Networks Ignored How Clinton Warned; Time's White: Ban All Guns
1) Tim Russert asked Jesse
Jackson if in light of his success in freeing the POWs he would
"reconsider" and run for President.
2) The CBS, CNN and NBC
evening shows all ignored another New York Times bombshell, this time
about how the Clinton team was warned about espionage last November but
waited months to take action. ABC's World News Tonight gave the
revelation 40 seconds.
3) On Meet the Press Tim
Russert showed how the Times story contradicts Clinton. On This Week,
George Will pressed Eric Holder about why his office refused the FBI's
request to wiretap Lee.
4) Chris Cox told the LA Times
that the espionage "continues to this very day" and the paper
speculated about the motivation of the Chinese citizen who revealed the
5) Media Bias Quiz. Since
Chinese espionage at Los Alamos was disclosed on March 6, how many
interviews on this subject have aired on the three morning shows: 22, 13,
34, 9 or 1?
6) Newsweek's Evan Thomas:
"I don't think that gun control is going to have much impact. But I
think we ought to do it anyway." Time's Jack White: "Why not
just ban the ownership of handguns when nobody needs one?"
>>> May 3 Notable Quotables now
online. Topic headings include "Protect Parents & Kids from
Republicans and Guns," "Quayle's Wrong. It Should Be An Excuse
for Gun Control," "Rosie's Representative Public Pulse: Total
Ban on Guns," "Starr's Murderous Team," "Ken Starr
Not Like a Virgin," "Koppel's Assessment: Hillary Would Make a
'Great' Senator," and "Liberal Columnist: Those Who Pray Are
'Fatheads.'" To read the issue: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/1999/welcome.html
Leading Question of the Weekend. Tim Russert via phone to Jesse Jackson on
Sunday's Meet the Press: "Finally Reverend Jackson, in light of
this diplomatic success will you now reconsider your decision not to run
for President in the year 2000?"
enamored of the idea than some leading media figures, replied no.
For the second time in five days the front page of The New York Times on
Sunday delivered a bombshell on Chinese espionage that provided a further
illustration of administration bungling and offered evidence contradicting
Bill Clinton's claim that he did not know about any spying during his
term. While the story generated some questions on three Sunday interview
shows (see item #3 below for details), Sunday night all but ABC ignored
it, and ABC's anchor-read item failed to inform viewers about how the
revelation contradicted Clinton's position.
On the May 2 World
News Tonight, ABC anchor Carole Simpson read this 40-second item:
"Another tremor in the nuclear spy scandal
today. The New York Times reports that top officials in the Clinton
administration were warned in a secret report last November that China
might be trying to spy on America's nuclear weapons labs, but took no
action for six months. There were calls today for someone to be fired --
even some Democrats."
Chris Dodd outside WRC-TV/NBC News Washington
bureau: "My view is people ought to be fired who are responsible in
some way. I don't know who that is yet but it seems to me over the next
several days or weeks we ought to find out who is and heads ought to
Simpson: "Senator Chris Dodd. An
administration official responded today saying the FBI is
ABC could only
manage 40 seconds for espionage, though 40 seconds more than the other
networks, but viewers were treated to over two minutes on the retirement
announcement by football player John Elway and two minutes plus about
"controversial" ads by online brokerage firms that worry
regulators because they suggest people could make money by investing in
the stock market. (Viewers heard Marc Beauchamp of the North American
Securities Administration Association warn: "The main message of
these ads is trade, trade, trade, you'll make money, you may even get
rich. That's the wrong message for the vast majority of Americans who
ought to be saving patiently for the long term." Or shelling out $200
to a traditional broker instead of $15 or $20 to make an online trade.)
Not a word on the
New York Times story on the CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, which
allocated 2:40 to how the health community is "raising America's
consciousness about skin cancer," or CNN's The World Today at its
new 10pm ET time. It should be noted, however, that while the broadcast
networks ignored China Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, on Friday's
The World Today CNN's Candy Crowley looked at how Senators in both
parties are upset about the latest revelations and lack of FBI
aggressiveness. I've not had access to FNC for several days so do not
know what they've done.
(The April 28 New
York Times revealed how suspected spy Wen Ho Lee had transferred critical
nuclear design files to an unsecured computer accessible to any outsider.
