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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Monday May 17, 1999 (Vol. Four; No. 84)

Nets Skip How Missile Made with Stolen Info; CNN: Hillary Has "Suffered"

1) A leak to the AP of the Cox Report generated a bit of coverage with CNN highlighting the spin that its findings are "inflated." On This Week Cox condemned the administration's leaks and spin.

2) "China is close to deploying a nuclear missile with a warhead whose design draws on stolen American secrets," the New York Times disclosed Friday. Today gave it 12 seconds, GMA just ten and all three broadcast networks ignored it Friday night.

3) CNN's Christine Amanpour to Hillary Clinton: "A lot of the women that I meet...admire your dignity. A lot of the people you meet are people who suffered...and who believe that they identify with you, because they have seen you suffer..."

4) Actress Camryn Manheim boasted about how Bill Clinton thanked her for urging Senators to dismiss the impeachment case.

5) Unlike ABC and CBS which only praised Larry Summers, CNN noted the views of detractors and how he called tax cuts "selfish."

6) Newsweek's Evan Thomas blamed Republican opposition to more gun control on "this gradual infiltration over the years of wing nuts" into Congress, of people who are not like John Chafee.

>>> "Networks AWOL For 'Cold War II': Impressive Week of China Story Developments, Including New Chinese Missile, Draws More TV Yawns," the latest Media Reality Check fax report by the MRC's Tim Graham is now online. It runs through all the China stories the networks skipped over last week. Go to the MRC home page or to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/1999/fax19990514.html <<<

>>> Videos of a Bias Contrast: Iran-Contra a Scandal, But Not Chinagate. Watch via RealPlayer how Dan Rather attacked George Bush in 1988 over Iran-Contra but turned deferential this year with Bill Clinton, avoiding Chinese espionage and donations. Two contrasting videos are now up on the MRC Web site:
     1/25/1988: In his infamous January 25, 1988 CBS Evening News interview an aggressive Dan Rather grilled VP George Bush about Iran-Contra, repeatedly cutting him off and arguing with him. Rather declared: "You've made us hypocrites in the face of the world."
     3/31/1999: But on March 31 of this year when Rather interviewed President Clinton for 60 Minutes II he avoided Chinese espionage and donations and gave Clinton plenty of time to portray himself as defender of the Constitution against partisan conservatives who tried to impeach him. Rather asked about Clinton's "feelings" on Kosovo and lightheartedly wondered what he'd do as the husband of a Senator.
     To see the videos go to a new page set up by Webmaster Sean Henry: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/rathervideos.html <<<


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) A Friday night AP story relayed the leaked findings of the upcoming Cox Report. Though the story went out too late for the broadcast network evening shows in the east, it led CNN's 10pm ET The World Today, though the anchor stressed White House spin about how its findings are "inflated," and played on the front page of Saturday's Washington Times.

     CBS skipped it Saturday night while ABC's World News Tonight gave it 30 seconds. (NBA basketball bumped NBC Nightly News on both Saturday and Sunday in the ET and CT zones).

     Sunday morning it topped ABC's This Week as the show made Cox its lead guest. He condemned the administration for leaking parts of the report he delivered to them in early January, as well he should given how little attention his findings would get if confined to what a Friday night AP dispatch would generate.

     -- CNN's The World Today, May 14. John King began his lead piece:
     "CNN has learned a secret congressional report details fresh allegations of Chinese nuclear espionage against the United States. The Trident submarine-based missile, the MX Peacekeeper missile and the long-range Minuteman III missile -- China obtained secrets about the warheads on these and other advanced nuclear systems; seven in all according to three government sources familiar with the congressional report.
     "China has repeatedly denied stealing U.S. nuclear secrets, but sources tell CNN the select House committee also cites U.S. intelligence findings that China, over the past two decades: conducted a half-dozen test of neutron bomb technology the CIA believes was stolen from the United States; and obtained sensitive information about missile guidance and propulsion systems.
     "The report concludes most of the spying occurred in the 1970s and '80s, but also says it continued into the Clinton administration...."

     After King's story, anchor Jim Moret relayed the White House spin dismissing the report: "Reacting to what is contained in the Cox committee report, one U.S. official describes the document to CNN as, 'A bit inflated when it comes to a damage assessment of the potential harm to U.S. security.'"

