Chung Delayed; ABC Showed Cassie Bernall's Faith; Koppel Lauded Hillary
1) Justice Dept. delays have
forced a postponement of Johnny Chung's scheduled appearance this week
before a House committee. A MRC Special Report documents how the broadcast
nets haven't cared much about the China scandal, ignoring Chung's
2) Monday night CBS focused on
how three of the guns used were bought at "totally unregulated"
gun shows. NBC claimed "the Internet teaches kids about hate and
3) "At Cassie Bernall's
funeral friends and family celebrated the strength of one young girl's
faith," ABC's Peggy Wehmeyer observed in a unique look at how
church straightened out a wayward girl who ABC showed proclaiming:
"You really can't live without Christ."
4) Today's Jack Ford
asserted on Saturday: "If you look at these shooting instances, they
all seem to have taken place in areas where there is a stronger gun
5) Hillary Clinton will make a
"great" Senator, ABC's Ted Koppel declared, explaining:
"She's focused, she's smart, and her vision of policy is a clear,
perfectly legitimate one."
Correction: Though I got
it right in the table on contents plug, the opening line of item #6 in the
April 26 CyberAlert asked: "'Irrational' to trust George W. Bush
ahead of Al Hunt as commander-in-chief?" It may be, but I got the
wrong Al: It should have read Al Gore, not Al Hunt who was quoted in the
item saying he finds it "irrational" that more trust Bush than
Chung Delayed. The Justice Department has caused the scheduled appearance
by Johnny Chung in front of Dan Burton's House Committee on Government
Reform to be delayed until the week of May 10. Chung had been subpoenaed
to appear on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, April 27 and 28.
A story filed late
Monday afternoon by Scott Hogenson of the MRC's Conservative News
Service explained what led to the committee's decision to postpone
....Committee officials told CNS that
Justice Department investigators did not brief Chung until last Friday,
making it impossible for committee investigators to interview him before
his testimony, which was originally scheduled for April 27.
Committee Chairman Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN)
was "not thrilled by the Justice Department delay," said
committee communications director Mark Corallo. According to Corallo,
Chung's testimony will now be heard "hopefully in the second week of
Corallo said the Justice Department gave
the committee no explanation for the delay in interviewing Chung, who has
reportedly told investigators that he forwarded an illegal $300,000
contribution to the 1996 reelection campaign of Bill Clinton and Al Gore.
According to reports of Chung's testimony,
he was given $300,000 by the chief of Chinese military intelligence, with
the money from Beijing to be used in the Clinton/Gore reelection
To read the entire
CNS story, go to: http://www.conservativenews.org/InDepth/archive/199904/IND19990426k.html
For details of
what the April 4 Los Angeles Times disclosed Chung told the grand jury, go
to the April 5 CyberAlert: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990405.html#2
The MRC had been
encouraging the broadcast networks to finally inform viewers of how the LA
Times revealed that Chung said the head of Chinese military intelligence
gave him $300,000 to funnel to the DNC, suggesting Chung's appearance as
a hook for coverage. It sounded like a good idea last week, though the
delay in Chung's appearance actually still presents the networks with a
story angle if they really cared about the subject. So far, only FNC has
aired a full report outlining how Chung's charges suggest money flowed
from China to the Democratic Party. To watch FNC's April 8 story by Carl
Cameron in RealPlayer format, go to the April 9 Cyber: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990409.html#2
As part of the
MRC's effort, on Monday the MRC released a Special Report put together
by Tim Graham titled "All the News That's Fit to Skip: Network
Apathy Toward Chinese Contributions and Espionage." The nine page
report details how the broadcast networks have ignored or barely touched
dozens of newspaper scoops over the past year or so which have advanced
knowledge about the China scandal in three areas: "China's army
funds the Democrats," "China Acquires U.S. missile
technology" and "China acquires U.S. warhead technology."
To read the
Special Report posted on the MRC's home page by Eric Pairel, go directly
Monday night, April 27, the Colorado shooting still led the ABC, CBS, CNN,
FNC and NBC evening shows. CBS focused on how three of the guns used were
bought at "totally unregulated" gun shows. NBC Nightly News
looked at, in the words of Tom Brokaw, "Easy access. How the Internet
teaches kids about hate and violence."
