"Gun Lobby" Puppets; Only FNC Noticed Richardson; CNN's McGovernite
1) ABC and NBC picked up
Clinton's charge that House Republicans are "taking orders from the
gun lobby." ABC devoted a story to how the NRA ominously lobbied to
put "loopholes" in the Senate bill.
2) Energy Secretary Richardson
condemned new lab security rules and a top Democrat castigated a
Richardson deputy for pushing Clinton spin, but only FNC's Carl Cameron
took note. He revealed FBI agents accused Justice officials of
3) Countering the Clinton spin
holding Reagan and Bush as equally culpable, Investor's Business Daily
determined "the vast majority of the leaks over the past 20 years
have sprung on Clinton's watch." And that's not counting recent
cases kept suppressed.
4) A New York Observer story
revealed that Lou Dobbs had urged Ted Turner to fire Rick Kaplan and Tom
Johnson. With Dobbs gone a McGovernite will now oversee the Moneyline
Energy Secretary Bill Richardson appeared at an open hearing held by a
Senate committee on Wednesday, providing a hook for the networks to catch
viewers up on the Chinagate scandal, but only FNC noticed. (Details in
item #2 today.) The only scandal which interested the networks: How the
Republican House is pushing a weakened gun control bill ominously written
by the "gun lobby."
the NRA on Wednesday and ABC and NBC jumped.
NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw introduced a bite from Clinton:
"President Clinton's increasingly bitter battle with the gun lobby
heated up again today. He accused House Republicans of trying to push a
watered-down version of a gun control bill through Congress, a bill the
President said was ghostwritten by the National Rifle Association."
Following Clinton's comments disparaging the NRA, NBC ran a story about
how talk of gun control is driving up gun sales.
ABC's World News
Tonight devoted a full story to Clinton's complaint and though it
included soundbites from a Republican and a NRA official, its angle
matched the liberal agenda -- assuming less restrictive gun rules are bad
and that there's something wrong with a group, which represents millions
of Americans, having input into legislation.
Anchor Kevin Newman led into a full story by
relaying how Clinton charged Republicans with "taking orders from the
Linda Douglass began her June 9 story:
"Democrats charge that the Republican gun control legislation is
riddled with loopholes crafted by the National Rifle Association."
Clinton: "It is a bill plainly ghostwritten
by the NRA. I think it is wrong to let the NRA call the shots on this
Douglass: "One NRA official told ABC News 90
percent of the measure was quote 'our stuff.' The House proposal would
weaken some of the restrictions on gun shows passed by the Senate just two
weeks ago. For example, the Senate bill required background checks for
sales at gun shows where 50 or more guns are for sale. The House would
require such checks only on shows with ten or more vendors, no matter how
many guns are for sale. The GOP sponsor of the measure insists he was just
trying to make it palatable to pro-gun Republicans."
Henry Hyde asserted the NRA was not involved in
writing the bill followed by Wayne LaPierre of the NRA who ABC showed
saying: "What you're seeing on the House side is bipartisan
rejection of what the Senate passed."
Douglass outlined the NRA's sinister activity:
"Since the Senate passed its gun measure the NRA has had a chance to
marshal its forces. It has sent letters to its 2.8 million members warning
of the 'cradle-to-grave massive federal regulatory scheme' and urging
them to call their Congressmen. Some key targets are Democrats, like
Michigan's Bart Stupak."
After a soundbite from Stupak, Douglass
"Gun control groups are also turning up the
heat, lobbying their Democratic allies. But party lines are blurred in the
House. Some Democrats will fight for gun owner's rights, some
Republicans want more gun control. One Republican aide told ABC News
tonight it will be a miracle if anything passes."
ABC News is so far
in the tank with liberals that they ignored how conservatives perceive the
maneuvering by the House leadership to pass a gun control bill. House
leaders are bringing the bill to the floor directly, bypassing the House
Judiciary Committee where committee conservatives could tie up the bill.
Once again Republican leaders tried to gain good press by appeasing
liberals, in this case by cutting a conservative power base out of the
loop in order to make sure a gun control bill passes, only to still be
portrayed as pushing an extremist agenda.
A week-and-a-half after he promised to fire Energy Department officials
whose incompetence exacerbated the espionage, a promise he has yet to
fulfill, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson appeared before the Senate's
Select Committee on Intelligence. It was an open hearing with cameras
taping footage any network could use, but only one bothered.
denounced the Senate-passed rules clamping down on security and the
committee's top Democrat castigated a Richardson deputy for trying to
falsely impugn others with language that sounded like it was written at
the "political shop over at the White House." I only know this
because of Carl Cameron's FNC story which also revealed how FBI agents
have accused Justice officials of "deliberate incompetence" in
ignoring evidence of espionage.
On the June 9
Special Report with Brit Hume, Cameron began by pointing out how
Richardson told Senators he opposes new security proposals because they
"undermine and micro-manage him."