     -- ABC's This Week, May 16, opened with a piece from Linda Douglass, who warned:
     "ABC News has learned that the 700-page Cox Report paints a frightening picture of how lax security at U.S. weapons labs and elsewhere enabled the Chinese to steal nuclear secrets and use those secrets to speed up the development of its nuclear arsenal. And though many of the most serious breaches took place in the 1980s, the report concludes that the spying is ongoing and critics would say unchecked."
     Douglass went on to explain how China has obtained seven nuclear technology systems and has tested a neutron bomb.

     Sam Donaldson and George Will then interviewed Congressman Chris Cox, who predicted his report would finally be approved by the administration "soon" so it can be released. Asked about leaks, such as Friday's AP story and earlier pieces in the New York Times, Cox blamed the administration:
     "The leaks I'm very unhappy about. And the leaks are coming rather obviously, I think, from the administration because they started in January, they've continued now passing not only information that's in our report but also additional information and much it is heavily spun. There is no reason in the world why we should treat this national security information as if it's some political football."

     -- ABC's World News Tonight, May 16. Instead of picking up that shot at the Clinton team, Sunday night ABC focused on anger toward China. Leading into three soundbites anchor Carole Simpson asserted:
     "There were harsh words from key American lawmakers on the Sunday talk show circuit today as Chinese officials continued to claim they are innocent of widespread espionage. The House committee chairman investigating the charges, Congressman Christopher Cox, accused China of reaping the benefits of stolen American secrets."
     Viewers then saw Chris Cox on ABC saying China benefitted from what was stolen, Richard Shelby outside a CNN studio echoing Cox about how China has gained technology and the ambassador from China insisting on Meet the Press that his nation stole nothing.
     Total time for this story: one minute.


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) "China is close to deploying a nuclear missile with a warhead whose design draws on stolen American secrets, United States intelligence officials say," the New York Times revealed in a front page story on Friday. The Times added: "Officials say that also means China may soon be using secrets stolen from the United States on weapons capable of a significant range that could include Europe, Asia and possibly the western United States."

     Network reaction to the news of the ominous impact of the espionage? A 12-second item on Today, ten seconds on Good Morning America, zilch on This Morning and not a word on the three broadcast network evening shows which were too busy looking at record snowfall on a mountain and waiting lines for Star Wars movie tickets.

     May 14 Today viewers heard this 12-second item from news reader Ann Curry in the 7am update after a story about the embassy bombing, as transcribed by MRC analyst Mark Drake: "And the problems in the U.S.-Chinese relationship come against continuing allegations of nuclear espionage. The New York Times is reporting this morning that China is installing a nuclear missile with a warhead that is based on stolen American secrets."

     That was all Today delivered though the show spent most of its time with Matt Lauer at the Great Wall of China as part of its "Where in the World is Matt Lauer?" gimmick. But Today didn't take advantage of the coincidence.

     Good Morning America, which broadcast from Pensacola, Florida, offered just a ten-second item, but MRC analyst Jessica Anderson pointed out the show allocated several minutes to showing Diane Sawyer flying in the back seat of Blue Angels naval jet. At one point she passed out and said she imagined she was interviewing Gandhi.
     Here's all GMA provided on China, from news reader Antonio Mora at 7:30am: "There is a report this morning that China is close to deploying a missile with a nuclear warhead based on stolen American technology. According to the New York Times, the missile could be deployed within four years."

     Friday night, zilch, but the shows found time for many other less than pressing developments, specifically:
     -- ABC's World News Tonight featured stories on how NASA unveiled "synthetic vision" technology to prevent pilots from hitting mountains, a baby in a well rescued, and over four minutes on "The Century" series, this time on the "Myth of the Frontier" -- how movies like Star Wars represent the idea that all Americans share in the pioneer story.
     -- CBS Evening News ran pieces on the baby in the well, a women who has used the Herceptin breast cancer drug, an Eye on America segment on what ever happened to Baby Jessica (McClure) and her rescuers, the baby rescued from a 12 years ago, and people camped out at movie theaters waiting for Star Wars to open.
     -- NBC Nightly News aired stories on the video game industry convention and how the industry is now on the defensive and a look at weather extremes: how many records were set this year including how Mt. Baker in Washington had a record 93 feet of snow this past winter, the Oklahoma tornadoes set a wind record, and Alaska had a record low temperature in January while it was the warmest winter ever in the lower 48 states.

     Here's an excerpt of the New York Times exclusive by James Risen and Jeff Gerth:

China is close to deploying a nuclear missile with a warhead whose design draws on stolen American secrets, United States intelligence officials say.

