6/02: NBC Suggests Bill O'Reilly Fueled Murder of Dr. George Tiller
  6/01: NBC's Williams Cues Up Obama: 'That's One She'd Rather Have Back'
  5/29: Nets Push 'Abortion Rights' Advocates' Concerns on Sotomayor
  5/28: CBS on Sotomayor: 'Can't Be Easily Defined by Political Labels'

  Notable Quotables
  Media Reality Check
  Press Releases
  Media Bias Videos
  Special Reports
  30-Day Archive
  Take Action
  Gala and DisHonors
  Best of NQ Archive
  The Watchdog
  About the MRC
  MRC in the News
  Support the MRC
  Planned Giving
  What Others Say
MRC Resources
  Site Search
  Media Addresses
  Contact MRC
  MRC Bookstore
  Job Openings
  News Division
  NewsBusters Blog
  Business & Media Institute

Support the MRC



CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Friday May 7, 1999 (Vol. Four; No. 78)

Spy Suspect Out on Saturday; Chung Revealed More; King Replaced Gore

1) The Thursday morning shows ignored the Senate hearing and the broadcast network evening shows skipped Reno's plans to probe delays in the spying case, but viewers heard about the Jenny Jones trial and saw Cindy Crawford's video diary of her pregnancy.

2) FNC exclusive: The FBI has several other spy suspects, including a former Los Alamos scientist set for release from a half-way house on Saturday. Did the Pentagon botch his case?

3) "Eased export controls aided Beijing's missile technology," announced the Friday Washington Times headline over a story about a Senate report. The Washington Post spin on the same report: "Less Than 10% of China's $300,000 Went to DNC, Report Indicates."

4) Johnny Chung will testify that "a longtime friend of President Clinton approached the Chinese government...asking for $1 million to help support Clinton," the Los Angeles Times reported.

5) Dan Rather on Julie Steele: "The one and only criminal trial to result from Ken Starr's year-long, four-and-a-half million dollar investigation of the President and Monica Lewinsky."

6) CNN canceled plans to have Al Gore host Larry King Live, but Gore still got a platform to show how much he cares.

>>> "If Only the Chinese Wore Trench Coats: Tom Brokaw Asked Clinton About China, But NBC Regularly Skips Reporting New China Revelations," the MRC's latest Media Reality Check fax report is now up on the MRC home page. In the report the MRC's Tim Graham reviews the lack of network TV interest in four newspaper revelations from the past week or so. (Tim came up with the title, so send complaints to him not me.) The report's direct address: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/1999/fax19990506.html <<<

>>> See Geraldo Get Shelled. After some delay, now up on the MRC video page thanks to Webmaster Sean Henry: A clip picked up by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens showing Geraldo Rivera diving for cover when a Serb shell lands nearby during his mid-April trip with the Kosovo Liberation Army. The clip, in RealPlayer format, is from the April 19 Rivera Live on CNBC. To watch it, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/biasvideo.html and then scroll down to April 19. <<<


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) On Thursday Attorney General Janet Reno announced that she would create a task force to examine how the Justice Department and FBI had handled the Wen Ho Lee spy case, but none of the broadcast networks cared or bothered to use it as a hook to tell viewers about what bad decisions she might be probing. CNN's The World Today ran a full story on Reno and Senate anger and FNC's Fox Report gave her a few seconds.

     So, this also means another day passed without CBS or NBC mentioning how the New York Times had reported Sunday that it had learned that the Clinton team was informed in November of ongoing Chinese espionage, thus contradicting Clinton's claims.

     None of the Thursday morning shows uttered a word about Wednesday's Senate hearing (see the May 6 CyberAlert for details) or Reno's impending announcement which was reported in Thursday newspapers.

     On CNN's 10pm ET The World Today anchor Joie Chen introduced a piece on Reno by noting how Friday newspapers were set to report that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence would release a report Friday saying technology transfers helped China improve their missiles and that China made an effort to influence U.S. elections.

