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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Friday May 28, 1999 (Vol. Four; No. 94)

FNC: Spy Scandal "Getting More Serious"; CBS: It's No Big Deal

1) CNN and FNC noted how Carter condemned Clinton, but not ABC, CBS or NBC. No Chinagate on ABC or NBC. CBS made time for 20 anti-police protestors. An anti-gun control parent got a soundbite.

2) FNC: "The China nuclear spy scandal just keeps on getting more serious." Carl Cameron revealed an investigation of spying at two more labs under Clinton and an FBI official says to Reno: "Bull."

3) "Many of the [Cox] report's scary findings are open to question," insisted CBS News reporter Eric Engberg in a "Reality Check" he ended by scoffing at how China only has a few missiles.

4) MSNBC's Brian Williams relayed: "This is only gonna matter if God forbid, there is one very dark day that sees the use, the all out use of thermonuclear weapons on this planet and so why worry?"

5) Fred Barnes pointed out how Dan Rather was "slobbering all over Hillary Clinton" which demonstrates "liberal bias in the press.... what if it had been the wife of some Republican President?"

6) Geraldo Rivera: "Starr finally revealed to be the zealot that I believe him to be," declared Rivera who claimed Starr is a "legal terrorist" who "has perverted the judicial system."

7) In an A&E special Friday on Kosovo, Harry Smith told Today, a refugee proclaims: "America is God, Bill Clinton is our savior."

     >>> May 31 edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media, is now online thanks to the MRC's Kristina Sewell and Sean Henry. Quote headings include "Spinning Away the Cox Report," "A Little Media Help on Gun Laws," "The Today Gephardt Playbook," "Rubin: Greatest Since Hamilton," "China Channels Hillary," "Hillary's Dignity, or Dependency?" and "Larry King's Disarming Deity." To read the issue go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/1999/nq19990531.html <<<

     >>> Read about and watch CNN's story on "Unintended Consequences: With Ratings System in Place, TV More Offensive Than Ever," a Special Report from the MRC's Parents Television Council released on Wednesday. CNN has posted a story about it with a link to the study as well as video of CNN reporter Jeanne Meserve's story on it which you can play via either RealPlayer or Windows Media Player. Go to: http://www.cnn.com/US/9905/27/tv.ratings/ <<<


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) In a New York Times op-ed former President Jimmy Carter, a fellow Democrat, denounced Clinton's Kosovo policy, but only FNC and CNN noticed. Not a word about it Thursday night on ABC, CBS or NBC though all featured at least two stories on the implications of the indictment of Milosevic on war crimes.

     On FNC's Fox Report Wendell Goler relayed how "Former President Carter called President Clinton's Kosovo policy flawed in a separate editorial, saying 'our destruction of civilian life has now become senseless and excessively brutal.' Mr. Clinton's aides won't criticize the former President though some are frustrated by his lack of support..."

     Over on CNN's The World Today David Ensor noted: "President Clinton is also facing criticism of the alliance air campaign from one of his predecessors."
     Carter on Larry King Live: "We need to explore other ways to get the Kosovars back home, safe and protected and I don't think that destroying the entire nation of Yugoslavia, including Kosovo, is the best way to do it."

     ABC and NBC also ignored any and all developments on the Chinese espionage front. Instead, ABC provided a hurricane season preview, a look at a new topographic map of Mars, the NASDAQ vote for night trading and "A Closer Look" at how corporate recruiting of college graduates is dissuading many from going to grad school and a study showing that the economic boom is now benefitting young black men without college degrees. NBC also previewed the hurricane season and offered a "LifeLine" piece on a study about how going to the closest hospital is not always the best choice when having a heart attack since hospitals with a higher volume have a better survival record.

     The CBS Evening News and CNN's The World Today ran short items on how the Senate passed some new security measures. CNN reported that Attorney General Janet Reno said she agreed with the decision by people below her to reject the FBI's wiretap request for Wen Ho Lee while CBS anchor Bob Schieffer told viewers that Reno blamed her aides for not letting her in on debate about whether to approve the wiretap request. CNN added a story about how Chinese-Americans are concerned about a public backlash against them.