As noted in the April 30 CyberAlert, that generated at least some coverage
by every network, but not a syllable on the NBC Nightly News.)
excerpt of the May 2 New York Times exclusive by the duo of choice for
those leaking info in this story, Jeff Gerth and James Risen of the
paper's Washington bureau:
A secret report to top Clinton
administration officials last November warned that China posed an
"acute intelligence threat" to the government's nuclear weapons
laboratories and that computer systems at the labs were being constantly
penetrated by outsiders.
Yet investigators waited until March to
search the computer of a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory who
had been under investigation for nearly three years, suspected of spying
for China. And it was not until April that the Energy Department shut down
its classified computer systems to impose tighter security over their
Meanwhile, in February, the scientist, Wen
Ho Lee, tried to delete evidence that he had improperly transferred more
than 1,000 files containing nuclear secrets, officials said.
The classified report contains numerous
warnings and specific examples showing that outsiders had gained access to
the computer systems at United States weapons labs as recently as June
Lawmakers from both parties have raised
questions about why the Clinton Administration failed to address security
breaches at the laboratories sooner, and the report, which has been shared
with Congress, is certain to fuel the debate.
The report, the first comprehensive review
of its kind, was prepared by United States counterintelligence officials
throughout the government. It confirmed and elaborated on longstanding
concerns about the vulnerability of the weapons laboratories to espionage.
The report was distributed to the highest
levels of the government, including Bill Richardson, the Secretary of
Energy; William S. Cohen, the Secretary of Defense; Janet Reno, the
Attorney General; President Clinton's national security adviser, Samuel R.
Berger, and three dozen other senior officials at law enforcement, defense
and intelligence agencies. A government official gave a copy of the report
to The New York Times.
According to the report, the Energy
Department recorded 324 attacks on its unclassified computer systems from
outside the United States between October 1997 and June 1998, including
instances when outsiders successfully gained "complete access and
total control to create, view modify or execute any and all information
stored on the system."....
The 25-page counterintelligence report
contains many examples of lax security and serious intelligence breaches
at the labs that have not been previously disclosed, involving more than a
dozen foreign countries....
The secret November report, some officials
believe, is the latest sign that the Clinton Administration and
investigators moved too slowly and repeatedly missed opportunities to
address the problems.
President Clinton has said his
administration acted quickly once it learned of security problems at the
nation's nuclear weapons laboratories. White House officials cite the
President's February 1998 directive to beef up security. That directive
called for an assessment of the security threat against nuclear weapons
and technology secrets at the Energy Department which was completed last
But in recent days, with new disclosures
about the extent of Lee's improper transfers of secret weapons data, the
Clinton administration is facing intensified questions about how his
actions, which jeopardized secrets to virtually the entire United States
nuclear arsenal, could have gone undetected for so long....
In 1997, the Justice Department declined an
F.B.I. request to ask a court for authority to monitor Lee's phone and to
gain access to Lee's office computer. Justice Department officials argued
there was insufficient evidence to convince a judge to approve the
END NY Times
Oddly, the New
York Times never identified the agency which prepared the much cited
To read the entire Times story, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/library/world/asia/050299china-nuke.html
You'll have to be a registered user of the
online edition of the New York Times to access this page.
Guests on Meet the Press and Fox News Sunday were asked about the New York
Times story and how it contradicts Clinton's denial of knowledge about
spying during his tenure. Plus, George Will on ABC's This Week gave the
first broadcast network air time to the issue of how the Justice
Department turned down a wiretap request from the FBI for Wen Ho Lee.
-- Meet the Press.
NBC News VP Tim Russert once again raised Chinese espionage on his show,
though as item #2 above documented, that has no impact on the rest of NBC
News. Neither Today in the morning or Nightly News in the evening on
Sunday broached the subject.
After talking about the war with Secretary of
Defense Bill Cohen, on the May 2 Meet the Press Russert put on screen this
from Clinton at his March 19 press conference: "Can I tell you that
there has been no espionage at the labs since I have been President. I can
tell you that no one has reported to me that they suspect such a thing has
Russert, referring to the report disclosed by the
New York Times, demanded of Cohen: "This is a 1998 report. You got a
copy, the President got a copy, identifying very clearly that there had
been espionage at the nuclear labs. Did the President mislead the American
Cohen lamely claimed he doesn't know what
Clinton was told.
asserted to Democratic Senator Chris Dodd: "Senator Dodd, you saw
when the President was asked about this in March, his answer was basically
'not on my watch.' The fact is it did occur in part on his
-- Fox News Sunday was the only show of the day
to devote a whole segment to China, interviewing Senator Richard Shelby of
the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The usually liberal Juan
Williams raised the possible overlap of two scandals with him, asking:
"Is this in any way tied to the fundraising investigations years ago
into the Clinton administration?"