     CNN's Pierre Thomas then outlined: "In 1997, the FBI wanted the Justice Department to seek a court order for a wiretap of Wen Ho Lee. The FBI suspected Lee, a scientist at the Los Alamos Nuclear Lab, of giving U.S. secrets to China. Request denied for lack of evidence. A later appeal, also denied. Now, congressional Republicans are demanding answers and pointing fingers....Under pressure, the Attorney General has ordered a review to see if the case was bungled."

     Thomas allowed how "sources say the standard for requesting intrusive wiretaps is high, and they still do not have direct evidence Lee actually transferred documents or computer files to China," but also uniquely observed: "Critics say FBI investigators could have easily gotten enough evidence to justify a wiretap. Like other scientists at Los Alamos, Lee had signed a waiver allowing officials to search his work computers at any time, yet a search was not done until March 1999, two years after the wiretap request and three years after the Lee investigation began."

     -- Broadcast network evening shows. So what did they cover instead on May 6? ABC's World News Tonight, the only broadcast show to cover the May 5 Senate hearing, on May 6 spent over five minutes on the dangers of medical testing on humans and new "virtual testing" via computers. Plus, an It's Your Money segment on the Tombigbee Waterway in Mississippi and Tennessee. The CBS Evening News took time to look at a victim of police profiling in Carmel, Indiana and the NBC Nightly News ran a "Retiring Smart" piece of how older works are hurt when companies switch from traditional pension plans to "cash balance" plans.

     -- Morning shows. It wasn't as if the networks decided to only examine the tornadoes and Kosovo on May 6. ABC's Good Morning America, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed, featured an interview segment in the 7:30 half hour on the Jenny Jones trial followed by an interview with Rosalynn Carter about her book on mental health. The 8am half hour featured clips of super model Cindy Crawford's video diary about her pregnancy. NBC's Today, noted MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens, also interviewed, in the 7:30 half hour, players in the Jenny Jones case.


cameron0507.jpg (11722 bytes)cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) The FBI has several other espionage suspects and the Pentagon may have mishandled the case of a former Los Alamos scientist who admitted giving China secret information, the Fox News Channel's Carl Cameron exclusively reported Thursday night. In a story only briefly summarized on the Fox Report, but fully outlined on Special Report with Brit Hume, FNC revealed this other suspect served only a year and is set to be released on Saturday.

     After reporting Reno's decision to examine the Wen Ho Lee case, Cameron moved to fresh material in his May 6 Special Report with Brit Hume story:
     "FBI counterintelligence has several other suspects, including another former Los Alamos scientist named Peter Lee. Peter Lee has had regular contact with Wen Ho Lee over the years, they are not related. He regularly visited China on trips paid for by groups with ties to the Chinese military. Peter Lee pleaded guilty in 1997 to lying about his contact with Chinese spies. He admitted that in 1985 he gave China top secret U.S. nuclear technology. He was only sentenced to a year in a half-way house for filing false documents, not espionage. And he is scheduled for release this Saturday.
     "And now the Defense Department is taking the heat for perhaps letting Peter Lee get off easy. An FBI source says quote, 'The Pentagon refused the judge's request for a briefing on how serious the violations were...they never told the judge what this guy had been doing.' Furthermore, during 1997, sources say Peter Lee was known to be passing additional secrets on to the Chinese -- top secret experimental and developmental nuclear secrets along with top secret satellite technology so the Chinese could track U.S. submarines."

     Cameron then jumped to the impending Senate Intelligence Committee report not mentioned by ABC, CBS or NBC but noted by CNN hours later (see item #1 above.) Cameron explained:
     "And there may be additional reason for concern now, this time from Congress. The Senate Intelligence Committee plans to release a declassified report on months of closed hearings and secret spy briefings into whether or not China was able to obtain U.S. technology through commercial exports as well as whether or not the People's Republic of China had a plan to effect U.S. politics with illegal campaign contributions. Fox News has obtained an early copy of this declassified report. It attacks the FBI. It attacks the CIA, saying both agencies have been slow in responding and had a difficult time tracking things. It does not directly implicate the White House or the presidency but does say the committee found that decisions in 1992 and '96 did emphasize commercial interests over national security."

