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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Thursday May 20, 1999 (Vol. Four; No. 87)

FNC Displays Clinton Lying; Hitting Selleck; Clinton's Gun Buddy

1) Another day at the networks, another day avoiding Chinagate. NBC instead focused on abused zoo animals.

2) FNC outlined how a psychiatrist claims Clinton's testimony video can be used as a manual for detecting lying.

3) Today's Matt Lauer demanded actor Tom Selleck defend his ties to the NRA, asking him to justify an ad featuring him saying it's good for young people to learn the sport of shooting.

4) "'There's no good reason for a child to own an AK-47,' Clinton said...just as there's no good reason for a U.S. President to entertain the head of a communist entity that sells AK-47s to kids." But, Investor's Business Daily noted, he did that in 1996.

5) "Darth Vader vs. Johnny Chung," my Washington Times op-ed about what the networks found more newsworthy last week than Chinagate.

Correction: The May 19 CyberAlert stated that Michael "Moore made one successful film nearly 20 years ago and now he won't go away." He won't go away, but Roger & Me was actually released in 1989, ten years ago.


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) Another day Wednesday morning and evening with no coverage of anything on the China front. Wednesday night, May 18, The ABC, CBS, CNN, FNC and NBC evening shows all ran pieces on a National Science Foundation-funded study about how where people have decided to live has increased the cost of damages caused by natural disasters, the case of the Florida woman shot by her mother who was allowed to die (by having her ventilator removed) and the controversy now over whether the mother can be charged with murder, and a group formed to encourage Internet service providers to not allow sites with bomb-making info.

     NBC added an In Depth look at how zoo animals are abused by animal brokers. Only FNC's Fox Report featured a story on Dan Quayle's speech to the Commonwealth Club of California, the same venue as heard his Murphy Brown speech, denouncing "the legal aristocracy" which promotes lawsuits.

     ABC's World News Tonight led with how the California government division which oversees employees has agreed to a ten percent hike in health insurance premiums. CBS and NBC went first with devastating video smuggled out of Kosovo. "Human rights groups say it is the worst massacre of the war, 150 Albanian men, many elderly, bludgeoned and shot" around March 29, NBC's Andrea Mitchell announced on Nightly News. She added: "The video smuggled out by the rebel army and today confirmed by U.S. spy satellite photos, gruesome evidence of atrocities photographed from 200 miles up."


clinton0520.jpg (14316 bytes)cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) Clinton's grand jury testimony as a how-to video to learn to detect lying. Wednesday night FNC uniquely outlined a psychiatrist's claim that the video of Clinton's August quizzing illustrates several behavior patterns which reflect what people do when they are lying.

     Psychiatrists are holding a convention in Washington this week, FNC's David Shuster noted in a May 19 Fox Report piece, before talking to Dr. Alan Hirsch about his contention that his colleagues should use Clinton's video as a guide to picking up on lying.

     Amongst the signs Clinton was lying according to Hirsch, Shuster explained, "a significant increase in the rate per minute that Mr. Clinton crossed his arms, looked away from prosecutors or touched his nose. Psychiatrists say higher blood pressure swells some tissues there, causing most people, without realizing it, to scratch. Hirsch compared the first ten minutes when the President was sworn in and asked simple things like his name with a twenty minute segment when prosecutors were trying to nail down the details of Mr. Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky."
     Hirsch: "During the truthful period, for instance, he touched his nose none and during the lying period he touched his nose .26 times a minute."
     Shuster: "Another example, what psychiatrists call the liar's lean."
     Hirsch: "In his truthful periods he leaned forward not at all and during the lying period he leaned forward .86 times a minute."      Shuster: "Hirsch also focused on verbal signals, such as stuttering. Listen as the President tries to explain a comment his lawyer made about no sex of any kind."
     Clinton: "I don't, I think what Mr. Bennett was concerned about if I, maybe it would be helpful."
     Shuster: "According to Hirsch, Mr. Clinton's stuttering rate increased by 1400 percent, errors in speech 1700 percent."

     Actually, I'd say that's more like stammering.

     Shuster added, "Another signal, throat clearing, was also way up," before he noted how "critics of the study say Hirsch is trying to get himself attention at President Clinton's expense."

+++ See the portions of Clinton's testimony which the psychiatrist says illustrate his points. Thursday morning MRC Webmaster Sea Henry will post a RealPlayer clip of this FNC story. Go to: http://www.mrc.org


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) Under what circumstance does a celebrity brought aboard a morning show to plug a movie not get a puffy, promotional interview? When that actor has ties to a conservative group. Wednesday morning Tom Selleck appeared on Today during its 8:30am half hour, a time the show reserves for its lightest fare, but MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed that co-host Matt Lauer couldn't resist demanding that Selleck defend his endorsement of the NRA.

     After some discussion of his latest movie, The Love Letter, and showing a clip of it, Lauer moved on to a new subject: "Let me talk to you about another subject. This ad you did for the NRA."
     Today viewers saw a small picture of the ad as Lauer portrayed it as out of touch: "Well the one that says basically, you know, it says basically shooting teaches young people good things. Are you concerned, are you surprised at the backlash that the NRA has received in the wake of the tragedies like the shooting in Littleton, Colorado."

