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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Monday June 7, 1999 (Vol. Four; No. 100)

"Hysteria" Over a "Red Menace"; NY Editor to Hillary: Run

1) CBS: Confused Broadcasting System? Sunday night 60 Minutes maintained spying and export deals helped China "upgrade their military capability across the board." Ten days ago CBS Evening News insisted it "has not resulted in any apparent modernization."

2) Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, insisting "there is no evidence they are building anything," claimed the Cox Report endeavored to build "hysteria" in order "to try to create a new Red menace."

3) More on the Friday GMA in which the Washington Post reported Clinton became "irate" at Charlie Gibson who pushed an anti-gun line: "Japan has maybe more violent video games...and yet a handful of killings every year by guns. The difference is guns."

4) Urging her to run, "Hillary, Make the Feminists Proud," the ME of the Buffalo News declared: "She is an extraordinarily smart, capable politician -- one of her generation's best."

5) Tom Brokaw praised Lanny "The Liar" Davis's book, enthusing how he "has written a book that should be required reading for all Washington officials and journalists alike."

     >>> Video Proof of Dan Rather's Bias: 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. In his infamous January 25, 1988 CBS Evening News interview an aggressive 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." 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 view representative clips of each interview, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/rathervideos.html <<<


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) Which way is it at CBS News? Have spying and export deals helped the Chinese develop a "new generation of nuclear weapons" and "upgrade their military capability across the board" -- or are "many of the [Cox] report's scary findings...open to question" since China's technology acquisition "has not resulted in any apparent modernization of their deployed strategic force or any new nuclear weapons deployment"?

     Depends which day you watch CBS News. And what show you watch.

     Sunday night, June 6, 60 Minutes replayed a story from last year about how technology transfer waivers allowed China to obtain high-end computers capable of helping them develop better missiles and fighter planes. Here's what Steve Kroft told viewers in his fresh introduction:
     "A few weeks ago a congressional select committee concluded that China is using secrets pilfered from U.S. government labs to development a new generation of nuclear weapons. But as we reported last year, it's not just a question of what the Chinese may have stolen, but what the United States government gave them. In the past six years the Clinton administration has gone to unprecedented lengths to make it easy for the Chinese to get their hands on vital technology that's probably helped them upgrade their military capability across the board."

     Compare the thrust of that to Eric Engberg's attempt on the May 27 CBS Evening News to dismiss the relevance of what China has obtained:
     "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.'....
     "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."


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) Newsweek's Eleanor Clift agrees with Engberg. Catching up on the Memorial Day weekend edition of the McLaughlin Group, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens caught how she discounted the relevance of the Cox Report by forwarding the same White House spin as did Engberg about how few missiles China has, complaining that "the rollout to this rivaled The Phantom Menace, with Chris Cox in the role of Luke Skywalker" and that all the "hysteria" was meant "to try to create a new Red menace." She also denigrated as "ridiculous" retired General Norman Schwarzkopf's charge that Clinton lacks the character to lead a war.

     -- "First of all, the answer to your question of how much damage will it do, not as much as the Republicans hope. The rollout to this rivaled The Phantom Menace, with Chris Cox in the role of Luke Skywalker. But the facts don't bear up. First of all, this notion of Richard Shelby yelling for Janet Reno's head -- you know, Sandy Berger was briefed. So was Richard Shelby, I believe, in 1997. The intelligence committees on the Hill got the same briefing Sandy Berger did -- the same chart, same slides. If he should resign, so should they."

     -- "China has 18 nuclear missiles; we have 24 Trident submarines, each with 24 tubes and eight more heads on it....There is no evidence they are building anything; they are deploying anything. It will take them at least 10 years to do anything. This hysteria to try to create a new Red menace."

     (As for "no evidence," the June 4 CyberAlert noted how FNC's Carl Cameron reported on June 3 that China is preparing to test two nuclear missile systems with designs very similar to their U.S. counterparts. For details, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990604.html#2)

     -- John McLaughlin: "But let me get this other quote in there, since I mentioned it in the tease at the top, and that is what General Norman Schwarzkopf had to say about President Clinton. This is the wire report: 'Gulf War commander General Norman Schwarzkopf gave a speech in Australia before 5,000 and denounced U.S. President Bill Clinton, declaring that President Clinton did not have the right character to be a leader. 'Character is the single most important ingredient of leadership. Proper leadership would have prevented the wars in Kosovo and Somalia.' What do you think of Norman Schwarzkopf saying that, Eleanor?"
     Clift: "Well, if he wants to volunteer for service again, he's welcome. Otherwise, I think that's a ridiculous charge to make."