     +++ Watch Cameron's FNC story. Friday morning the MRC's Sean Henry and Kristina Sewell will post a video clip in RealPlayer format of much of this story. Go to: http://www.mrc.org


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) The Washington Times and New York Times versus the Washington Post. Friday's editions of these newspapers summarized the report to be released by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, but while the New York Times and Washington Times focused on the impact of China's technology gains, the Washington Post delivered a spin only the White House could love.

     -- Washington Times headline on its Web site reprinting of the May 7 story: "Eased export controls aided Beijing's missile technology."

     -- New York Times headline on it Web site rendition of its story: "Panel Finds Harm in China Launchings."

     -- Washington Post headline, also from its Web site: "Less Than 10% of China's $300,000 Went to DNC, Report Indicates."

     That would be a reference to the April 4 Los Angeles Times story ABC, CBS and NBC have so far refused to report.

     Here's how Bill Gertz opened his front page Washington Times story:

U.S. satellite technology transferred to China in 1995 and 1996 has improved Beijing's rockets and missiles, according to a report to be released May 7 by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

The bipartisan committee report sets out that the Chinese government is engaged in a covert operation aimed at influencing U.S. policies. "Technical analyses and methodologies provided by American satellite companies to the [People's Republic of China] during various satellite-launch campaigns result in the transfer to the PRC of technical knowhow," the report says. "Such transfer enables the PRC to improve its present and future space launch vehicles and intercontinental ballistic missiles."

A senior Republican Senate aide said the report "confirms our worst fears" about the Clinton administration's policy of loosening satellite-export controls and trying to deal with aggressive Chinese spying on technology.

"China developed and implemented a covert-action plan to influence U.S. policy and through illegal campaign contributions sought to loosen controls on critical technologies," the aide said. "And it worked."....

     END Washington Times excerpt

     Gertz's story will be up all weekend on the Washington Times Web page: http://www.washtimes.com

     The Washington Post delivered a story that seemed to be about a whole other report, but it's about the same one. Reporter Walter Pincus began his piece, which the Post buried on page A27:

Of $300,000 that former Democratic fund-raiser Johnny Chung told federal investigators he got from China's military intelligence chief to help reelect President Clinton in 1996, the FBI has been able to trace only $20,000 to the Democratic National Committee, the Senate intelligence committee reported yesterday.

"Most of the remaining funds went for [Chung's] personal use, including mortgage payments," a report from the panel said.

Chung, who pleaded guilty last year to illegally contributing $30,000 to Democrats and has been cooperating with Justice Department investigators, was a central figure in the 1996 fund-raising scandal. He testified to a federal grand jury that he accepted $300,000 from the Chinese general to support the Democrats in 1996, the Los Angeles Times reported last month. At that time the paper said it believed only $35,000 actually went into party coffers.

The Senate panel also disclosed that contributions from other Chinese sources were made to "a Republican candidate for state office and a Republican state officeholder" who were otherwise unidentified. In addition, the panel said that intelligence information disclosed that China in 1995 conceived a plan to "influence the U.S. political process favorably toward [Beijing]" that was directed primarily at Congress....

     END Washington Post excerpt

     Which spin will the Friday morning shows pick up? If their pattern holds, neither. They will just ignore the latest information.


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) When he testifies next week, the Los Angeles Times revealed Friday, Johnny Chung will say he heard that "a longtime friend of President Clinton approached the Chinese government... asking for $1 million to help support Clinton" and that he "escorted the wife and son of the Chinese military intelligence chief to a political fundraiser in Los Angeles in 1996 at which Democratic officials insisted on a $25,000 campaign contribution for the opportunity to introduce his guests to the President."