     After Selleck answered that he's concerned about demonizing one group which defends the Bill of Rights and how wrong it is to use lawsuits to destroy legal industry, Lauer demanded: "Do you worry though that the message when you see an ad like that says, 'shooting teaches young people good things,' that it just sounds to be out of step with what we're hearing?"
     Selleck countered: "To somehow equate it to Littleton or the tragic events there is really an act of moral vanity."

     It certainly is "out of step" with the media line.


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) The media have compliantly passed along President Clinton's moral indignation over the Senate's failure last week to pass more gun regulations, but Investor's Business Daily on Wednesday reminded readers that Clinton welcomed to the White House a few years ago a communist who sells AK-47s to kids.

     The presence of this arms dealer, Wang Ju, did generate some coverage when revealed by the Washington Post on December 20, 1996, but I've not seen anyone else recall his ties to Clinton in the post-Littleton era. (The February 1997 MediaWatch offered this summary of 1996 coverage: "December 20: The Washington Post reported on its front page that Wang Jun, a Chinese arms dealer, was welcomed to a White House fundraising coffee. Coverage: CBS was the only network to air a full story. NBC ran an anchor brief. ABC did nothing. Of the morning shows, only NBC's Today mentioned it.)

     From the May 19 Investor's Business Daily, the lead editorial:

Wang Jun, Gun Control Czar?

"There's no good reason for a child to own an AK-47," President Clinton said last week while pushing his kiddie gun control bill. Just as there's no good reason for a U.S. president to entertain the head of a communist entity that sells AK-47s to kids, right?

Don't expect an answer from Clinton. He did just that on Feb. 6, 1996.

His fund-raising pal, Charlie Trie, had invited Beijing arms dealer Wang Jun to one of Clinton's famous fund-raising "coffees" in the White House Map Room.

Wang is the son of China's former vice president. He also runs Polytechnologies, an arms dealership owned by Poly Group, which is owned directly by China's People's Liberation Army.

In May 1996, agents of Wang's dealership and another Chinese arms company, Norinco, were arrested for trying to smuggle AK- 47s into the U.S. for sale to drug gangs.

Polytechnologies manned a ship owned by COSCO -- China's shipping company -- carrying 2,000 of the assault rifles. U.S. Customs agents seized the cargo in the Oakland, Calif., port. The weapons reportedly were bound for Los Angeles street gangs.

When the press put the events together in 1997, the White House said only that Wang's White House visit was "clearly inappropriate" -- as if he slipped in by mistake.

But Wang was escorted by one of Clinton's old Arkansas pals. Among other things, Trie was the top donor to the Clintons' legal defense fund -- that is, until trustees deemed his cash too dirty to keep.

But here's what makes the idea that Wang was just a random guest really hard to swallow. Shortly after the White House meeting with Clinton, Trie escorted Wang across 14th Street to the Commerce Department. There, he met with Commerce Secretary Ron Brown -- and John Huang, as we now know from court-ordered depositions.

Why the high-level meeting? We don't know: The late Brown can't talk; Huang won't talk. And Clinton's Justice Department has Trie under wraps for minor, unrelated campaign fraud charges.

In 1995, Clinton personally signed off on Huang's move to the Democratic National Committee from Commerce, where he had access to top-secret U.S. intelligence on China. Huang, raised at least $1.5 million in dirty money for the Clinton-Gore re-election effort. He's also an old Clinton crony. They met on an Arkansas trade mission to Asia in 1985.

Clinton's never been pressed on his ties to Wang. Of the 103 so-called coffees, Clinton told the press they were just "respectful hearings" for citizens.

First off, Wang's not a citizen. Second, what could the president possibly hear and respect from the chief dealer for the world's No. 1 arms proliferator? Unless it's the sound of money dropping into his campaign coffers.

In 1996, Clinton also lobbied on behalf of COSCO in its unsuccessful efforts (Congress blocked the deal) to lease the Long Beach Naval Station, which would have in effect given the Chinese Navy -- and an arms smuggler -- a U.S. beachhead.

But that was then -- and Clinton hopes we all have short memories.

Last week, he held a White House summit called "Youth, Violence and Responsibility," which capped Clinton's multi-city campaign in the wake of the Colorado school shootings to raise our consciousness about the perils of youth violence and guns.

Oh, now he cares.

     END reprint

     To read the latest from Investor's Business Daily, go to: www.investors.com
     Use CHOOSE and SUCCEED as the user name and password to access the stories. I'm not giving anything away here, those are the words they tell you to use as their registration system does not work.


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) "Darth Vader vs. Johnny Chung," an op-ed piece by me featured in the May 19 Washington Times which contrasts disclosures on the Chinese espionage and contributions fronts last week with what topics the broadcasts networks decided to cover instead. This piece is also posted on the MRC Web site. Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/oped/news/wt19990519.html

     Here's the insightful and illuminating op-ed piece creatively titled by the paper's editorial staff:

Darth Vader vs. Johnny Chung

by Brent Baker

What is more important, for Americans to learn that their President may have lied to them about ongoing espionage on his watch and that a top General in China's army tried to impact Clinton's 1996 campaign by giving $300,000 through a man who was welcomed into the White House over 50 times -- or to get barbecuing tips and be treated to a discussion about "Star Wars" toys?

