Reno as Victim; Clinton in on Cover-Up?; McCarthyite Republicans
1) ABC and CBS, but not NBC,
previewed the Cox Report Monday night but avoided the donation angle. Dan
Rather complained: "With 20 years worth of blame for both Republicans
and Democrats to go around, some in Congress are now singling out"
2) FBI wiretaps, FNC's Carl
Cameron disclosed, "indicate that President Clinton and China's
President Jiang Zemin had agreed on how to spin the story if it got
out." Blame "princelings."
3) Eleven weeks into the
scandal ABC's Good Morning America finally aired its first interview
about Chinese espionage.
4) "Where have you gone,
Joe McCarthy, oh, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you," Time Daily
wondered in impugning Republicans as McCarthyites for daring to hold Reno
5) Los Angeles Times reporter
Jane Hall tried to discredit the MRC ad on China coverage by using a
preposterous and false statistic.
6) MRC fax report lists
coverage gaps: So far just two morning interviews, one Nightline edition
and several shows have yet to tell viewers about how Chung got $300,000
from China's military.
7) When Charles Krauthammer
noted that in contrast to Hillary Clinton, Nita Lowey "didn't build
her career on his [her husband's] back," Nina Totenberg blurted
out: "Shame on you!"
>>> More Rosie vs. Tom.
Tuesday morning MRC Webmaster Sean Henry will post an extended excerpt
from the May 20 Rosie O'Donnell attack on Tom Selleck over his ties to
the NRA. Last Friday we posted a couple of news stories with clips from
the show, but since then MRC analyst Jessica Anderson managed to obtain a
tape of the original Rosie O'Donnell Show from which we've now taken a
clip. To see the excerpt in RealPlayer format, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/biasvideo.html
Correction: The May 24
CyberAlert quoted Senator Richard Shelby as saying: "I believe that
the Attorney General ought to resign and she ought to tale her top
lieutenants with her." That should have read "...take her top
lieutenants with her."
On the eve of the release of the Cox Report, every network but NBC on
Monday night previewed its expected content. But while ABC's Sam
Donaldson raised the issue of how Republicans will try to connect
espionage with campaign contributions from China, the preview piece on
ABC's World News Tonight failed to inform viewers about how the Clinton
administration withheld knowledge from Congress, rejected wiretap requests
or how the head of one of the two companies accused of passing along
secrets is a large Democratic contributor.
The CBS Evening
News also skipped the donation angle as Sharyl Attkisson portrayed Bill
Clinton as the victim of bad staff who failed to brief him about evidence
of espionage, instead of as a dissembler who misled the public. Just after
she assigned culpability, asserting the Cox Report will "raise more
concerns about" why Clinton's "national security advisers
would keep him in the dark on crucial details," Dan Rather painted
Janet Reno as the unfair victim of GOP blame: "With twenty years
worth of blame for both Republicans and Democrats to go around, some in
Congress are now singling out Attorney General Janet Reno."
Politics and Moneyline led with multiple stories Monday night previewing
the Cox Report and CNN devoted most of its 10pm ET The World Today to the
subject. FNC's Fox Report carried a full story and Special Report with
Brit Hume ran more than one piece, including an exclusive about Clinton
agreeing to a Chinese cover story. See item #2 today for more. (NBC
Nightly News skipped Cox Monday night but ran a story and an interview
with Cox last Friday. See the May 24 CyberAlert for details.)
Here's how the
ABC and CBS evening shows approached Chinese espionage and the impending
Cox Report on Monday night, May 24:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. John Martin summarized the report's findings about how
over the last 20 years China has obtained information about seven weapon
design concepts, rocket guidance systems and super-computers with which to
conduct nuclear tests. Martin elaborated:
"The security lapses reportedly stretch back
over four American presidencies and also involve private companies,
including the Hughes and Loral corporations. But the committee is expected
to come down hardest on the Clinton administration for not upgrading
security at its nuclear weapons laboratories. This morning the
administration conceded security had been terrible."
Martin did not
mention how Loral Chairman Bernard Schwartz was the largest donor in 1996
to the Democratic National Committee.
