC has done quite a bit on this
general subject over the past year. Not even the intriguing news about how
the FBI thought a "hit squad" may have been sent from China to
silence Chung interested the networks.
networks cannot claim Kosovo war coverage consumed all their time as the
morning and evening shows found time for stories on topics such as a
sinking freeway, controversy over FDA approval of a drug to prevent breast
cancer, luggage theft, how many hot dogs baseball fans will consume this
season, and the White House Easter Egg Roll.
As documented in
the April 5 CyberAlert, the April 4 LA Times story generated a question
each on Fox News Sunday and Meet the Press, but was ignored Sunday night
by ABC, CBS and CNN. (NBA Basketball bumped NBC Nightly News.) To read the
Monday CyberAlert item with excerpts from the Los Angeles Times piece, go
To read the entire 3,500 word LA Times story, go to: http://www.latimes.com/HOME/NEWS/POLITICS/NATPOL/lat_china990404.htm
-- April 5 Evening
Shows. Zilch on the Chinese military intelligence-Clinton link, but in
addition to pieces on Libya turning over suspects in the Pan Am 103
bombing case and a plea bargain in the Matthew Shepard case, the networks
made time for less serious and/or less than pressing stories.
ABC's World News Tonight: An "It's Your
Money" segment by Judy Muller on how the 105 Freeway is sinking in
Los Angeles because of underground water.
CBS Evening News: A brief item on how
baseball's opening day in Los Angeles featured a Dodgers pitcher with a
$100 million contract. Plus, Ray Brady delivered an Eye on America piece
on tax "kinks," specifically how a Kansas family with 13 kids
which earns $90,000 was hit with the Alternative Minimum Tax.
NBC Nightly News: A feature story by Robert
Bazell on the controversy over FDA approval of Tamoxifen (sp?), a drug
meant to prevent breast cancer.
-- April 5 Morning
Shows. Kosovo dominated, but even within the first hour ABC and NBC found
room for other material, though not China, as did CBS in its prime 8am
half hour. In other words, the examples of other stories cited below do
not even touch the fluff aired in the second half of the shows.
ABC's Good Morning America, MRC analyst Jessica
Anderson documented, featured 7am news stories on baseball's opening
game in Monterey, Mexico, and how the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council
says baseball fans will consume at least 26 million hot dogs during Major
League games this season. A 7am half hour interview segment looked at the
Pan Am case and 7:30am half hour segments focused on the Jenny Jones trial
and how to avoid luggage thefts at airports.
CBS's This Morning, MRC analyst Brian Boyd
noted, devoted its last segment in its prime 8am half hour to travel tips
for New Years Eve 1999.
NBC's Today, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens
observed, read items on the 7am news about opening day in Mexico and a
strike by submarine builders in Newport News. Like GMA, Today dedicated a
7am interview segment to the Pan Am bombing. During the 7:30am half hour
Today explored the case in North Carolina in which two 11-year-olds shot
their parents, killing their father. (In the 8am half hour Today went live
to the White House with Al Roker at the Easter Egg Roll where he talked
with actress Jamie Lee Curtis.)
-- CNN. Anchor Jim
Moret squeezed in a 29-second item on the April 5 The World Today. During
Inside Politics, in a story previewing Tuesday's arrival in Los Angeles
of China's premier, Chris Black gave the latest allegations nine
seconds: "The visit comes on the heels of allegations China may have
stolen sensitive missile technology in the 1980s and claims by a former
Democratic fundraiser that a Chinese official gave him $300,000 to support
President Clinton's re-election, a violation of U.S. law. And then,
there is the perennial issue of human rights in China...."
Woodruff then talked to Brooks Jackson about the Chung revelations. He
emphasized how only about $35,000 of the $300,000 made it to the DNC and
that there's "no evidence" Democratic official or Bill Clinton
knew where the money came from, though he added that maybe they should
have known. Jackson also pointed out that last year on May 15 the New York
Times first broke the same basic story, about how Chung received money
from the Chinese Army, to which the LA Times has added details.
Indeed, Jackson is
correct, which reminded me how CBS and NBC also ignored that New York
Times story. As reported in the Monday, May 18, 1998 CyberAlert:
Two big developments on the campaign
fundraising scandal front, but the networks barely noticed. Friday's New
York Times linked Democratic money to China's People's Liberation Army. On
Sunday, both the New York Times and Washington Post featured front page
reports on how the Justice Department had launched an investigation into,
as the May 17 Post put it, "whether a Clinton administration decision
to export commercial satellites to China was influenced by contributions
to the Democratic Party during the 1996 campaign." Some foreign
policy observers have suggested China's improved missile abilities may
have pushed India to hold the nuclear test last week.
So, you have two big stories involving
substantive policy issues, none of that sex stuff so many in the media
criticize Starr for delving into. And how do the networks react? In three
weekday evenings (Friday to Sunday) only ABC aired full stories on both
developments. Neither CBS or NBC mentioned the Sunday newspaper reports on
the China satellite/missile deal.
-- Three day total CBS Evening News time
devoted to either development: 27 seconds.
-- Three day total NBC Nightly News time devoted to either development: 15
-- From Friday through Sunday evening total number of nights CBS or NBC
aired a scandal story: 1.
But before you think that they would have
provided thorough coverage if it weren't for Frank Sinatra's passing,
check out some of the topics they made time to explore: "Powerball
fever," collecting blues albums, and the effort by scientists to
determine if Thomas Jefferson had offspring with slave Sally Hemings.