Cameron moved on: "The chief of Energy
Department counter-intelligence, Ed Curran, accompanied Richardson and
found himself under fire for claiming several days ago that the Senate
knew about China's spying in 1996 and failed to act. The Vice Chairman
of the committee, Democrat Bob Kerrey, scolded Curran for being both
inaccurate and too partisan."
Kerrey: "It carried a tone that sounded as
if it was written by the political shop over at the White House."
Cameron: "Curran sat by and watched as his
boss acknowledged that the comments and the facts were wrong."
how the House unanimously passed new security measures proposed in the Cox
Report and then concluded with exclusive information about more
"In rare closed door testimony, Fox News has
learned that frustrated rank and file FBI agents told lawmakers that they
found ample evidence of Chinese espionage but felt thwarted by senior
Justice Department officials. Now sources say law makers will look into
the possibility of what's called quote 'deliberate incompetence' by
Justice Department officials to sweep it under the carpet."
FNC's 7pm ET Fox
Report culled all this down to 38 seconds, but that's still 38 seconds
more than allocated by ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC which all ignored these
events of the day. CNN devoted virtually all of The World Today to Kosovo
and breaking news of a peace deal wiped out Inside Politics. The other
networks, however, found time on June 9 for plenty of other stories:
-- ABC's World News Tonight looked at the boom
in summer jobs for teens and mental health treatment.
-- CBS Evening News dedicated pieces to the
health dangers of cigars, the "smoldering facts on cigars and
health" as Dan Rather put it, and "the weather team
extreme," meteorologists who check extreme weather claims. The Eye on
America story examined racial profiling by police.
-- NBC Nightly News, prompted by the launch of
drkoop.com, devoted the In Depth segments to online health information
followed by the efforts of a woman raising money to pay for an
Bill Richardson keeps claiming the espionage spanned from Reagan to
Clinton so Clinton should not be blamed more than previous recent
Presidents, but a Wednesday Investor's Business Daily article proves the
Clinton administration does deserve most of the blame. "A '20-Year'
Security Breakdown? In Fact, Leaks To China Ruptured On Clinton's
Watch," announced the June 9 headline.
Bureau Chief Paul Sperry determined that "the vast majority of the
leaks over the past 20 years have sprung on Clinton's watch and nearly all
the old leaks have shown up then." Plus, the Cox Report "doesn't
disclose the full extent of Chinese espionage in the Clinton years. Citing
'national security' reasons, the White House censored roughly 375
pages, including several recent cases."
excerpt of Sperry's illuminating expose in which he did what so few in
the Washington media have actually done: Read the Cox Report and then
called experts for their analysis and recollections of what policies each
Say it enough and it becomes common wisdom.
Two days before a special House report
detailed Chinese espionage at U.S. nuclear weapons labs, Energy Secretary
Bill Richardson said: "There was lax security at the labs in the
'70s, '80s and '90s."
On May 25, the day of the report,
Richardson said blame should "start in the '70s and '80s."
Five days after the report, he said it
"points out some very serious lapses at our national laboratories in
the '70s, '80s and the '90s."
He added: "We need to focus on
correcting a problem that spanned Republican and Democratic
That's now the standard press line on
Chinese espionage: It spanned 20 years and included both GOP and
"From Reagan to Clinton, a spy scandal
hard to match: Report details 20 years of laxity as China stole nuclear
secrets," echoed USA Today's lead editorial on May 26.
Yet the scandal is anything but seamless.
In fact, it bunches up hard around the Clinton administration.
Nearly two weeks ago, Richardson vowed that
heads would soon roll. As of press time, he still hasn't said who's on the
The declassified version of the House
report identifies 11 cases of Chinese espionage since the late 1970s.
Eight took place during President Clinton's years in office. Two of the
three prior cases were first learned in 1995 and 1997.
In other words, the vast majority of the
leaks over the past 20 years have sprung on Clinton's watch and nearly all
the old leaks have shown up then.
That's not all. The House report doesn't
disclose the full extent of Chinese espionage in the Clinton years. Citing
"national security" reasons, the White House censored roughly
375 pages, including several recent cases.
At least 24 times, the declassified version
of the report states: "The Clinton administration has determined
further information cannot be made public." Left out are details
about Chinese espionage that took place in the "mid-1990s" or
"Some of the most significant thefts
occurred in the last four years," said Rep. Chris Cox, R-Calif., who
headed the House panel.
Former Reagan Defense Secretary Caspar
Weinberger says he's not surprised.
"Every existing roadblock inhibiting
(China's) nuclear progress has been removed over the past six years,"
he said in a foreword to an abridged book version of the Cox report.
He also cited the administration's
"apparent reluctance to block or punish espionage."
It's now plain that the administration,
which still sees China as a "strategic partner," departed from
long-standing national security policies.