After a soundbite
from Energy Secretary Bill Richardson on Good Morning America saying all
is now fine, Martin moved on to criticism of Reno without offering any
specifics as he concluded his story:
leaks from the report Congress has raised questions of whether the Justice
Department, including the FBI, looked hard enough for the source of
espionage. There are calls for the resignation of Attorney General Janet
Reno. Late today Reno said there was not enough evidence to prosecute
anyone, but admitted mistakes had been made. Questions about who made
those mistakes and who's to blame are likely to provoke the kind of
suspicion and recrimination not heard here since the Cold War."
In fact, the
complaint is that Reno's department rejected two FBI requests for
approval to wiretap Wen Ho Lee. As the March 30 Investor's Business
Daily reported, from 1993-97 the Justice Department approved 2,686 of
2,687 wiretap requests. The one and only request rejected: The FBI's
wish to wiretap Wen Ho Lee.
Next, from the
White House Sam Donaldson observed that "this President is
particularly sensitive because of the accusations that foreign money from
China may have come into Democratic Party coffers in 1996. Now Peter,
there may be absolutely no connection between the investigation of money
in the 1996 election from China and the possibility of espionage by China
during the administration, but the intersection of these two events gives
the Republicans a big stick with which to beat the President over the head
and they're doing it."
A big stick that
hits without sound as the networks fail to highlight the
-- CBS Evening News. Dan Rather intoned:
"Politically motivated leaks, furious spin control and the blame game
are underway over how China got its hands on this country's most
sensitive nuclear weapons secrets in the Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton
summarized the key findings of the Cox committee before portraying Clinton
as the victim of bad staff work:
"The report doesn't blame any President
but there are serious questions as to why, when intelligence officials
discovered the Chinese conspiracy, it took so long for President Clinton
to be briefed. The CIA found out about the theft of design information for
the W88, America's most advanced nuclear warhead, in 1995 but it was a
year or more before the President was told about it. And recently Mr.
Clinton said there had been no espionage on his watch."
Clinton, March 19: "I can tell you that no
one has reported to me that they suspect such a thing has occurred."
Attkisson: "But by then the White House
already had a copy of the classified congressional report which detailed
the FBI's case against Peter Lee who admitted spying for China in 1997.
Today the President's spokesman said Mr. Clinton was briefed on that
only when he asked about it, after the March news conference."
Following a clip of Joe Lockhart Attkisson
concluded by assuming Clinton was truthful on March 19: "The public
release of the China spying report tomorrow will raise more concerns about
what the President knew and why his national security advisers would keep
him in the dark on crucial details."
the national security staff, CBS then castigated Republicans for daring to
blame Reno. Rather asserted: "With twenty years worth of blame for
both Republicans and Democrats to go around, some in Congress are now
singling out Attorney General Janet Reno for what they see as her failure
to investigate the long-leaked nuclear secrets."
explained how she gets it from both sides as "she exasperated the
White House by recommending a record seven independent counsels to
investigate the administration and infuriated congressional Republicans
who accused her of foot dragging on campaign finance probes of the
President and Vice President."
After allowing Republican Senator Richard Shelby
to call for her to resign, Schieffer then contradicted Rather's thesis
by noting how a Democrat is criticizing her: "Democrat Robert
Torricelli called it incredible that the Justice Department twice turned
down FBI requests to wiretap the chief suspect."
Was President Clinton in on the cover story? Following up on his Fox News
Sunday piece about how Chinese intelligence operative Robert Luu told
Johnny Chung to say the money he donated came from "princelings,"
relatives living in West of Chinese leaders, FNC's Carl Cameron on
Monday night revealed how a wiretap suggests Clinton agreed to the
cover-up strategy. Luu works for a Los Angeles law firm.
Noting how the FBI
tapped calls between Chung and Luu, on Monday's Special Report with Brit
Hume Cameron relayed: "A transcript of the wiretap obtained by Fox
News contains the following:
"Luu: 'Shove the blame on the shoulders of
the princelings.' "Chung: 'So blame it on the princelings, do not
implicate the Chinese government.'
"Luu: 'Yes. Chairman Jiang agreed to
handle it like this. The President over here also agreed.'"
