"It Only Takes One" Missile; "NBC News Hosed Me" A Talk Show Host Asserted
1) ABC, CBS and NBC
stuck to airline prices and health news on Tuesday night, but FNC outlined
how China obtained "better bombs through espionage, better missiles
through illicit commerce" and though the Chinese arsenal is small,
"it only takes one" missile.
2) CNN's Howard
Kurtz used a magazine's "Red Scare" cover to illustrate how
another media outlet agreed the threat from China had been exaggerated,
but actually the magazine found: "The Cox Report is out, and it is
3) In contrast to
CNN, FNC Fox Newswatch found that "on television Chinagate has not
been covered very much." And a FNC panelist admitted her error in
using false numbers to undercut the MRC.
4) "NBC News
hosed me," Boston talk radio host Howie Carr asserted in recalling
how 28 of 32 callers took a pro-gun view but NBC aired a clip of just one
favoring gun control. "Juanita Broaddrick notwithstanding, NBC stands
for Nothing But Clinton."
The broadcast networks couldn't agree on a lead story for Tuesday night,
but they all agreed to ignore China. NBC Nightly News hasn't touched
China since last Tuesday, ABC's World News Tonight since last Wednesday
and the CBS Evening News since last Thursday. The morning shows have all
skipped it since the morning after the release of the Cox Report.
night, June 1, FNC Fox Report did feature a lengthy review by Carl Cameron
of China's espionage efforts. Cameron warned: "Chinese weapons have
dramatically improved because of what has been obtained illegally and
their sophistication has been enhanced by what the Clinton administration
has allowed China to buy legally."
He explained how Loral and Hughes improved
Chinese rockets used to launch satellites, cautioning: "That's a
problem because the rockets China uses to launch satellites are
effectively identical to the missiles they use to launch nuclear weapons.
Better bombs through espionage, better missiles through illicit
After noting how Cox found China was using some
of the 600 high performance computers, which the Clinton administration
approved for export, for weapons design, Cameron reminded viewers of the
political donations funneled from China, and specifically of the
activities of John Huang: "He had secret security clearance when he
worked at the Commerce Department and though he was not supposed to have
anything to do with China, he regularly sent packages and faxes to China
from an office in downtown Washington that he went out of his way to keep
Huang, as well as Johnny Chung and Charlie Trie,
Cameron noted, all lobbied for the relaxation of export controls and
Clinton did transfer authority for export approval from the State
Department to the more business-promoting Commerce Department.
"The threat from China is a matter of
debate. For now they're only testing nuclear weapons based on the most
sophisticated stolen U.S. technology and the Chinese arsenal is far
smaller than that of the United States, though nuclear weapons analysts
point out it only takes one."
a far more sobering assessment than delivered last Thursday by CBS News
reporter Eric Engberg who dismissively concluded his story on how the Cox
Report overstated the threat:
"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."
on Engberg's piece or to see it via RealPlayer, go to the May 28
Tuesday, June 1, ABC's World News Tonight led with a possible end to the
Kosovo war as the President of Finland is going to Belgrade. ABC also
featured a look at rising airfares and how businesses in Detroit and Des
Moines are making airline competition possible by guaranteeing business to
two new start-up airlines, Pro Air in Detroit and Access Air in Des
Evening News began with Clinton's attack on video games. Later stories
included a health alert for the drug used by Mark McGwire, how Merrill
Lynch is finally getting around to going online, a profile of a lawyer who
gets those falsely imprisoned out of prison by proving how prosecutors
withheld evidence and the show ended with a story about how the casket
John Kennedy traveled in from Dallas to Bethesda was later dumped into the
Atlantic Ocean off Delaware.
Nightly News opened with a breakthrough in organ transplants -- the
possibility of overcoming rejection by using genetically engineered cells
to change cells so they accept the foreign body part. NBC's second
story: a new anti-heart attack drug. The In Depth segment focused on
rising airfares and the dangers of buying tickets via Internet sites.
Howard Kurtz's false scare about the "Red Scare"? As outlined
in the June 1 CyberAlert, the May 29 CNN Reliable Sources assumed the Cox
Report was overplayed by the media. Host Howard Kurtz of the Washington
Post plugged the segment: "When we come back, the Chinese spy
scandal. Has the press been spoon-fed by congressional
investigators?" After the ad break, Kurtz introduced the segment
while holding up the cover of a magazine, seemingly to illustrate his
point about how another media outlet agreed with his take that the threat
from China had been exaggerated by the report the media supposedly bought
into: "We turn now to what one magazine, National Journal, calls
'The Red Scare.'"