     The same reporters who wrote the paper's April 4 story about how Chinese military intelligence gave Chung $300,000 to donate, were back Friday with a preview of Chung's testimony scheduled for next week before a House committee. This is the same appearance that was scheduled for April 27, but canceled.

     "Chung Details Alleged Chinese Funding Scheme," declared the May 7 headline over the story by reporters William Rempel and Alan Miller who opened:

Former Democratic donor Johnny Chung has provided new information to congressional investigators about his dealings with top Chinese intelligence officials, including claims that other politically connected figures were enlisted to bolster China's interests in the United States.

Those claims, along with additional details about Chung's previously disclosed dealings with the chief of China's military intelligence, are expected to be aired next week when Chung is scheduled to testify publicly for the first time before the House Committee on Government Reform.

Chung's accounts, gathered from a series of recent interviews with The Times, also are expected to shed new light on a possible China strategy to build relations with individuals who had special access to the White House and U.S. political leaders.

At the same time, Chung's public testimony is likely to inflame partisan debate over long-standing Republican allegations of a Chinese plan to influence the U.S. election process.

Among the new information that Chung is expected to provide in testimony scheduled to begin Tuesday:
-- He was told by an associate of Beijing's military intelligence leader that China had funneled $500,000 to an international trading firm established by a former Clinton White House aide.
-- A Beijing banker told Chung that a former Arkansas restaurateur who was a longtime friend of President Clinton approached the Chinese government sometime prior to February 1996 asking for $1 million to help support Clinton and the Democratic Party.
-- Chung escorted the wife and son of the Chinese military intelligence chief to a political fundraiser in Los Angeles in 1996 at which Democratic officials insisted on a $25,000 campaign contribution for the opportunity to introduce his guests to the President.

For more than two years, Justice Department and congressional investigators have sought to determine whether the Chinese government directed secret campaign contributions to U.S. election campaigns to enhance Beijing's access to influential leaders, technology and information. Such allegations have generated bitter partisan debate, with Republicans alleging that China sought to influence the 1996 U.S. elections.

Now, Chung is poised to become the first prominent figure in the 1996 campaign finance scandal with ties to China to testify publicly before Congress....

Chung's appearance will no doubt intensify growing scrutiny over the Clinton administration's handling of Beijing. It comes amid allegations of Chinese espionage to steal U.S. nuclear secrets and as congressional committees are planning to release reports on alleged Chinese efforts to obtain sensitive U.S. technology.

Chung was subpoenaed by the House panel after The Times disclosed on April 4 that Chung had told federal investigators that Gen. Ji Shengde, the head of China's military intelligence, had given the Torrance businessman $300,000 to subsidize campaign donations to support Clinton. Records show that Chung donated a total of $35,000 to the Democratic National Committee in September 1996; the remainder was transferred into Chung's California bank account, and it is not known how the money was spent....

     END Los Angeles Times excerpt

     "Chung's appearance will no doubt intensify growing scrutiny over the Clinton administration's handling of Beijing." Well, I have doubts about how much coverage the broadcast networks will give to his appearance.

     To read the rest of this LA Times story, go to:  http://www.latimes.com/HOME/NEWS/POLITICS/NATPOL/lat_chung990507.htm

     To remind yourself of the April 4 bombshell, go to: http://www.latimes.com/HOME/NEWS/POLITICS/NATPOL/lat_china990404.htm


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) Stealing some Steele time. Thursday night the CBS Evening News aired the first full story on a broadcast network about the Julie Hiatt Steele trial for obstructing justice and false statements. On Thursday the case went to the jurors after the defense decided to not put on any witnesses.

