ABC, CBS & NBC AWOL on Chung; ABC's Right to Carry: the Anti-Gun Case
1) China's premier arrived
in the U.S. and Clinton gave a China speech, but zilch on Johnny Chung on
ABC, CBS and NBC. CNN previewed the premier's trip, but avoided Chung.
Only FNC put Chung's testimony into a story, adding he got solicited by
2) Geraldo urged the grand
jury in Little Rock to employ jury nullification in the Susan McDougal
case, calling it a "spiteful prosecution" of a woman standing up
to "Starr and his bullies."
3) ABC didn't bother with
the NRA's case for Missouri's right to carry law and didn't let
anyone answer the opponent's argument which ABC stressed, but ABC made
sure viewers knew the NRA lost.
4) "The abortion issue
presents a troubling complication for a Republican Party anxious to win
back the White House," CNN's Judy Woodruff insisted in endorsing
the premise of a NARAL ad but she questioned the purpose behind a
group's ad against Al Gore.
5) Oops. When did "Daniel
Cohen" become Secretary of Defense?
>>> "Dot gov dot." The
MRC Web site now offers a Gore Gaffes Video page put together by Webmaster
Sean Henry. It features four video clips, including a clip of a 1996 CBS
News story the MRC"s Kristina Sewell dug out of our tape library
showing Gore mixing up Web addressing as he tells a student the address
for the White House Web page is "w, w, w, dot White House dot gov
dot." Also on the page in RealPlayer format: Gore boasting about how
"I took the initiative in creating the Internet," asking
"who are these people" as he looked at busts of George
Washington and Benjamin Franklin, and bragging in 1988, four years after
his sister died from lung cancer, about his personal involvement in
growing tobacco. To watch the videos, point your browser to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/goregaffesvideo.html
Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji arrived in Los Angeles on Tuesday but not his
arrival, nor pending White House meetings and dinner scheduled for
Thursday, nor even a speech by President Clinton on Wednesday about
U.S.-China relations, prompted a syllable Tuesday or Wednesday on any of
the broadcast networks about Johnny Chung's allegation or about Chinese
(As the April 6
CyberAlert noted, on Monday CNN's The World Today gave 29 seconds to
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. CNN's Inside Politics also discussed the charge
with reporter Brooks Jackson. Not a syllable about the revelation aired on
the broadcast networks Monday morning or evening, nor had the networks
raised the story on Sunday night.)
In the 48 hours
since Monday night, zilch on the ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening
shows on Tuesday and Wednesday. FNC's Fox Report gave the matter a few
seconds on both Tuesday and Wednesday night. Wednesday's Special Report
with Brit Hume featured a piece by Carl Cameron, previewing Zhu's
Washington arrival, which outlined the Chung charge and revealed that
Chung recently received a direct mail fundraising letter from Al Gore.
CNN's The World Today also looked at Zhu's visit, but though Andrea
Koppel noted there's a "cornucopia of controversy overshadowing the
Chinese premier's visit," she failed to cite the Chung case.
Now, to what the
broadcast networks covered instead and what CNN and FNC relayed:
evening shows. Wednesday night, April 7, all devoted more than half their
shows to Kosovo, but still found time for other matters. Both ABC's
World News Tonight and the NBC Nightly News looked at problems with the
FAA's new air traffic control system. ABC also aired full stories on the
forecast of a busy June to November hurricane season and on how people are
moving to Yuma, Arizona to be near Los Algoddones, Mexico to take
advantage of its cheap medical services, especially dental work and
The CBS Evening News found time for a full report
on record auto sales and how smoking is more detrimental health-wise the
younger you start smoking. NBC's Tom Brokaw highlighted how an article
in the magazine Nature reported that the rain forest in Brazil is being
destroyed twice as fast as believed. NBC Nightly News also squeezed in a
full report on how credit card companies make up for low interest rate
come-on offers with tricky late fees.
-- Morning shows.