A long-range Chinese missile, known as the Dong Feng-31, is being equipped with a small nuclear warhead whose design uses secret American technology, according to American intelligence assessments.

The technology is believed to have been stolen from a Government weapons laboratory, although there is some debate over precisely what technical information officials believe is being used.

According to the assessments, the missile is expected to be deployed within three or four years, giving China what officials believe would be its first warhead designed using secret American technology.

Since suspicions of Chinese nuclear espionage became public, the Clinton Administration has said that there is no evidence that Beijing has actually deployed nuclear weapons that rely on stolen American secrets....

Officials have said, for example, that China stole design information about America's most advanced warhead, the W-88, between 1984 to 1988. Yet they stress that while China has developed a test version with a similar design, it has not actually produced such a weapon.

American officials believe that the technology suspected of having been stolen for use in the DF-31's warhead will help China achieve its goal of building a modern nuclear arsenal that relies on mobility to evade attacks. The DF-31 will be a truck-based mobile missile that can be moved, thus making it more difficult to detect and destroy....

China's nuclear arsenal is still much smaller and less technically advanced than that of the United States. Yet the DF-31 and its new warhead represent a step forward in China's efforts to present a more formidable nuclear presence.

Officials say that also means China may soon be using secrets stolen from the United States on weapons capable of a significant range that could include Europe, Asia and possibly the western United States.

American intelligence assessments say the DF-31 will have a range of approximately 5,000 miles. It is expected to be ready for deployment as early as 2002 or 2003....

     END Excerpt

     To read the whole story, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/library/world/asia/051499china-nuke.html
     (To access this page you must be a registered user of the online New York Times.)

     ++++ Monday morning update: ABC's Good Morning America has yet to conduct an interview segment about Chinese espionage and has not interviewed either James Risen or Jeff Gerth about any of their espionage scoops this year, but Monday morning the show interviewed Times reporter Richard Berke about his Friday story on disarray in the Gore campaign. ++++


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) CNN's Clinton flak comes through. Last Friday in Macedonia Hillary Clinton sat for her first interview since her infamous January, 1998 Today appearance in which she made up the "vast right-wing conspiracy." CNN's Christine Amanpour landed the interview during the First Lady's tour of refugee camps and spent most of the 30-minute interview talking about Balkan policy and oppression of women around the world.

     But the wife of the State Department spokesman, Jamie Rubin, wasn't above pitching up some pro-Hillary softballs in the interview which CNN played during Friday night's The World Today and again at 9:30am ET on Saturday. Here are Amanpour's last two questions:

     -- "You seem so committed, and you seem to get so much professional and personal satisfaction from what you do abroad, and you have the freedom to do it as First Lady. Why would you give that up to become a Senator from New York?"

     -- "A lot of the people I talk to, a lot of the women that I meet from traveling overseas, are very impressed by you and admire your dignity. A lot of the people you meet are people who suffered, people you saw today, and who believe that they identify with you, because they have seen you suffer. And in a speech in Africa last year, you spoke about living for hope and reconciliation, living for forgiveness and reconstruction, and living for a new life -- have you been able to apply that to your own circumstances? Have you been able to forgive your husband?"
     Hillary Clinton replied:
     "I believe deeply in forgiveness and reconciliation, on an individual basis and on a societal one, as well. And, I think forgiveness is an ongoing effort and challenge, and it is something that I think about and engage in nearly every day -- on little matters, as well as the obvious large ones. And I feel very committed to that kind of life. And so, for me, it is a choice that I make about how I wish to live my life, and I'm very gratified that my husband and I have a very strong relationship and a lot of understanding of one another and a great commitment to each other and that we both appreciate the role that forgiveness has to play in anyone's life. Part of it is our religious faith and part of it is just our experience of human nature and how one always has to be ready to forgive if one wants to go on and live without bitterness and hope."

     Bill and Hillary are quite the models for the benefits of "religious faith."


manheim0517.jpg (7697 bytes)cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) Bill Clinton didn't hesitate to thank a celebrity who used an awards ceremony to bash Republicans who favored impeachment, the star revealed in boasting on Friday's Dennis Miller Live about a letter she received shortly afterward. (Be warned this item includes two words not heard on broadcast television. This is about an HBO show.)

     On Dennis Miller Live, shown at 11:30pm ET Friday's on HBO, actress Camryn Manheim, who plays lawyer "Ellenor Frutt" on ABC's The Practice, came on to promote her new book, Wake Up, I'm Fat!