     Fox News Channel watchers were informed that "the China nuclear spy scandal just keeps on getting more serious" as the intrepid Carl Cameron revealed investigations of spying during the Clinton years at two more nuclear labs, how an FBI official denounced Reno's attempt to blame FBI Director Louie Freeh over the wiretap rejection and that 80 House members called for Sandy Berger to be fired. (See item #2 for details.) In contrast, CBS Evening News viewers were treated to an Eric Engberg piece on how "Many of the [Cox] report's scary findings are open to question." (See item #3 for details.)

     Back to what else the networks covered Thursday night, May 27:

     -- Coincidence of interest in an unused airport. CNN's The World Today, FNC's Fox Report and NBC Nightly News all decided to run stories about the waste of federal taxpayer money to build Mid-America Airport in Mascoutah, Illinois, (near St. Louis) which opened in November 1997 but remains unused with no airlines serving it.

     -- Anti-gun control Columbine parent. CBS, CNN and NBC featured a soundbite of Darrell Scott telling a congressional committee more gun control won't solve anything. In a story about the House Democrats blasting Republicans for recessing without passing more gun laws, reporter Wyatt Andrews observed: "But at this House subcommittee today, the father of Columbine victim Rachel Scott said the Democrats missed the point."
     Darrell Scott: "Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by more gun laws or metal detectors. No amount of laws can stop someone who spends months of planning this type of massacre."

     Tom Brokaw introduced NBC's In Depth segment with a bite from Scott: "Finding fault for the Colorado school shooting and a new battle over who's responsible. In Congress today Darrell Scott, whose daughter Rachel was killed, said only the shooters were to blame and more gun laws, he said, would not have stopped such a well planned massacre."

     -- It still takes only a few more leftists protesting than would fill a phone booth to generate a network story. CBS ran a full report from Sandra Hughes on an anti-police brutality protest in Los Angeles consisting of a group of, maybe, 20 from what the camera showed. One sign proclaimed: "Stop Police Brutality." At the bottom it gave credit: "Socialist Workers Party." Hughes hit Clinton from the left: "Crime is down nationally and many credit that to President Clinton's efforts to put 100,000 new police offers on the streets. But some say their inexperience can have fatal consequences." The "some" being the ACLU. She allowed a FOP official to disagree, but if Clinton didn't put 100,000 cops on the street, which he did not, how could his "efforts" be blamed for 100,000 more cops are doing when they really don't exist?


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) Fox Report anchor Paula Zahn announced Thursday night: "The China nuclear spy scandal just keeps on getting more serious. Fox News has exclusive new information about two more investigations into stolen secrets."

     Carl Cameron outlined his exclusive:
     "FBI counter-intelligence sources have told Fox News about two more previously undisclosed open investigations into Chinese nuclear espionage at the national labs during the Clinton administration. Sources say both the Argonne National Labs in Illinois and Idaho and the Sandia National Lab in New Mexico have been compromised and that both weapons secrets and detonation technology have been passed to China since 1993."

     Cameron proceeded to report a development skipped by the other networks, how 80 House members led by Republicans Clifford Stearns and J.D. Hayworth demanded the resignation of National Security Adviser Sandy Berger for not properly informing Clinton of espionage. They also want Reno to go for rejecting wiretap request for Wen Ho Lee, Cameron added in leading into the dispute over the wiretap:
     "Reno suggested the ball was dropped by FBI Director Louie Freeh for not consulting her directly."
     Reno at her daily media briefing: "I think that in all of these matters where there's something serious, where there's a disagreement, where Director Freeh disagrees with the findings, I think it should be discussed at my level."
     Cameron: "At the FBI a furious counter-intelligence source accused Reno of scapegoating Freeh unfairly, saying quote: 'Bull, we appealed the Justice rejection three times' unquote."

     Cameron's piece appeared an hour earlier on Special Report with Brit Hume, but in reverse order with Berger/Reno first followed by the news of the Argonne and Sandia spying.


engberg0528.JPG (15289 bytes)cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) After spending the year largely ignoring revelations about Chinese espionage and running its Tuesday night story on the Cox Report second to a gun control report, then ignoring Cox on Wednesday, on Thursday night CBS delivered a hit piece. Instead of exploring all the many facets and angles the show has yet to cover, CBS decided to give air time to a "Reality Check" piece by Eric Engberg to undermine the Cox Report's credibility, an approach matching the White House spin about how the espionage is really not that big of a deal.