National Journal's headline trying to convey a cynical assessment of
Cox's report, implying that his conclusions were exaggerated? "Red
Scare" is the kind of language used by anti-anti-communists to
ridicule the concerns of conservatives. Well, that is the headline for the
May 29 edition of National Journal, but when I received my copy in the
mail I noticed that the magazine's point was the opposite of that
implied. Under the headline "Red Scare" and a photo of a missile
being launched, the magazine's cover states:
"Finally, the Cox Report is out, and it is frightening. Over 25
years, the People's Republic of China stole many of America's most
precious nuclear secrets, and leapfrogged a generation in bomb know-how.
What China got, why U.S. security failed, and how everything has changed
-- from U.S.-China relations to the 2000 elections. A Special
more about the Reliable Sources discussion, to see an image of Kurtz
holding up the National Journal cover or to play a clip of Reliable
Sources via RealPlayer, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990601.html#1
FNC's opposite assessment and Jane Hall concedes her error. "So
have the media been used to prolong, perhaps even hype the story?"
asked Howard Kurtz on CNN's Reliable Sources first aired at 6:30pm ET on
Saturday. On FNC's Fox Newswatch aired a half hour later viewers heard
an opposing assessment as host Eric Burns asked his panel:
"We have agreed on this program, that at
least on television, Chinagate has not been covered very much. Jane, might
the release of the Cox Report be a turning point? Is this story going to
get the kind of coverage that at least we here all think it should have
gotten all along?"
Hall, a former Los Angeles Times reporter and current American University
professor, answered: "Well, you know, I don't think there's
enough evidence that's the case. ABC led with it when it came out, but
the other networks did not. You know on last week's program I said, I
misstated the number of minutes this story has gotten. Since it broke, 62.
One week when it was big in March it got 18 minutes and was the highest
rated. But frankly, they haven't really devoted the time that you might
expect to the story."
Hall deserves credit for correcting her error, a rare event on television
news. As reported in the May 25 CyberAlert, in contradicting the premise
of a MRC-bought New York Times ad which listed many of the newspaper
disclosures that the networks ignored, Hall asserted that the MRC's
premise about how the story had been underplayed was off base. On the May
22 Fox Newswatch she insisted: "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."
as Hall was alluding to in her correction, Tyndall counted 62 minutes of
coverage on the weekday editions of the three broadcast network evening
shows from the Spring of 1998 through early May 1999. The week of March
8-12, 1999, immediately after the New York Times revealed the espionage,
generated 18 minutes of attention.
the MRC's ad, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nytimesad.html
"For reports like this, Peacock ought to be shot" announced the
headline over a May 30 Boston Herald column by Howie Carr about a biased
story run last week on NBC Nightly News. "NBC News hosed me. Talk
about the Fleecing of America, and it was NBC doing the shearing,"
Carr began his column which former MRC analyst Eric Darbe brought to my
referring to a May 25 story on how Americans are turning against guns
which, as the May 26 CyberAlert noted, ran before NBC's piece on the Cox
Report. To illustrate how suburban women are turning against guns, NBC's
Lisa Myers played a soundbite from a caller to Carr's WRKO radio talk
show, but as Carr noted, 28 of 32 callers took the opposite point of view
and so were ignored by NBC.
26 CyberAlert recounted what Myers reported: "Since the massacre at
Columbine High School the gun control debate has shifted dramatically and
become almost impossible to escape. A usually friendly talk show host
takes on a supporter of the gun lobby."
Rosie O'Donnell on her show last week : "I
don't think it's in the Constitution to have assault weapons in the
Tom Selleck on same show: "I didn't come
on your show to have a debate. I came on your show to plug a movie."
Myers: "Even some gun owners are having
second thoughts. Recently actress Sharon Stone turned over her shotgun and
three handguns to police, saying 'our children are in danger. I choose
to surrender my right to bear arms.' Pollsters say public opinion has
shifted dramatically, that large majorities now favor moderate
restrictions on guns."