Tuesday's Good Morning America noted Zhu Rongji's arrival in the U.S.
but did not raise any of the scandals. Wednesday morning only GMA gave
even a few seconds to a New York Times story on how the Energy Department
has suspended secret nuclear work on computers at its three nuclear labs
pending a security review. Not a word about Zhu on Today on Tuesday or
Wednesday, reported MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens, but on Wednesday Today
devoted the 7:30am half hour interview segments to the balloonists who
went around the world and to the 25th anniversary of Hank Aaron breaking
Babe Ruth's home run record.
-- CNN's The
World Today, April 7, gave Andrea Koppel time for a full story but she
didn't bother with Chung and the fundraising scandal. She began by
playing soundbites of Clinton from his Wednesday address defending his
China policy and urging that China be allowed to join the World Trade
Organization (WTO). Koppel continued:
"Meanwhile, elsewhere in Washington members
of Congress raised their concerns about the veritable cornucopia of
controversy overshadowing the Chinese premier's visit, allegations of
Chinese spying at U.S. nuclear weapons labs, human rights abuses and a $57
billion U.S. trade deficit with China." CNN viewers then saw a clip
of Republican Congressman Chris Cox before Koppel wrapped up her piece.
-- FNC. Tuesday
and Wednesday night FNC's 7pm ET Fox Report aired half minute items by
anchor Paula Zahn -- Tuesday night about Zhu's arrival and how "Zhu
has some tough issues to face. For starters, like accusations his country
stole our nuclear secrets, a Democratic campaign contributions scandal and
a weak record on human rights." Wednesday night Zahn relayed
Clinton's concern that criticism of China could lead to a "campaign
driven cold war."
on Special Report with Brit Hume at 6pm ET and 9pm PT, Hume showcased a
full story by Carl Cameron, the first prime time story about Chung's
allegations aired on any network this week. And I'm being a bit generous
in my definition of prime time, counting this show because its repeat
airing occurs in prime time in the Mountain and Pacific time zones.
Cameron told viewers how Zhu Rongji had arrived in Los Angeles before he
played a clip of Clinton arguing that bringing China into the WTO is in
our interests. "But there are bipartisan misgivings in
Congress," Cameron noted in leading into a soundbite from Chris Cox,
who told Cameron that China has "engaged in a concerted campaign of
Cameron moved to the Chung charge: "Illegal
political donations from China, like those Johnny Chung pleaded guilty to
raising, are another sore spot. Chung has told a federal grand jury that
the head of the Chinese intelligence agency gave him 300 grand to help
President Clinton get re-elected. Congress plans to subpoena Chung and ask
him about it. Just two weeks ago Chung received a fundraising form letter
from Vice President Gore's campaign asking for contributions in 2000.
Aides say it was a mistake. Since President Clinton visited China last
year other concerns have deepened. Even Democrats now say Beijing's
record on human rights repression and weapons proliferation has actually
Democratic Congressman Nancy Pelosi got a few
seconds before Cameron concluded by reporting that Clinton aides say he
will raise contentious issues with the Chinese premier.
+++ Chung hasn't
been on television much the past year, so to remind yourself of what he
looks like and to see a picture of him arm-in-arm with Bill and Hillary
Clinton, go to the MRC home page after 10:30am Thursday morning to watch a
RealPlayer video excerpt from this FNC piece. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
Geraldo Rivera urged the grand jury in Little Rock to employ jury
nullification in the Susan McDougal case since "Ken Starr's
relentless pursuit of the President had very little to do with justice,
and everything to do with putrid politics."
Instead of heading
to Albania this week Rivera traveled to Little Rock. At the end of the
April 7 Upfront Tonight on CNBC Rivera blasted Starr: "After all
those years, all those tax dollars, this is what the once mighty and proud
Office of the Independent Counsel has been reduced to: this spiteful
prosecution of one of the few people here in Arkansas, or even up in
Washington for that matter, who had the guts to stand up to Starr and his
that because McDougal had refused a court order to testify she probably is
guilty of the charges being pressed by Starr's office, but as her lawyer
Mark Geragos showed, Starr was really on "a crusade to take down the
lecture, Rivera offered his advice to the jury:
"So now it's up to this jury of twelve
Arkansans. If they follow the letter of the law Susan McDougal,
tragically, could be convicted -- at least on the two counts of contempt
of court. But if the jurors look at the big picture, if they see as I do
that Ken Starr's relentless pursuit of the President had very little to
do with justice, and everything to do with putrid politics, then Susan
McDougal will finally go free. And I tell you what folks, I like her
The night of Missouri's vote on Proposition B on a right to carry a
concealed weapon, ABC's World News Tonight delivered a story which might
explain why the proposition lost -- if it reflected the bias of the local
Missouri media. ABC's Bob Woodruff focused on an argument used by
opponents, failed to allow a supporter to counter that argument and never
outlined for viewers the most powerful points made by advocates of right
to carry laws.