Senators Dianne Feinstein and Orrin Hatch were
subsequently pressed for their reaction to the New York Times exclusive.
-- ABC's This Week. At the very end of an
interview with Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder devoted to gun control,
George Will slipped in this last inquiry:
"Quick question about the alleged spying of
Wen Ho Lee. It is reported that in 1997 the FBI sought your office's
help in getting a court's permission to monitor Mr. Lee's telephone
and computer. It's rare that such FBI requests are turned down in
national security cases, but your office did refuse. Why?"
Holder maintained that "our office is
generally not in the loop," that it was only an informal request and
that "it's not even clear that I was the Deputy Attorney General at
This is the first
network mention I can recall for a bit of information revealed in a March
30 Investor's Business Daily editorial cited in the March 31 CyberAlert.
"As part of the probe, the bureau [FBI]
requested a wiretap on Lee. Justice denied it, arguing it did not have
sufficient grounds to take to a federal court to get the tap approved. But
a look at the Justice Department's record on wiretaps calls that argument
into serious question. From 1993 to 1997, federal officials requested
2,686 wiretaps. For all its concern for probable cause and legal
standards, the Justice Department turned down one request in those four
years -- Lee's in 1996."
I can't explain
the Will versus IBD discrepancy about whether the request came in 1996 or
1997, but I'm pretty sure they are both referring to the same thing.
"Spying by China Ongoing in U.S., Panel Chief Says," read the
headline over an April 28 Los Angeles Times exclusive quoting Chris Cox
which failed to generate any network attention. Reporter Bob Drogin wrote:
A high-profile congressional committee
investigation into Chinese spying in the United States concludes not only
that China stole "the crown jewels of our nuclear arsenal" over
the last two decades but that the espionage "continues to this very
day," according to the panel's Republican Chairman.
Rep. Christopher Cox of Newport Beach said
an unclassified version of the House committee report, due to be released
early next month, will document "literally scores" of cases
where China illicitly acquired sensitive U.S. military and commercial
know-how, from supercomputers and satellites to design details for
America's most modern nuclear warheads.
"These are not isolated
incidents," he said in a telephone interview that provided new
details of the committee's still-secret probe. "This is a very
deliberate pattern of action." Cox said that the pilfering of secrets
from America's nuclear weapons laboratories, which was publicly confirmed
last week for the first time in an assessment by the U.S. Intelligence
Community, was broader than previously revealed and relied on a network of
Chinese agents and other visitors....
The Cox committee's classified report was
unanimously approved by its five Republican and four Democratic members in
late December after a six-month probe, and Cox and Dicks briefed President
Clinton last Thursday for the first time.
Declassification of the report has been
delayed for more than a month as committee staffers and officials from the
CIA, FBI, Energy Department, Justice Department, White House and other
agencies have reviewed every sentence for potential security problems. But
the committee spokesman, Brent Bahler, said the final report would be
almost as voluminous as the original, with about 700 pages, 12 chapters
and 38 recommendations....
Another riddle is the motivation of the
Chinese double-agent who first confirmed that China had obtained details
of America's most modern nuclear warhead. The agent walked into a U.S.
government office in Asia in 1995 carrying what a U.S. intelligence
official called "a big stack, I mean pounds and pounds" of
documents, all in Chinese, on Beijing's military, missiles and nuclear
Analysts soon determined that nearly all
the material was old, already known or irrelevant. And after several
meetings with "The Walk In," as he was dubbed, the CIA
determined in 1996 that he had been under control of China's chief spy
agency, the MSS.
That only made the case more perplexing.
Buried in the mound of paper was a single report, dated 1988, containing
design secrets from several U.S. nuclear weapons. "We still don't
know his motivation," the official said. "Was it a screw-up that
he gave us that one document? Did they know what he had? Was it
disinformation to distract us from something else, to translate tons of
useless documents, or even to send us a signal? We don't know."
END LA Times
Media Bias Quiz. Since the original Saturday, March 6 New York Times story
disclosed the Chinese espionage at Los Alamos, how many interviews on this
subject have aired on ABC's Good Morning America, CBS's This Morning
and NBC's Today in total through Friday, April 30?