     On the May 14 show she related to Miller how Clinton thanked her for her remarks when she won a Golden Globe award:
     "It was on the eve of the decision on whether or not they're going to go forward with the impeachment and I won the Golden Globe, which was really exciting, and I said thank you thank you, thank you and 'I want to share this award with all the Senators who vote to dismiss the case tomorrow.' Not, 'I think what he did was fabulous,' just dismiss the fucking case already, right?. So, I get unbelievable hate mail like right away like 'you're an actress. We don't give a shit what you think. We don't want to hear in that arena your political views.' It was really scary. All of a sudden I felt like wow this is why Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty and everyone didn't say anything about it because this is the kind of response you get. But the next day his little assistants called. 'We want your address' and I get a letter in the mail."
     Dennis Miller: "From Bill?"
     Manheim: "Yea, from Bill. And it was you know, 'I love The Practice and thank you so much for what you said.'....I get the letter, 'thanks for what you said, it means more to me than you'll ever know' and I know he didn't type it but he underlined 'thanks' like three times and signed his name and you can see it on my Web site: www.camryn.com."

     Indeed, you can see an image Clinton's January 27 letter on her page. Direct address: http://www.camryn.com/clinton-cm2.gif
     Her page also features pictures of her that you can check to see if she looks familiar. Late Monday morning ET the MRC will post a picture of her along side this item in the Web-posted version of this CyberAlert.


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) Last Wednesday the networks praised the performance of resigning Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and positively reviewed the record of his replacement, Larry Summers. The next morning so did Good Morning America, but CNN's The World Today actually pointed out how conservatives are troubled by Summers' attitude that those who favor tax cuts are "selfish."

     As detailed in the May 13 CyberAlert, on ABC's World News Tonight on May 12 Betsy Stark oozed that Summers "is widely respected as a brilliant academic thinker who has learned a lot about policy making from Robert Rubin and Alan Greenspan." Over on CBS Anthony Mason relayed: "....Larry Summers is said by many to be even smarter than Rubin, a former Harvard professor and chief economist at the World Bank, he spent four years at Rubin's side. The administration's trouble-shooter as the global financial crisis spread, Summers met privately with Greenspan and Rubin every week forming a troika that Time called 'The Committee to Save the World.'"

     Now for some additional info. The next morning, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed, on Good Morning America ABC's Ann Compton asserted: "Possibly the biggest vote of confidence Summers could have gotten came from that grinning Alan Greenspan in the White House Rose Garden, Chairman of the independent Federal Reserve Board. He praised not only Summers's judgment, but what he called was his extraordinary talent."

     MRC analyst Paul Smith noted how CNN delivered a contrary spin on May 12. On The World Today John King pointed out: "Summers is more liberal, more professorial and more prickly than the easygoing Rubin. Republicans don't like that Summers once called a capital gains tax cut selfish."
     Up next, Kelli Arena profiled Summers and unlike ABC and CBS, she gave time to detractors: "But his unyielding support of the International Monetary Fund has drawn sharp criticism from conservatives and longtime friends....And some of his gaffes are now Washington classics. In 1992, Summers argued for dumping toxic waste in developing countries on grounds they were under-polluted and in 1997 he attacked congressional efforts to decrease inheritance taxes as selfishness. The incidents did not do much to dispel reports he is arrogant and difficult to work with."


cyberno6.gif (1129 bytes) Discussing how Senate Republicans flip-flopped on gun control, Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas blamed "wing nuts" for putting Republicans on the wrong side initially -- that would be the anti more rules side. On this past weekend's edition of Inside Washington Thomas argued:
     "It also says something about Congress itself, I mean this gradual infiltration over the years of wing nuts. Of people you know are, you lose the John Chafee's, and you get people who used to be in the House and now are in the Senate and who are extremists and there's so many cases like this it becomes the norm."

     Memo to Thomas: Your liberal Republican ideal Senator, John Chafee of Rhode Island and Providence Plantation, is not dead or gone yet. He's still a Senator.

     Final Note and Plug:
     Now up on the MRC home page, an updated edition of the MRC Special Report: "All The News That's Fit to Skip: Network Apathy Toward Chinese Contributions and Espionage." The direct address: http://www.mediaresearch.org/specialreports/news/sr19990514.html

     It's updated for coverage, actually lack thereof, through the end of last week. -- Brent Baker


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