Cameron: "Since both men were in the U.S.
when the call occurred, those words, 'the President over here also
agreed,' indicate that President Clinton and China's President Jiang
Zemin had agreed on how to spin the story if it got out. The White House
strongly denies any such thing occurred."
reminded viewers how Chung's contact in China was Liu Chao-Yang who had
ties to General Ji Shengde, the Chinese military intelligence chief who
provided the $300,000 he wanted Chung to give to help Clinton's
re-election. Cameron added: "Robert Luu told Chung never to tell
investigators about two U.S. satellite firms, Loral Space and Hughes
Electronics, or their relationship with Liu Chao-Yang who negotiated their
Cameron's exclusive story. Tuesday morning the MRC's Kristina Sewell
and Sean Henry will post a RealPlayer clip of Cameron's piece. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
A mere 56 weekday mornings after the March 6 New York Times revealed the
Chinese espionage, ABC's Good Morning America conducted its first
interview segment on the subject. This doubles the morning show total to
two interview segments so far about the Chinese espionage scandal. The
last one: Today's March 9 interview with Energy Secretary Bill
Richardson. But while it took ABC 11 weeks that's still sooner that
CBS's This Morning which spent Monday with a soap star and talking about
toy action figures.
May 24, GMA made the same guest pick, bringing aboard Bill Richardson. MRC
analyst Jessica Anderson noted that co-host Charlie Gibson began by
focusing on criticism of Reno:
has some Republicans and even some Democrats asking why Attorney General
Janet Reno and other administration officials didn't do more to stop the
Sen. Trent Lott: "It's not just a question
about how did this happen. I do agree with some others that some heads
Sen. Richard Shelby: "I believe that the
Attorney General ought to resign, and she ought to take her top
lieutenants with her, and she ought to do it now for the sake of the
Sen. Robert Torricelli: "I think the
failures of judgment by the Attorney General of the United States are
Gibson: "Joining us now from Boston, the
Energy Secretary Bill Richardson. His department oversees the nuclear
laboratories the Chinese spies were apparently able to penetrate....Those
are strong words from three very influential senators. In 1997, at least
two FBI requests to tap the phone and search the computer of a suspected
Chinese spy, turned down by the Attorney General. Wouldn't have this have
all been uncovered much sooner if she'd said yes?"
other questions: "But I understand that, and it's very uncomfortable
when one cabinet member has to comment on people calling for the
resignation of another cabinet member, but we have evidence since 1995 of
secrets being systematically stolen and you can't investigate someone who
may be at the heart of it?"
"Let me turn to the Cox report, which is due
out tomorrow, which has been worked on for some time. You said that report
is scary. How so?"
"But the report says, as we understand it,
that China will soon field a new generation of nuclear weapons based in
part on information stolen from the United States. Do you agree that that
is possible, given what was taken? Do you have a sense that that's
-- Today spent 11 minutes in a sappy tribute to
the Kennedy family and its Profile in Courage Award this year given to two
Senators pushing for more regulation and less free speech: McCain and
Today aired no
interview about China, but during the 8am news, MRC analyst Geoffrey
Dickens noticed, David Bloom previewed the Cox Report but in so doing
blithely referred to how Clinton was "incorrect" in denying
spying happened during his tenure: "For five months the White House
fought to keep much of this information classified. At a recent news
conference the President even said, incorrectly, that there had been no
alleged Chinese nuclear spying under his watch."
You'd think a
President making false statements, whether intentional or not, about such
a serious national security matter would be a major story in itself.
This Morning ignored Cox and espionage altogether on Monday morning. The
interview segments in its prime 8am half hour: How over-muscled action
figures lead to "compulsive weight-lifting" and other male
health problems and a talk with soap star Susan Lucci.