Four funerals were
held Monday, but only CNN's The World Today showed video from all four.
With the noteworthy exception of ABC (see item #3 below), the others
focused on the service for teacher Dave Sanders.
On the CBS Evening
News reporter Jim Stewart pointed out how three of the four guns used were
purchased "at events like this one, totally unregulated gun shows
where thousands of firearms are routinely sold anonymously." After
Stewart, from the White House Scott Pelley previewed Clinton's gun
control initiatives set to be unveiled Tuesday, but he failed to note that
the NRA backs two of the four ideas: doubling the penalty on gun
trafficking and barring gun ownership for life for juvenile criminals.
Earlier in the
show Bob McNamara reviewed how many warning signs about the propensity to
violence by the two killers were missed. He aired this soundbite from
Columbine High School principal Frank DeAngelis: "The first time I
heard that term, Trench Coat Mafia, was after this happened, it was on
Can you spell
clueless? As McNamara pointed out, they appeared in the Yearbook under
that name and the two shooters had criminal records.
"Today at Cassie Bernall's funeral friends and family celebrated
the strength of one young girl's faith," ABC's Peggy Wehmeyer
observed in opening a story unusual for network TV, about how church and
faith straightened out a wayward teen. In an event noteworthy because it
may be unprecedented, two ABC News shows on Monday aired a soundbite of
someone explicitly declaring their Christian faith, as viewers heard the
late 17 year-old Cassie Bernall assert on both World News Tonight and
20/20: "You really can't live without Christ. It's like
impossible to really have a true life without him."
This story shows
the benefit ABC gains from being the only network with a religion
reporter. They are able to produce stories from angles never considered by
the other networks. Monday night CNN did note Bernall's Christian faith,
but only ABC brought her story to life. And though I know from comment
e-mails that many CyberAlert readers wish for me to stick to politics and
avoid religious issues, I urge you to read on and appreciate the value of
a story about caring parents discovering the good going to church can do
in turning around a young person's life.
News Tonight ended with Wehmeyer's piece, which ABC allocated a
substantial three minutes to playing. She began with the line cited above
over scenes from the funeral before recounting the agonizing hours
Cassie's parents waited to confirm their fears.
outlined Cassie's journey: "Cassie Bernall's story has touched
the Christian community here because of how she responded when she was
challenged by her killer."
Brad Bernall, Cassie's father: "When that
young man asked Cassie if she believed in God, she boldly said yes."
Wehmeyer: "Students who witnessed that
confrontation say Cassie paused before she answered, not because they
believe she doubted her answer but because she sensed what might happen
After a comment from her mother, Wehmeyer
continued: "Cassie's faith in God had not come easily. In her early
adolescence she was angry and rebellious, dabbling in witchcraft and
experimenting with drugs and alcohol."
Her mother, Misty Bernall, recalled how she and
her husband felt they had to step in. Wehmeyer explained: "Cassie
wasn't allowed to see her friends or use the phone. The only place she
could go was to church, to an intense weekend church retreat which her
parents said changed her life."
Misty Bernall: "She looked at me in the eye
and she said, 'Mom, I've changed.'"
Wehmeyer: "Just two days before she died
Cassie Bernall recorded these words on a video for her youth group."
Cassie in a home video: "You really can't
live without Christ. It's like impossible to really have a true life
Wehmeyer concluded: "Today Cassie's
friends and family are determined that she will be remembered as a modern
day martyr, a young woman willing to die for her faith. Peggy Wehmeyer,
ABC News, Littleton Colorado."
As I said, not
your usual network fare. Later Monday night, 20/20 aired a ten minute
piece on Cassie by Wehmeyer with more about her time at the West Bowles
The day began with
a story on Good Morning America, meaning Wehmeyer hit the Trifecta with
various forms of her story airing on every ABC News show but Nightline.
In the GMA story,
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson observed, Wehmeyer noted how Cassie
Bernall's path "began not unlike her killers." After
recounting her turnaround, Wehmeyer concluded with her parent's anguish:
"Their comfort comes in trusting their daughter is with God now, but
even that hasn't taken away pain of losing the child they had struggled so
hard to save."
Maybe if the
parents of the two killers had followed the path of the Bernall parents we
wouldn't have this sad story to recount.