     Back on April 8 when the New York Times ran a leak from the Cox Report about how China had obtained neutron bomb knowledge, the CBS Evening News ignored the disclosure. But Thursday night Engberg happily picked up on the supposed lack of proof.

     Engberg began: "As the release of the Cox Report again demonstrated Washington's love of a good spy story, the consensus gelled: Chinese agents have stolen something. But after that many of the report's scary findings are open to question.
     "Were actual weapons plans among the purloined secrets? The report takes the worst case view: Probably. But a blue ribbon panel of outside experts advising the CIA looked at the same question and decided there is just no way to know. The same group concluded the Chinese spying 'has not resulted in any apparent modernization of their deployed strategic force or any new nuclear weapons deployment.'
     Norman Dicks: "We lost something here. They may take advantage of it. They haven't done it yet."
     Engberg: "Did the Chinese steal the key to building a neutron bomb? Cox talks darkly about a theft, but like all the spy talk it's pretty murky."
     Chris Cox: "The people who did this have not been apprehended. We know we're having a great deal of difficulty finding suspects. We don't even have any real open cases."
     Engberg dismissively concluded:
     "The Cox Report says China uncovered the secrets of seven U.S. nuclear warheads, but the intelligence evidence is unclear. It may be as low as four, two of which are obsolete. Amidst all the voices raised in alarm there is a bottom line: Unlike many of the things in the Cox Report there's no argument here. Number of strategic nuclear weapons? U.S.: six thousand, China: less than two dozen."

     How many millions could a dozen well-targeted nuclear missiles kill? Just because they don't have more now doesn't mean they won't in the future to say nothing of two real dangers Engberg ignored: China passing on nuclear weapons know-how to a few rogue nations. Would Saddam Hussein with three intercontinental nuclear missiles not worry Engberg? And even if China is well out-numbered missile wise they can still use what they have to threaten the U.S. If China moves in on Taiwan and tells the U.S. President they will lob four missiles at Los Angeles and two at Seattle if the U.S. comes to Taiwan's aide will a President risk it just because we could nuke every Chinese city?

     +++ Watch CBS undercut the Cox Report. Friday morning the MRC's Sean Henry and Kristina Sewell will post a clip in RealPlayer format of Engberg's story. Go to: http://www.mrc.org


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) None of this matters anyway because until we use them they don't matter. Here's a gem of brilliant reasoning caught by MRC analyst Mark Drake in a question from MSNBC anchor Brian Williams on his show The News with Brian Williams Tuesday night, May 25, to House Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Porter Goss:
     "Congressman, I heard someone ask rhetorically today that 'Look. This is only gonna matter if God forbid, there is one very dark day that sees the use, the all out use of thermonuclear weapons on this planet and so why worry?'"

     Why bother having a military since until you have a war it doesn't matter.


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) Dan Rather's liberal bias. The Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes picked up on the May 27 CyberAlert item detailing how "Dan Rather slobbered all over Hillary Clinton" in his Wednesday night 60 Minutes II interview. On Thursday's Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC Barnes remarked:
     "Dan Rather didn't exactly live down his tough guy image there. I mean here he is slobbering all over Hillary Clinton. And I always wonder again, people think that I harp on this liberal bias in the press, but what if it had been the wife of some Republican President who was going to carpet bag in some state and run for the Senate. I think the national press corps would be on the warpath."

     Indeed, and no one harps more about liberal bias than the MRC so we are always glad to have company.