introduced the April 6 World News Tonight story:
"In other news today, a lot of attention
being paid to Missouri, especially by law enforcement and other people
interested in gun control. Missouri is one of the few states in the Union
which does not permit people to carry a concealed weapon, namely a gun.
And for the first time anywhere in the country, the voters are deciding,
directly, whether that should change. The turnout has been higher than
expected. ABC's Bob Woodruff reports from St. Louis."
Actually, as the
MRC's Jessica Anderson learned in consulting the NRA Web site, 31 states
have right to carry laws. Missouri is among 19 states plus the District of
Columbia which do not. I'd consider 19 states to be more than a
"few" as Jennings claimed.
began: "The debate has been heated. The National Rifle Association
has spent nearly $4 million and its President Charlton Heston has toured
the state. TV commercials appear nightly. Both the NRA and its opponents
have a lot at stake here because whichever side wins can claim it has the
direct support of the people -- not the lawmakers, not the lobbyists, but
the people. Those who favor concealed weapons claim that lives will be
saved if people carry guns."
After a soundbite from Michael Gordinier of
Missourians Against Crime, Woodruff continued by leading into a clip from
a Sheriff against the proposition: "But opponents say concealed
weapons will mean more crime and they point to a glaring loophole in the
elaborated on the liberal argument against the proposed law: "The law
would forbid felons from getting permits, but those convicted of most
misdemeanors could get them, and under Missouri law, that would even
include certain types of assault, stalking, harassment and child
molestation. Even supporters have a hard time defending this."
ABC showed Gordinier being asked: "Explain
to me why people who have committed misdemeanors are allowed to get
concealed weapons permits?" Gordinier stared ahead silently for five
seconds, then helpfully stated: "I don't know."
Instead of providing a counterpoint to the
opponents, Woodruff then concluded by endorsing the fears of those against
"So allowing people to carry concealed guns
will mean allowing some criminals to carry them, too. The voters decide
today if that is worth the risk."
Having refused to
allow the NRA to make any of its points, the next night Peter Jennings
made sure viewers understood the 52 to 48 percent no vote was a defeat for
the NRA, announcing that the "National Rifle Association spent almost
$4 million on the campaign and lost."
If ABC News cared
about balance they would have relayed at least one of the NRA's facts
which Jessica found outlined on their Web site:
-- "Right To
Carry laws reduce crime. In their landmark study, Prof. John R. Lott, Jr.,
and David B. Mustard, of the Univ. of Chicago, found that 'allowing
citizens to carry concealed weapons deters violent crimes and it appears
to produce no increase in accidental deaths. If those states which did not
have Right To Carry concealed gun provisions had adopted them in 1992,
approximately 1,570 murders; 4,177 rapes; and over 60,000 aggravated
assaults would have been avoided yearly.... [T]he estimated annual gain
from allowing concealed handguns is at least $6.214 billion....[W]hen
state concealed handgun laws went into effect in a county, murders fell by
8.5 percent, and rapes and aggravated assaults fell by 5 and 7 percent.'