Time magazine has no shame. The May 24 Time Daily feature story, the
MRC's Tim Graham noticed, impugns Republicans as McCarthyites for
blaming "fuzzy liberals," for the lack of proper reaction to the
national security losses, and for trying to make Janet Reno the
"Alger Hiss" of the "Who lost China?" campaign, though
Time conceded Democrat Robert Torricelli "joined the Republican
You have to read
it to believe it, so here is the story by Tony Karon from www.time.com:
Washington Braces for China Espionage
Where have you gone, Joe McCarthy, oh, a
nation turns its lonely eyes to you....Yes folks, Republican efforts to
warn Americans of the danger of fuzzy liberals in charge of the nation's
political system -- and its nuclear secrets -- are about to go into
overdrive. On Tuesday, Representative Christopher Cox plans to release the
report of his congressional inquiry, containing "grave"
revelations of Chinese nuclear espionage that "continues to this very
The Cox committee's star witness, former
Energy Department intelligence chief Notra Trulock, on Sunday warned that
this was the biggest thing since the Rosenbergs. And if the new "Who
lost China?" campaign is to have its own Alger Hiss, the prime
candidate appears to be Attorney General Janet Reno. Even liberal New
Jersey Democratic Senator Robert Torricelli Sunday joined the Republican
chorus calling for Reno's resignation, on charges that she failed to
authorize an FBI wiretap of Los Alamos scientist Wen Ho Lee, suspected of
passing nuclear secrets to Beijing.
"The question here is whether the FBI
presented the Justice Department with sufficient evidence to justify a
wiretap," says TIME Pentagon correspondent Mark Thompson. "If
Justice turned a blind eye for political reasons, then Reno should be
prosecuted. But rather than comparing it with the Rosenbergs, some people
are calling this nuclear espionage's Richard Jewell case -- asking why, if
Wen Ho Lee is so bad, we don't have enough to arrest the guy." Months
of leaks from the Cox committee's classified report alleging nuclear
negligence have prepared Washington to expect a damning indictment of the
Clinton administration's national security record, and anything less may
be an anticlimax.
Maybe we'd know
if Justice had sufficient evidence to pursue or not if Time pursued
reporting along that line instead of filing vindictive left-wing diatribes
This story is
posted online at: http://cgi.pathfinder.com/time/daily/0,2960,25436-101990524,00.html
You don't need much knowledge of network news to be a media reporter for
the Los Angeles Times, at least judging by a preposterous claim LA Times
media reporter Jane Hall passed along over the weekend.
Newswatch show on Saturday briefly discussed the MRC's March 16 New York
Times ad asking the networks to stop ignoring Chinagate. The ad listed a
dozen or so major revelations not touched by the broadcast network morning
or evening shows.
Referring to the
letter in the ad from the MRC Chairman, host Eric Burns asked Hall:
"What about the premise Jane of this being the result of a
conservative bias. By the way this letter had to do with the coverage on
the ABC, CBS and NBC half hour evening newscasts. The charge is it
hasn't been covered enough because there is in these three shows a bias
against conservatives points of view." [Actually, the ad referred to
both morning and evening shows on ABC, CBS and NBC.]
Hall answered: "I just don't think it's
valid. First of all, I called up a rival group that is non-partisan, the
Tyndall Report, which counts the minutes. One week in March when this
story broke it was on 62 minutes. It was the highest rated story of that
week. It's true I think because it's not a visual story that it's
not getting a ton of coverage but it has nothing to do with bias."
espionage got 62 minutes in one week that would average more than four
minutes per night (for three shows over five weekdays), an obviously
preposterous assertion that anyone familiar with recent network priorities
Last week FNC's
Bill O'Reilly cited Tyndall in saying the three network evening shows
aired 18 minutes of coverage when the espionage story broke in early
correct. Hall isn't even close.
On Monday the
CyberAlert investigative unit, that would be me, called Andrew Tyndall to
figure out what Hall could possibly be talking about. (Tyndall produces a
weekly report listing how much time the three broadcast network evening
shows spend on each topic Monday-Friday.) Tyndall informed me that teeing
off the MRC ad time frame which referred to how the China scandal started
with the missile transfer charge in March 1998, he had informed Hall that
Chinese espionage/getting U.S. secrets had received 62 minutes of coverage
from March 1998 through early May 1999.
Hall was so eager
to discredit the MRC's point that she passed off a number for 15 months
of coverage as what the story got in a week. I hope she hasn't done any
stories attacking Drudge or other Internet news sources for inaccuracies.