     Dan Rather intoned on the May 6 show: "The one and only criminal trial to result from Ken Starr's year-long, four and a half million dollar investigation of the President and Monica Lewinsky, went to the jury today and Monica Lewinsky has virtually nothing to do with it."
     Phil Jones explained how Kathleen Willey testified that she told Steele about Clinton's unwanted sexual advances shortly after they happened in 1993, but Steele says she only heard of the charge four years later. Jones picked up the story: "Starr's prosecutors argued that Steele lied and they put four of her former friends on the stand to testify that Steele had told them about Willey's claims before 1997. One of those testifying, Amy Horan."
     Horan: "She definitely did tell me about it before '97, and September of '96 is the time frame I would put it."
     Jones then showed clip of Willey saying on 60 Minutes last year: "He touched my breast with his hand and I was just startled."


cyberno6.gif (1129 bytes) Though CNN has had many elected officials host Larry King Live over the years, controversy over the plan to have Vice President Al Gore serve as the host led CNN to change its arrangement. But Gore still appeared and got plenty of time to emote caring and advocate his policy ideas on how to reduce youth violence.

     At the top of the May 6 show Larry King told viewers:
     "You may be wondering why I'm here, since we told you last night that Vice President Al Gore would be sitting in for me tonight. Larry King Live has a tradition of using famous guest hosts. I won't run down the lists. Trust me, it's impressive.
Vice President Gore had a long-standing host invitation from us, and he finally accepted. But after taking a long, hard look at the political calendar, we decided it was too close to the 2000 election to have a presidential contender as an interviewer, not interviewee. So the good news is, the Vice President has graciously agreed to give me back my microphone."

     A few minutes into the program King prompted Gore: "What do we know now that we didn't know before Littleton?"
     Gore took full advantage of the platform to demonstrate how much he cares: "I think what most people think we know is that this is a warning of something deeper than just the widespread availability of guns, and violence in the media, and video games and the Internet sites that have been involved, and deeper even than whatever failures of parenting have gone into this. I think that it is being seen and heard all across our country as a spiritual signal, that we really have to take stock of what we want in our country -- what kind of families, what kind of communities. I think we've got to make a lot of changes.
     "Larry, I was deeply affected -- and I told this story the other day. I thought a long time before I told it, because it was shared with me in a private moment. Tipper and I went out a couple of Sundays ago and physically embraced the families of all those who died in Columbine High School. And one of the fathers -- I won't use his name to protect his privacy; he might not even care, but it was so private -- he whispered into my ear during the midst of the embrace, 'These children cannot have died in vain. We have to make changes. Promise me we'll make changes.' And then he repeated it with a tone of urgency and insistence that went just straight to my heart and my soul. He said, 'Promise me.' And I said, 'I promise,' and I meant it, and anybody would have said the same."

     It all depends on what your definition of "private" is. In Gore's case, it means tell everyone you were told something in private and then proceed to announce it.

     Later, the Reverend Robert Schuller and Dr. William Pollack, author of Real Boys, joined the panel with Gore.

     CNN gave Gore all the advantages of hosting, like uninterrupted time to talk, without the chore of actually hosting. -- Brent Baker


     >>> 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: mrccyberalert-subscribe
. Or, you can go to: http://www.mrc.org/newsletters. Either way you will receive a confirmation message titled: "RESPONSE REQUIRED: Confirm your subscription to mrccyberalert@topica.com." 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 DO NOT have to do this; at that point you are already subscribed to CyberAlert.
     To unsubscribe, send a blank e-mail to: cybercomment@mrc.org.
     Send problems and comments to: cybercomment@mrc.org.

     >>>You 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: cybercomment@mrc.org. Or, go to: http://www.mrc.org/newsletters.<<<


Home | News Division | Bozell Columns | CyberAlerts 
Media Reality Check | Notable Quotables | Contact the MRC | Subscribe

Founded in 1987, the MRC is a 501(c) (3) non-profit research and education foundation
 that does not support or oppose any political party or candidate for office.

Privacy Statement

Media Research Center
325 S. Patrick Street
Alexandria, VA 22314