     The networks didn't pick up on Schwarzkopf's assessment, not even NBC which has a contract with him for occasional stories for the NBC Nightly News.


gibson0604.jpg (10450 bytes)cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) An "irate" President Clinton "hotly defended his record on gun control" and "angrily rejected the notion that he has not fought hard enough to curb gun violence," The Washington Post recounted in a June 5 front page story about Clinton's Friday interview on Good Morning America. Post reporter Charles Babington noted how "the President grew especially testy when Gibson quoted an unnamed person as saying the President had 'meowed' when he 'had a chance to roar on gun control.'" Answering the question, Clinton started "pounding his fist into his palm."

     Sounds pretty exciting. And you can watch, on the MRC home page, this portion of the interview during which Clinton became so angry. It's now posted on the MRC home page, in RealPlayer format, where we put it up Friday to illustrate Gibson's questioning tilt.

     A special extra edition of CyberAlert distributed Friday afternoon demonstrated how Charlie Gibson hit Clinton from the left, arguing he has not done all he could to implement more gun control and lamenting how the NRA has been allowed to set the agenda. To read this special edition, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990604a.html

     The Clinton one-on-one consumed most of the 7am ET half hour. From 7:30 to 8:15am Bill and Hillary talked live, uninterrupted for ads, with about 40 high school students. MRC analyst Jessica Anderson observed that the pro-gun control tilt of the show titled, "Kids & Guns: Is There a Solution?" didn't end with Gibson's interview. During the session with the students he and co-host Diane Sawyer asked exactly two conservative agenda questions but otherwise pushed blame-the-guns notions.

     -- Sawyer: "Mr. President, if I could ask you, members of gun organizations say that the ability is there to do something about kids. Six thousand kids in the last two years in schools found to have guns, but in fact, only 13 were prosecuted for it. Do you think there should be more prosecutions, and do you agree?"
     Clinton: "Well, I don't know. You know, I don't think that all those kids, the reason they know that, and the only reason they know that is that since I've been President, we instituted a zero tolerance for guns in schools, so the kids were sent home if they had the guns. Now it's up to the local prosecutors to decide whether to prosecute them, but you should know that the general argument that prosecutions are down is simply not true. In, federal prosecutions are up by 30 percent of serious crimes, and overall gun prosecutions, state and federal, are up, and gun-related crimes are down...."

     -- After that question off the NRA agenda, Gibson soon read off the Handgun Control Inc. tip sheet: "Other countries, you know, Japan has maybe more violent video games than we do, more violent videos, and yet a handful of killings every year by guns. The difference is guns."

     -- For a few seconds Sawyer did later take the focus off guns: "Mr. President, I've heard people there is some one thing that people in government and people in politics can do. They can say, we will not take contributions, political contributions from anybody who is head of a company that puts out a violent movie, a movie that has a lot of shootings in it, we will not take contributions from companies that purvey violent video games, we'll just stop tomorrow. Willing to do it?"
     Clinton: "Well, would it have an impact? I don't think so because that would increase the relative influence of other people's contributions...."

     -- But soon enough she was back to the evils of guns, suggesting an Orwellian informer idea as she asked the students: "I've heard of one proposal that schools should be told in advance which homes have guns, so if they spot a troubled kid, they know that he's in a home that has a gun. What do you think about that? How would your parents feel about that?"


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) We keep hearing about how the "tough" New York press will tear apart Hillary Clinton. Don't be so sure, at least judging by a Sunday "Outlook" section piece in the Washington Post by Margaret Sullivan, the Managing Editor of the Buffalo News, headlined, "A First Lady's Place is in the Senate." The headline on the jump page: "Hillary, Make the Feminists Proud."

     I realize by "New York press" pundits are referring to the New York City media, but I bet there are more than a few Sullivan-types in New York City too. And if Hillary is supposed to have a tough time getting votes in less Democratic upstate areas, this op-ed suggests she may have the upstate media as an ally.

     Sullivan concluded that "It's time -- high time -- for this self-proclaimed feminist to step out from the shadows of her husband's career." Sullivan bought into the concept that Hillary has "suffered enough" as a victim of Bill Clinton's exploits, instead of seeing her as a accessory, and dismissed the carpetbagger charge by declaring it "is less important than other qualities: leadership, brains and savvy."

     Here's an excerpt from Sullivan's June 6 piece:

It's time to put the Rodham back into Hillary Rodham Clinton. Should she run for the U.S. Senate from New York? Absolutely. It'll be the best medicine for what ails her: Spousal Accommodation Overdose.

It will be good for New York, too, to have her as a candidate. She's tough, she's gritty, and we're a tough, gritty state. And she is an extraordinarily smart, capable politician -- one of her generation's best.

For more than two decades, Hillary has used those estimable abilities for Bill Clinton's benefit, much more than for her own. There's nothing wrong with that, of course -- it's what loving spouses do for each other all the time, and should do.

But surely there is a limit. And surely, Hillary reached it some time ago.

From the moment she moved to her husband's home state of Arkansas, Hillary Clinton has chosen to subvert her own highly promising career path....