62 minutes over 15
months averages to about 20 seconds per week per network.
along another interesting number: In about a 15 month period in the early
1990s the Alrich Ames spy case generated 125 minutes of coverage, or about
twice the attention given to Chinese espionage.
To see the MRC's
ad, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nytimesad.html
To read the
MRC's Special Report, "All The News That's Fit to Skip: Network
Apathy Toward Chinese Contributions and Espionage," to which the ad
directs readers for more details, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/specialreports/news/sr19990514.html
Speaking of lack of coverage, the MRC's Media Reality Check fax report
by Tim Graham, which was distributed overnight last night, runs through
five examples of coverage patterns demonstrating how the networks have
avoided Chinagate. Here are some excerpts from the May 25 report titled
"Will The Networks Cover Today's Big Report on Chinese Espionage?
Past Pattern Sparks Skepticism: Will Chris Cox Get a Soap Box?"
-- 1. Fumbled First Report. The Cox
committee's first report on December 30, 1998, drew next to nothing on
the Big Three networks.
The first report noted the bipartisan
finding that national security was harmed when the American companies
Loral and Hughes Electronics gave the Chinese missile technology while
assisting in satellite launches. That night, ABC gave it 22 seconds, NBC
26. CBS did a full story, as did CNN and FNC. But only FNC noted Loral's
Chairman donated $100,000 to the Democrats just before his company
received a technology-transfer waiver.
2. Morning Malpractice. The network morning
shows have aired only two interviews on Chinese espionage in 1999.
NBC's Today interviewed Energy
Secretary Bill Richardson on March 9. ABC's Good Morning America
interviewed Richardson just yesterday. CBS's This Morning
hasn't done an interview. Yesterday its lead 8am interview asked whether
action-figure toys cause "compulsive weightlifting" and other
male maladies. None have questioned a Congressman or Senator probing
Chinese espionage. Tom Brokaw interviewed Cox on Friday's Nightly
News, but the MSNBC Web site transcript revealed they edited out
questions about what the President knew and whether Chinese donations are
linked to Chinese espionage.
3. Koppel Dawdles. Of 55 Nightlines
from March 6 (when The New York Times reported China's theft of
nuclear warhead technology) to May 21, Ted Koppel has only reported on
Chinese espionage once.
On March 12, Koppel threw cold water:
"There is probably plenty of incompetence and partisanship to go
around, but it is not quite as clear cut as it may seem." Since then,
ABC has aired 31 programs on Kosovo, and explored some less explosive
topics: autism, genetic testing in Iceland, and the oldest guitar
manufacturer in America.
4. Lazy on Lies. TV morning and evening
shows have mostly avoided the President's lie about what he knew and
when he knew it about espionage on his watch....
5. Chung-Free Channels. Several network
shows have still said nothing to the public about Johnny Chung's claim
that the head of Chinese military intelligence gave him $300,000 to give
to Bill Clinton and the Democrats.
Despite Chung's May 11 congressional
testimony, CBS Evening News, MSNBC's The News with Brian
Williams, ABC's Good Morning America, and NBC's Today
have yet to touch Chung's $300,000 story....
the Media Reality Check fax report will be posted on the MRC home page: http://www.mediaresearch.org
Nina Totenberg can't handle the truth if it detracts from Hillary
Clinton's image as an independent feminist who hasn't depended on a
In a discussion of
the New York Senate race on Inside Washington over the weekend columnist
Charles Krauthammer pointed out how Nita Lowey, the Congresswoman who will
run for the Democratic nomination if Hillary gets out of the way, is a
"What's interesting, I think it was
Richard Cohen who pointed this out in a column, I mean she is the
proto-typical feminist. She built her career from the ground up. Her
husband is a guy called Steve. You haven't heard about him and she
didn't build her career on his back."
An enraged Nina Totenberg of NPR blurted out:
"Shame on you!"
Krauthammer observed: "I'm simply stating
a historic fact."
Totenberg repeated herself: "Shame on you
Totenberg puts liberal icons ahead of accepting
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