If you picked A or
C then you are a naive believer that the networks care about espionage. If
you chose E, then you get a star as a true media bias expert who
attentively reads each CyberAlert.
consulting the MRC's News Tracking System, I learned that in the 135
broadcast network mornings shows aired from Sunday, March 7 through
Friday, April 30, a single interview segment on the March 9 Today
represents the totality of network morning show interview segments. Not
one interview segment yet on ABC or CBS. (135 derived from 55 airings of
Today across seven days a week, plus 40 each of GMA and This Morning
On that March 9
show Katie Couric talked with Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson and
suggested the know-how China gained really isn't a big deal since they
would have figured it out soon enough anyway:
"The allegation is, Mr. Secretary, is that
China worked with this stolen data to make a major leap in developing
nuclear warheads with much smaller warheads but isn't there a possibility
that China could have done this on its own? After all you've got the U.S.,
the British, the French and the Russians all able to make these warheads
Not only have the
morning shows not aired interviews, they have even refused to raise the
subject when top Clinton foreign policy appointees have come aboard to
talk about the war or when Janet Reno appeared post-Littleton.
For an overview of
all the major newspaper disclosures disregarded by the networks, check out
the MRC's Special Report released last week: "All The News That's
Fit to Skip: Network Apathy Toward Chinese Contributions and
Espionage." Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/specialreports/news/sr19990426.html
Forget gun control, let's just ban all guns and confiscate them,
suggested Time magazine's Jack E. White who quickly earned support on
Inside Washington from NPR's Nina Totenberg.
the weekend PBS roundtable show produced at and aired on Washington's
CBS affiliate, started off its look this past weekend at the Columbine
tragedy with this irrational reasoning from Newsweek's Evan Thomas:
"Since there are 200 million guns already out there, I don't think
that gun control is going to have much impact. But I think we ought to do
it anyway just to make a statement as a society and even if you save a
couple of lives then it's worth it."
It won't do any
good but we should do it anyway.
national correspondent Jack E. White then made Thomas seem reasonable:
"Whatever is being proposed is way too
namby-pamby. I mean for example we're talking about limiting people to
one gun purchase, or handgun purchase a month. Why not just ban the
ownership of handguns when nobody needs one? Why not just ban
semi-automatic rifles? Nobody needs one."
"needs" a lot of publications, so does that mean White would
urge they be banned if they are pornographic or violent? Somehow I bet he
believes in a very liberal interpretation of the First Amendment.
Peterson then observed: "First of all, we're Americans and when
something awful happens we want to pass a law. That's what Americans do.
But to speak to what Jack has to say, politically it's impossible
Nina Totenberg of NPR and ABC News actually tried
to get the others to realize "there is this thing called the Second
Amendment, which is the right to bear arms." She suggested that while
the consensus among scholars is that you can regulate guns, she was not
sure you could ban them.
White piped in: "You could ban, for example,
sawed off shotguns."
Totenberg helpfully agreed: "You could ban
White yearned: "You could write legislation
in such a way that certain kinds of weapons which are most often used in
crimes are banned and can be confiscated and ownership of them should be a
prima facie case that that's a criminal act. The guns ought to be
confiscated and the person ought to do some time."
Totenberg: "You expect me to argue with you
Krauthammer disagreed, but amongst the three members of the mainstream
media -- Thomas, White and Totenberg -- there was uniform agreement that
guns must go. Not much "diversity" in this set of journalists.
+++ Watch the gun banning media mantra. Monday
morning the MRC's Sean Henry and Kristina Sewell will post a RealPlayer
clip of this exchange. Go to: http://www.mrc.org --
Support the MRC, an educational foundation dependent upon contributions
which make CyberAlert possible, by providing a tax-deductible
donation. Use the secure donations page set up for CyberAlert
readers and subscribers:
>>>To subscribe to CyberAlert, send a
blank e-mail to:
@topica.com. Or, you can go to:
Either way you will receive a confirmation message titled: "RESPONSE
REQUIRED: Confirm your subscription to firstname.lastname@example.org."
After you reply, either by going to the listed Web page link or by simply
hitting reply, you will receive a message confirming that you have been
added to the MRC CyberAlert list. If you confirm by using the Web page
link you will be given a chance to "register" with Topica. You
NOT have to do this; at that point you are already subscribed to
To unsubscribe, send a blank e-mail to:
Send problems and comments to: email@example.com.
can learn what has been posted each day on the MRC's Web site by
subscribing to the "MRC Web Site News" distributed every weekday
afternoon. To subscribe, send a blank e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or, go to: http://www.mrc.org/newsletters.<<<
Home | News Division
| Bozell Columns | CyberAlerts
Media Reality Check | Notable Quotables | Contact
the MRC | Subscribe