Linda DiVall, GOP pollster: "I think where
the ground is shifting is primarily in suburban America and with those
people who have not owned guns."
Myers: "Suburban women in particular have
changed their minds. One who owns guns called a Boston radio show."
Caller to a radio talk show: "I think this
is entirely reasonable and neither my husband nor I are impacted in any
bad way from this."
the Myers piece via RealPlayer, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990526.html#2
Now to a
reprint of Carr's entertaining review of how he was "hosed" by
NBC News, picking up after the first sentence listed above:
Yeah, I should have known better.
But hell, it wasn't CNN -- the Clinton News Network. And Bryant Gumbel has
crossed the street. But the sad reality is that, Juanita Broaddrick
notwithstanding, NBC stands for Nothing But Clinton.
And when it was all over, Tom
Brokaw didn't even say, "You'd better put some ice on that."
Here's what happened. At the
Peacock's behest Tuesday, I devoted the first hour of my radio show to
that most tired of topics, gun control.
They were looking, they said, for
a soundbite of someone saying he'd changed his or her (preferably female)
mind on gun control since Littleton.
So I took 32 calls, at least 28
of which were anti-gun control. Most of the callers said, yeah, they'd
changed their minds, specifically, in that they'd gotten a lot more PO'd
about being scapegoated by fools like Spike Lee, not to mention the usual
Clinton apologists who, when they're not denouncing the NRA as a threat to
Western civilization, are cheering the use of cluster bombs against
civilians in the Balkans and bellowing "McCarthyism" at anyone
who mentions the illegal Chinese cash that was being funneled into
To recap -- 28 of my 32 callers
did not say the Politically Correct thing NBC was looking for, but four
Can you guess which quote Lisa
Myers -- or her producer -- used in her package that evening on NBC
Now I understand that when you
allow a camera crew into your life, you run certain risks. And yes, when I
was in local TV news, I sent people out and I told them what sound bites I
needed. But if the sentiment is running 7-1 against the conventional
wisdom, don't you need to at least mention that fact in your story?
In retrospect, I should have
suspected a setup when NBC called about gun control on the day the Cox
Report came out.
My first instinct was to tell
them to find some other chump. I've been down this road before. They don't
get what they want, so you get left on the cutting-room floor. One time,
after Oklahoma City, they came in and backlit the studio so I looked as
demented as Eric Bogosian in Talk Radio. But after 15 minutes in which
nobody quoted from Mein Kampf, they got discouraged and left.
So, I figured, I can handle NBC.
Boy, was I naive.
The first tip-off came when the
crew stayed the whole hour. Obviously, they'd left a hole in Myers' piece
for a five-second sound bite that would conform to the spin they'd already
decided on, facts be damned.
After a "hard" news
piece it was time for Lisa Myers' sidebar. Deep thinkers Rosie O'Donnell
and Sharon Stone flickered across the screen. Then a GOP pollster, citing
no polls, mentioned the changes in "suburban America."
Myers: "Suburban women in
particular have changed their minds. One who owns guns called a Boston
How does Lisa Myers know this
woman is from the suburbs? I never asked the caller, and she never told
"I think," said the
caller, "this is entirely reasonable and neither my husband nor I are
impacted in any bad way from this."
Oh well, it's over now. And I did
learn a lesson. Nowadays NBC is no different from those tabloid TV shows.
I still have to do business with
these guys at some level. Although, come to think of it, I haven't been on
MSNBC in two months. Not since the night I reminded Brian Williams of the
old Abraham Lincoln brigades of pinko American volunteers in the Spanish
Civil War. Maybe, I said, if all of the Beautiful People in Hollywood,
Wall Street and Martha's Vineyard believe so fervently in bombing Serbian
hospitals and refugee convoys, they ought to enlist to fight in Kosovo.
They could call themselves the
Bill Clinton Brigade.
Brian Williams laughed nervously,
I vanished, and it's been sayo-bleeping-nara ever since.
Payback is a bitch. But I already
read this column online at: http://www.bostonherald.com/bostonherald/colm/carr05301999.htm
columns are posted three days a week at: http://www.bostonherald.com
Lesson: Never trust the media, especially when
they are just looking for a quote or soundbite to fill a slot. They can
even fool an experienced and media-savvy guy like Carr. --
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