If you chose the latter topics then you are suited to become a television network news producer. In the last week or so several major revelations have occurred on the Chinese espionage and contributions fronts, but the networks have been too busy with these other subjects to bother reporting them -- even when one of their own breaks some news.

NBC's Tim Russert got Energy Secretary Bill Richardson to concede on the May 9 "Meet the Press" show that spying took place on President Clinton's watch, contradicting Mr. Clinton's own assertion. Recalling a May 2 New York Times story about how a report delivered to the Clinton administration last November outlined ongoing espionage, Mr. Russert pointed out to Mr. Richardson how at a March 19 press conference Mr. Clinton insisted: "No one has said anything to me about any espionage which occurred by the Chinese against the labs, during my presidency." After much consternation, Mr. Richardson conceded espionage had taken place "during past administrations and present administrations." Mr. Russert exclaimed: "Finally, someone has acknowledged it."

But other than "Meet the Press" viewers, only Fox News Channel watchers saw the admission. "Richardson: China Did Steal Secrets" announced the front page headline in the next day's Washington Times. "'Damaging' leaks occurred on Clinton watch" read the subhead. Yet no broadcast network, not even NBC, found Mr. Russert's scoop worth reporting.

The morning after Mr. Richardson's appearance, as Mr. Russert told radio's Don Imus how Mr. Clinton has handled the espionage situation recklessly, NBC "Today" viewers were watching co-host Matt Lauer broadcast live from Mt. Everest, interrupted only for co-host Katie Couric's interview with daytime talk show host Jenny Jones about a jury holding her show liable for a murder. ABC's "Good Morning America" also featured a talk with Jones as well as, in its relatively more newsy first hour, tips on barbecuing.

Asked by Mr. Imus why Mr. Richardson was so reluctant to tell what he knows, Mr. Russert asserted: "Because if he does, then he has put the President of United States in a position where he is lying about national security." Mr. Russert scolded the Clinton team: "You don't spin your way out of national security breaches. It happened on their watch and they're trying to spin their way out of it. You confront 'em, you accept responsibility."

Though he carries the title of NBC News Vice President, hours after Mr. Russert offered his grave assessment "NBC Nightly News" skipped the China story. Instead, NBC featured an "In Depth" segment on how a deadly Louisiana bus crash demonstrated the need for more regulation of buses. ABC's "World News Tonight" also ignored Chinagate and allocated nearly six minutes to how retirees are becoming more active. The "CBS Evening News" explored whether more regulation is needed to protect consumers from aggressive credit card pitches.

Democratic fund-raiser Johnny Chung told a House committee on May 11 how the head of intelligence for the Chinese military, Gen. Ji Shengde, gave him $300,000 to funnel to entities aiding Mr. Clinton's re-election efforts, though he only actually donated $35,000. Mr. Chung also related how an associate of Ji's passed along a threat on his life for talking to U.S. authorities. ABC and NBC carried a story each that night, but not CBS or any of the morning shows the next day. Instead of covering Chung, the "CBS Evening News" previewed the expected record summer travel by car and showed viewers a new robotic toy dog from Japan.

While Washington Times readers woke up to the headline "Chung tells of China cash connections," the three morning shows did not utter a syllable about his troubling allegations -- though even the New York Times put its story above the fold along with a color picture of Chung that network producers could not have missed. Nonetheless, "Good Morning America" viewers were treated to features about the Gulf Coast as the show broadcast from Biloxi, Miss.

The ABC program managed to squeeze in an item about how a Massachusetts chain of furniture stores flew all 1,300 of its employees to Bermuda for a one-day beach party. "Today" devoted most of the show to live segments with Matt Lauer on an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea. Yet "Today," which ignored Mr. Chung, found time for Miss Couric to talk with Latin singer Ricky Martin. "This Morning" allocated an interview segment in its prime 8am half hour to whether Star Wars movie toys are worth collecting.

Last week ended with an ominous New York Times story on Friday about how "China is close to deploying a nuclear missile with a warhead whose design draws on stolen American secrets." Network reaction: "Today" gave it twelve seconds even though the show had Lauer live from the Great Wall in China. "Good Morning America" allocated a piddling ten seconds and "This Morning" skipped it altogether.

Friday night: Not a word on ABC, CBS or NBC -- shows which had room for pieces on the baby rescued from the well in Kansas, record snowfall on a mountain in Washington state and people waiting in line to buy "Star Wars" movie tickets.

A lesson in current television network "news" priorities.

     END Reprint

     One more reminder, you can read the MRC's Special Report, "All The News That's Fit to Skip: Network Apathy Toward Chinese Contributions and Espionage," online by going to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/specialreports/news/sr19990514.html -- Brent Baker


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