     CBS News has now posted a semi-complete transcript of the 60 Minutes II interview -- it's of the interview and does not include many of he intros and segues from Rather quoted in the Thursday CyberAlert. For the CBS transcript, go to: http://www.cbs.com/flat/story_156516.html

     To read the CyberAlert analysis of the interview and to play a RealPlayer clip of it, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990527.html#4


cyberno6.gif (1129 bytes) Remember Geraldo Rivera. It's been a while since CyberAlert quoted the sometime NBC News reporter and constant CNBC host, but Ken Starr's decision earlier this week to not re-try McDougal and Steele brought out his hatred and vitriol. "Starr finally revealed to be the zealot that I believe him to be," declared Rivera who claimed Starr is a "legal terrorist" who "has perverted the judicial system." MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens caught some of his rhetoric announced on CNBC's Rivera Live on May 25. Rivera started by connecting the police officer in New York City, who admitted sodomizing Abner Louima, with Starr:

     -- "But aside from wretched Officer Volpe, guess who else chickened out today? None other than Ken Starr. That's right the wild man of Whitewater is finally being washed, washed, washed right out of our hair. The special prosecutor today telling federal judges who presided over the Susan McDougal and Julie Hiatt Steele cases that he will not, repeat, not retry those two tortured targets of his relentless crusade to get the President. We'll have much more on Starr's long, overdue recognition of real life later in the program."

     -- "A bit later, Starr finally surrenders. I'll tell you that and try to restrain my glee."

     -- "If Susan McDougal and Julie Hiatt Steele were happy at the end of their respective trials which both ended at least in part with deadlock juries they must be ecstatic today at the news from Washington. Their longtime nemesis, the legal terrorist who has haunted them for years today waived the white flag, threw in the towel, came out with his arms raised, squealed, 'No mas, no mas, no mas!' Ken Starr informing the federal judges who oversaw the McDougal and Steele cases that he would not, repeat not retry either of the two women who he had accused of obstructing his investigation of the President. The special prosecutor said, 'Retrials raise important questions of resource allocation...the jury's inability to reach a unanimous verdict is a reality that we have taken seriously.'
     "Resource allocation? Doesn't that make you sick? The announcement brought the special prosecutor a lot closer to winding up his endless, flawed, ultimately failed probe into Bill Clinton's sex life. An inquiry that cost more than $40 million tax dollars, produced the first impeachment ever of an elected U.S. President, strictly along partisan lines. But despite Mr. Starr's attention to resource allocation the self-righteous, independent counsel must have finally realized that this country voicing its opinion through the Steele and McDougal juries was simply fed up. Wouldn't stand for any more of his inquisition. All that's left on his plate now two trials involving that poor guy, another witness he's accused of being uncooperative. The presidential friend, the big old sap, former Justice Department official Web Hubbell."

     -- "Why didn't this guy see the obvious? Isn't it all very clear to everyone with eyeballs that this man has perverted the judicial system, he bent it to his own political will, and he's been stung big time by it."

     -- "But when we talk about hyperbole, Julian Epstein, I think of all those stories about how big Whitewater was, how potent Whitewater was, how Whitewater was really going to bring the Clintons economic corruption crashing down around their ears. And then it was the sex and it went on and it went on and it went on and now is Starr finally revealed to be the zealot that I believe him to be."

     -- "A legal terrorist. Ken Starr is a legal terrorist."


cyberno7.gif (1643 bytes) Bill Clinton as "savior"? Thursday morning Today brought aboard Harry Smith, a former CBS News reporter and host of This Morning who used his CBS platforms to espouse his liberal views, to plug his Friday night A&E special, Human Tragedy: The Faces of Kosovo. The show airs May 28 at 9pm and 1am ET. Smith left CBS earlier this year to become host of A&E's Biography series.

     Smith told Today co-host Matt Lauer how his trip to Kosovo impacted him: "I've seen a lot of horrible things over the last 20 years. I've been in war situations, I've seen men blown to bits, I've seen people die. And it wasn't until I came back and about two days ago I was sitting an edit room and I just started weeping uncontrollably and I came home a couple of nights ago and I turned to my wife and said, 'I don't know if anything like this has ever happened to me.' It shakes you, it really, it changes you."

     MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens picked up on this final exchange. Matt Lauer: "Real quickly. Do you think these people have an idea that they are not being forgotten. Do they understand the scope of the attention to this situation?"
     Harry Smith: "You would be amazed at how much they thank America. How much, one guy turns to us, he says, 'America is God, Bill Clinton is our savior.'"

     I think that guy will soon be very disappointed when his "savior" Clinton follows polling numbers and abandons him in order to make sure the war does not hurt Gore's campaign. -- Brent Baker


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