And no major scandal news cycle would be
complete without the usual disconnect between Tim Russert and the actual
content of the network news division for whom he serves as a Vice
President. On Meet the Press he called the revelations
"devastating." That night and the night before the total amount
of coverage on NBC Nightly News: Zip, zero, nada.
MRC's Tim Graham checked to see how the network news sites treated the
LA Times disclosure. He reported that as of Monday afternoon the CBS News
and NPR Web sites had nothing, abcnews.com and msnbc.com carried an AP
dispatch while CNN's AllPolitics site led with China's denial of Chung's
charges. Time Daily had a link to the CNN story in its brief titled
"Embraceable Zhu," in which Frank Pellegrini reported:
"Luckily for the Chinese economic czar (think Alan Greenspan with Al
Gore's title), not only is there a war going on, but Congress is on
vacation for most of his eight-day visit. TIME U.N. correspondent William
Dowell thinks that with Kosovo dominating the airwaves, Zhu may be able to
get under the radar and lay the groundwork for a deal. 'Zhu is a
capitalist reformer, a very pragmatic guy who speaks the language of free
trade that the West wants to hear,' he says. 'With Congress on recess,
he'll be able to seek out the members that he needs to convince, and try
to assuage their doubts.' The rest will just have to fight for face time
with those fireballs in Belgrade."
ABC's oceanography-challenged graphics department. Can you take a cruise
on a ship from New York City to Montenegro or Venice and never leave the
Atlantic Ocean? In the real world you'd have to go through the
Mediterranean Sea, Ionian Sea and Adriatic Sea, but not according to an
ABC News graphic shown on Friday's World News Tonight.
readers Mike Kerns and family of Washington state alerted me to the map
shown during the first story on the April 2 show. Peter Jennings opened
the program by going to Morton Dean on the phone from Belgrade with the
latest on NATO bombing of the capital city. ABC put his picture on the
screen over a map of the area. Between Dean's picture on the top left of
the screen and his name across the bottom of the screen, ABC had this
label for the body of water between Italy and Montenegro: "Atlantic
Ooops. That would
be the Adriatic Sea.
It's been a bad
few days for the World News Tonight graphics team and they can't blame
the NABET strike since it's long over. Monday's World News Tonight put
this name on-screen during a story by their own Judy Muller: "Judy
+++ See ABC's
confused map. Tuesday morning the MRC's Sean Henry will post a still
shot of ABC's mislabeled map and a video clip of Jennings talking to
Dean over it. Go to the MRC's home page after 10am ET: http://www.mrc.org
Where was Katie Couric the evening of March 3, the night ABC's 20/20
featured Barbara Walters' interview with Monica Lewinsky? She was not
home watching it. No, the Today co-host was at the 92nd Street Y in New
York City bemoaning with former Texas Governor Ann Richards how the
right-wing is "alienating so many moderate Republicans in this
country" and how "the climate that some say has been established
by religious zealots or Christian conservatives" led to the James
Byrd Jr. and Matthew Shepard murders.
We know about how
Couric spent her evening thanks to C-SPAN, which on Saturday night, April
3, as part of its "American Perspectives" series, played a tape
of the March 3 event in Manhattan with the liberal former Governor of
Texas. Both appeared side-by-side in chairs on stage with Couric posing
her own questions and later reading some passed up by the audience.
Picking up on the
event of the day, Couric asked Richards about Lewinsky, prompting this
tirade from Richards which pleased the audience: "The right-wing has
cut off the opportunities for women to get ahead by trying to kill
affirmative action everywhere. And now they're trying to cut it off from
us sleeping around to get ahead. You know there have been some perfectly
good big salaries, big titles that have come as a consequence of little
liaisons like this. And now these right-wing nuts are going to slam that
guffawed. That's what Manhattanites consider humorous.
Couric did ask one
devil's advocate question in he 90-minute plus session, about whether
Americans should expect better behavior from their President, but she soon
returned to questions which assumed the Republican Party was too extreme:
"Governor Richards, I think it's been
reported increasingly lately that the Republican Party realizes,
especially moderate members of the party, that they have a real identity
crisis and a real split within the party -- people like Christie Todd
Whitman etc. And they had a meeting down in Florida I believe where they
talked about the only people that still liked them are what businesspeople
and who else did they say, one other subset of the population, it was
pretty small. So do you think that they are going to fix the party?
Don't you think they might somehow bring it more to the center? They
realize they are alienating so many moderate Republicans in this
A bit later Couric
remained eager to please Richards. Note how she says her question "is
actually not necessarily about the right-wing," but then proceeds to
impugn "Christian conservatives" as if they are in another
"Let's talk a little bit more about the
right-wing because I know that's something you feel very strongly about.
But this is actually not necessarily about the right-wing but perhaps a
climate that some say has been established by religious zealots or
Christian conservatives. There have been two recent incidents in the news
I think that upset most people in this country -- that is the dragging
death of James Byrd Junior and the beating death of Matthew Shepard. I
just would like you to reflect on whether you feel people in this country
are increasingly intolerant, mean-spirited etcetera and what if anything
can be done about that because a lot of people get very discouraged when
they hear and see this kind of brutality taking place."
like how she blamed the Christian Right on the Today show just after
Shepard's murder. Check out the CyberAlerts at the time: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1998/cyb19981015.html#3
by recalling how Dallas was "full of hatred" at the time of
Kennedy's assassination, with "right-wingers" disrupting a
speech by former Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson.
At least they
didn't shoot him. A left-wing, communist-supporting guy murdered
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