Wehmeyer's compelling story. Tuesday morning the MRC's Sean Henry,
just back from a little time off, and Kristina Sewell will post in
RealPlayer format a hunk of Wehmeyer's World News Tonight report. After
10am ET, go to: http://www.mrc.org
Now back to the usual bias about how gun control is the answer: Jack Ford
on Today and Steve Roberts on Late Edition.
-- On Saturday's
Today, MRC analyst Mark Drake noticed, co-host Jack Ford tied gun violence
to places where there's a "gun culture." He asked Jesse
Jackson: "Reverend Jackson, Ollie [North] mentions the prevalence of
guns. If you look at these shooting instances, they all seem to have taken
place in areas where there is a stronger gun culture. The sheriff himself
said, the sheriff out there in Littleton said his community is awash in
guns. What do we do about that?"
There are a lot
more murders by gun in number and per capita in liberal big cities, which
are hardly considered hotbeds of the "gun culture," where guns
are virtually banned.
-- CNN's Late
Edition. On Sunday's show former New York Times and U.S. News reporter
Steve Roberts insisted more gun control is required, contending Japan's
low crime rate proves guns are the problem:
"There are relatively few things that the
public policy can do. [Earlier guest Education] Secretary Riley was
absolutely right in pointing out that in the end, the main issue is
parents. How much do they listen. Anyone who has gone through being a
parent of a teen, as you are now, and I have, knows those are years do you
have to listen. But there are things that can be done, when you do have
troubled children, that gun control can matter.
"You know in Japan in 1996, which has very
violent media culture, there were 15 murders with handguns. In America
there were 9,200 murders with handguns so, yes, I do think there are
things can be done. The Brady Bill can be -- the three day waiting period,
trigger locks on guns, making parents more responsible, adults more
responsible for the use of firearms by juveniles. I think there are things
can be done."
And there are also
many places where almost everyone has a gun but they are never used
improperly. Tucker Carlson of the Weekly Standard responded to Roberts:
"These were deranged individuals who committed a deranged act. It's
not clear to me how public policy could have affected it in anyway.
Incidentally, they were using ordinary guns that in fact are used for
sporting purposes -- shotguns, so short banning all guns, it's hard to see
what effect public policy could have had on this."
Ted Koppel believes Hillary Clinton will make a "great" Senator
because "she's focused, she's smart." Catching up on an item
highlighted by the Drudge Report last week, in the April 21 Philadelphia
Inquirer TV columnist Gail Shister relayed some laudatory comments from
Koppel about the First Lady's potential senatorial skills. Here's
Senator Clinton? ABC's Ted Koppel says
first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton would make a "great" Senator,
should she decide to run in New York.
"She's focused, she's smart, and her
vision of policy is a clear, perfectly legitimate one," the Nightline
anchor said during a recent interview in Washington. "She'd give a
lot of force to propelling that vision through the legislature in the
Like many others, Koppel initially thought
Clinton's Senate tease "was so much hokum. I didn't think she'd want
to subject herself to an extremely rough going-over by [probable
Republican opponent, New York Mayor] Rudy Giuliani.
"I didn't think it would be worth all
the pain to her, but hell, she's had all the pain, anyway....The longer
[her interest] goes on, the more seriously I have to take it."
Here's why, Koppel says.
"I can envision Hillary Clinton -- a
very smart, tough woman who has devoted much of her adult life to
supporting her husband's career -- looking at her own life and saying,
'Would it be painful? Absolutely. Would it be tough? Absolutely. Am I
entitled to go through some pain and hard times or my own career? Yeah,
maybe it's time.'"
And if she doesn't run, what will she do as
the ex-First Lady? "She can go out and give a lot of speeches at 50
thousand a crack, but I don't think that will satisfy her," Koppel
says. "I think she'll want to do something that actually has some
meat on it."
Not quite an
endorsement, but much more than a dispassionate evaluation.
Final note: I haven't forgotten about the
ending scene from the ABC movie Swing Vote. I still intend to run it as
soon as I have room, but it's about 1,100 words and needs to be read or
seen in full. Now that Webmaster Sean Henry is back, allowing us to resume
video clip posting, we'll be able to feature an accompanying video clip
which will make the wait worth it. --
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