Along the way, she toned down her natural assertiveness, changed her name (not to mention all those hair changes -- and don't tell me they didn't mean something) and stood by her man. All with an eye on his poll numbers.

Enough of that already. Twenty-five years later, it's time at last to turn the tables....

While her candidacy is still not quite a done deal, I'm convinced she'll run because of a psychological imperative: She needs to run. Throughout the Lewinsky firestorm, one heard people speculating. What on earth can Hillary be thinking? How can she stand this? Why would she continue to support him?

Only she and her closest friends can know for sure, but here's a theory. Hillary was cutting a private deal with herself: I'll endure this, reap the benefits of wifely loyalty in my own public opinion polls and have the last laugh. It would be a strange irony: Parlaying a popularity won on the least feminist of terms into her own election to public office.

Pundits and friends have said she'd be crazy to run for the Senate when she could have greater influence otherwise -- as an author, ambassador, lecture-circuit speaker. And she could avoid the mudslinging of a campaign, the mocking tabloid headlines, the reopening of old wounds like Whitewater.

Somehow, though, one gets the idea that Hillary Rodham Clinton just wants this. And that she has suffered enough, feels she deserves this and is going to have it. And why shouldn't she? Well, plenty of naysayers are eager to supply the reasons. Their very eagerness reinforces what a formidable candidate she'll be.

She's a carpetbagger, they say, who doesn't know or care about New York state. As a nearly lifelong New Yorker, I think residency is less important than other qualities: leadership, brains and savvy. (And I'd wager that, right now, Homework Hillary knows more about the state and its residents' concerns than many of its top officeholders. And she'll know more as the days pass.)

It'll be an ugly campaign, they say, that will drag her and President Clinton through more mud. Her potential Republican opponent, New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, can be a bulldog, and the city's tabloids are not known for their kid-glove approach. (But Hillary Clinton has incomparable experience with ugly campaigns and tough press coverage and has shown she can survive very well, thank you.)

A loss would be too bruising for her, they say; it's not worth the risk. (Why should anyone protect Hillary from her own ambition? If she loses, she can be an author, ambassador or lecture-circuit speaker just as well as she can now. If she wins -- certainly a solid possibility -- she'll cope just fine with the challenges, frustrations and setbacks.)

I can't think of a single good reason why she shouldn't have a run at it.

It's time -- high time -- for this self-proclaimed feminist to step out from the shadows of her husband's career.

     END Excerpt

     To read the entire tribute, go to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPlate/1999-06/06/123l-060699-idx.html

     And don't forget how Dan Rather slobbered all over Hillary Clinton on 60 Minutes II on May 26, urging her to run for President and gushing: "Once a political lightning rod, today she is political lightning." A video excerpt of this interview is among 20 or so you can view from the MRC's page of biased videos:  http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/biasvideo.html


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) How likely do you think it would be for a professional journalist to endorse a book by a politician's flak who spent years lying to the journalist and the entire media? Normally, you'd think a journalist would have too much self-respect for his profession and be embarrassed about how he and his colleagues gave credence to the lies.

     But not Tom Brokaw, the MRC's Tim Graham noticed. Check out the NBC anchor's book jacket endorsement for the tome by Lanny Davis ludicrously titled, "Truth to Tell: Tell it Early, Tell it All, Tell it Yourself -- Notes from My White House Education." Under the back cover heading of "Advance Praise for Truth to Tell," the book lists this from Brokaw:
     "Lanny Davis has written a book that should be required reading for all Washington officials and journalists alike. It's an instructive and cautionary tale of the constant struggle to know the truth of what is going on at the highest levels of government."

     Reviewing the book in the June 7 Weekly Standard, the magazine's David Tell related what Davis claimed about several scandal developments:
     "On Kathleen Willey: 'I just couldn't take this story seriously.' On the no-show jobs that Clinton staffers arranged for Web Hubbell after he was forced to resign from the Justice Department: 'I gave so little credence to the seriousness of the story.' John Huang's visits to the Oval Office struck Davis as 'a nonstory from the beginning.' His 'first reaction' to Monica Lewinsky 'was that there couldn't be a basis for this rumor.' And when questions arouse about the curious word play of the President's Lewinsky denials, 'I couldn't believe the press had reached this level of cynicism.' Say what else we might about him, Lanny Davis is transparently sincere. In a White House packed with soul-dead shysters, Davis appears actually to have believed the lies he told."

     If you buy that it makes him incredibly stupid, not someone who deserves a book endorsement from a media star.

     Oliver North and many caught up in the Iran-Contra scandal sincerely believed they were doing the right thing, but I don't recall any network reporters endorsing their books.

     Speaking of network anchors, Dan Rather is scheduled to appear Monday night on CBS's Late Show with David Letterman. Tune in to see if he says anything wacky or sings one of his railroad songs. -- Brent Baker


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