(Crime, Deterrence, and Right to Carry Concealed Handguns, 1996. See also,
Lott, More Guns, Less Crime, Univ. of Chicago Press, 1998.)"
with Right To Carry laws have lower violent crime rates. On average, they
have a 24% lower total violent crime rate, a 19% lower homicide rate, a
39% lower robbery rate, and a 19% lower aggravated assault rate, compared
to other states and the District of Columbia. The nine states with the
lowest violent crime rates are all Right To Carry states. (Data:
"Restrictive carry laws have been on the books for decades, but have
never reduced crime. Washington, D.C. and Chicago (which have banned
handguns), Detroit and Baltimore are four of the five major U.S. cities
with the highest homicide rates. Baltimore had more murders in 1998 than
in 1997. Chicago reports that it had more murders in the first half of
1998, compared to 1997. Los Angeles remains among the 10 major U.S. cities
with the highest homicide rates."
To read the
complete analysis from the NRA, go to: http://nraila.org/research/rtc.html
CNN's Judy Woodruff endorsed the premise of a recent anti-GOP
presidential candidates ad from NARAL, but questioned the accuracy of some
ads running this week against Al Gore. Tim Graham, the MRC's Director of
Media Analysis, wrote up this analysis for CyberAlert about Woodruff's
If the earliest
ads are any indication, CNN will not be treating Democratic and Republican
ads with equal doses of skepticism. On the March 22 Inside Politics, Judy
Woodruff noted: "Kate Michelman's organization, the National Abortion
and Reproductive Rights Action League, is running ads in New Hampshire and
Iowa, which it says exposes the anti-choice views held by Bush and the
other GOP front-runner, Elizabeth Dole."
On April 5,
Woodruff announced another ad in the midst of a story on Vice President Al
Gore's visit to Silicon Valley: "The Republican Leadership Council (RLC)
prepared for the Vice President's arrival with an ad ridiculing Mr. Gore's
recent comments about his childhood and the Internet."
Both stories aired
clips of the ads. Both stories sought comments from the candidates. Gore
provided a 103-word soundbite defending his gaffes. A spokesman for Dole
called the NARAL ads "disappointing." But after the NARAL ads,
Woodruff sermonized: "The abortion issue presents a troubling
complication for a Republican Party anxious to win back the White House,
for while anti-abortion activists make up a large part of the GOP base,
other more moderate voters, especially women, have drifted away from the
party, in part because of its hard-line image on abortion." She went
on to note that Pat Buchanan predicted a "civil war" within the
GOP if the party tries to change the abortion platform plank.
After the RLC ad,
however, she moved right into an interview segment, without a paragraph
noting that Republicans believe Gore's habit of exaggerating his life
story will be a political problem. There was no talk of the growing
"image" of a gaffe-prone Gore.
NARAL ad segment, Woodruff interviewed NARAL's Kate Michelman, along with
Randy Tate of the Christian Coalition and Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle
Forum. Woodruff began by asking Michelman: "Your organization is
running these television ads. Why? What do you hope to accomplish by
sticking your nose, if you will, into the Republican presidential
contest?" The interview revolved entirely around the abortion
positions of Bush and Dole and the GOP platform.
After the RLC ad
segment, Woodruff didn't interview an RLC spokesman or a Gore spokesman,
but Los Angeles Times reporter Ron Brownstein. She began: "The last
time I looked, we're still 19 months away from the election. Isn't it
early to be running these kinds of ads?" But then she openly attacked
the content of the spot, in comparison to NARAL's: "Well, the
Republican Leadership Council ad is not so much about issues. It's just --
it's trashing Al Gore." While the NARAL segment focused on the damage
the abortion issue could do to the Republicans, Woodruff suggested Al
Gore's popularity in Silicon Valley was a problem for the RLC: "Does
this mean that the Republicans are already sweating it out with Gore, I
mean, that they're worried that he's getting too good a foothold in that
One more note: on
the March 23 Today, NBC's Lisa Myers did a full story publicizing the
NARAL ads. NBC has yet to mention the RLC's ad against Gore.
Former MRC news analyst Gene Eliasen, now our Bureau Chief in the Twin
Cities, passed along this little goof-up from the top of the front page of
Wednesday's Star Tribune. The Minneapolis daily featured a pull-out
quote from the Secretary of Defense in the middle of a news story about
reaction to Milosevic's cease-fire offer. It read:
"The Serb cease-fire offer is 'not only
completely unacceptable, but it's absurd.' -- Daniel Cohen, U.S.
name is actually Bill. --
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