It relaxed security at the labs,
particularly when it came to Chinese visitors and workers. It balked at
prosecuting suspected Chinese spies. And it removed controls on dual-use
exports to China.
Of course, the end of the Cold War looms
large in the security meltdown.
For nearly half a century, the U.S. had
been on 24-hour guard against the Soviets' Evil Empire. When it imploded,
a new "openness" was born -- especially among defense lab
scientists, who saw the chance to turn their fortresses into international
This is a "very different time,"
said a former assistant Energy secretary under Bush. The period of lab
openness "began in some form after the demise of the former Soviet
Congress also shares some blame. It was
briefed about lab security lapses and spying as early as 1997, Energy
officials point out. Yet it failed to take action until this year.
That's scapegoating, argues Rep. Curt
Weldon, R-Pa., one of the Cox panel members.
"In the first couple years of this
administration, they tore down what had been established practices for
security at the labs," he said in an interview.
In fact, the administration took several
steps to open up the labs to foreigners, including:
-- Getting rid of color-coded security
badges, which guards had used to clear workers for access to classified
-- Stopping FBI background checks -- which
the law requires -- on foreign workers and visitors at two of the Energy
Department's most sensitive weapons labs -- Los Alamos and Sandia.
Checks ended in the fall of 1993. The next
year, Chinese visitors to the two labs more than doubled to 329.
In 1997 -- two years after a Chinese spy
was found at Los Alamos -- the labs did background checks on only 2% of
visitors from China, the General Accounting Office found.
-- Slashing the lab-security budget 40%
-- Declassifying millions of papers about
the U.S. nuclear program.
Of course, GAO found security lapses at the
labs in the 1980s, too -- but mainly because existing procedures weren't
In fact, previous administrations beefed up
"This doesn't say there wasn't spying
on my watch, but we spent $1.5 billion covering counterintelligence
operations when the Reagan administration came in and acknowledged
security problems at the labs," said Frank Gaffney, Reagan's
assistant secretary of Defense for international security policy.
Clinton argues, reasonably, that past
administrations opened the door to satellite exports to China.
But he also claims he was just following
suit. Here, he's at odd with the facts.
Though Reagan and Bush allowed exports of
commercial satellites to China, they still worried about the Chinese
military getting its hands on dual-use technology. So they maintained
export licensing safeguards.
The same can't be said for Clinton.
If satellite technology were a present, the
degree of gift-giving among the three Presidents can be compared like
Reagan provided the box. Bush provided the
paper. Clinton put the technology in the box, wrapped it up, tied a bow
and shipped it FedEx to Beijing....
That's only the
first half of the story, but space prevents further excerpting today.
Unfortunately, the IBD Web site only features that day's stories and has
no archive. So, if space permits, on Friday I'll excerpt the rest. You
can see Thursday's Investor's Business Daily by going to: http://www.investors.com
Lou Dobbs has denied that his feud with CNN/USA President Rick Kaplan
prompted his resignation, a reason suggested in the June 9 CyberAlert
which detailed a battle the two had a couple of weeks ago over putting a
Clinton speech on live and thus bumping Moneyline. A New York Observer
story about Dobbs revealed that he urged Ted Turner to fire Kaplan as well
as CNN News Group Chairman Tom Johnson.
With Dobbs now
gone a McGovernite brought aboard by Kaplan will oversee the Moneyline
show on CNN: Jeff Gralnick.
-- Why he
Post's Howard Kurtz and Lisa DeMoraes relayed in a June 9 story:
"'There was an ongoing series of
frustrations in dealing with Atlanta,' said one CNN insider. 'There
wasn't any big explosion. This has been building for a while.'
"But financial incentives may have played a
larger role. Dobbs, said by a colleague to have caught 'Internet
fever,' will become Chairman of Space.com, a Web site that takes off
July 20 (the anniversary of the 1969 landing on the moon) and in which he
will have a substantial equity stake....
"Dobbs has privately maintained that he is
not quitting because of the difficulties with other CNN executives, and he
said last night that the decision comes with 'some pain for all the
blood and sweat I put into this place.'...."
Peter Johnson in a June 9 item:
"Kaplan is said to have viewed Dobbs as
entrenched within CNN but past his prime. Dobbs resented that Kaplan, a
former ABC News producer, has been able to get tens of millions of dollars
for his start-up CNN NewsStand newsmagazine, with negligible ratings
"Yet the recent spat between the two men is
said to have nothing to do with Dobbs' leaving. His new venture, Space.com,
is a Rockefeller family-financed Web site with news, entertainment and
education about space, his pet interest."
-- A Dobbs diss to
Kaplan and how he had urged that all overseeing Tailwind be fired. The
MRC's Tim Graham caught a very informative New York Observer piece about
Dobbs' tenure at CNN. Jim Rutenberg relayed a few paragraphs in:
"Mr. Dobbs, reached the evening of June 8,
said, 'I called Ted last night at the ranch. We've been friends for
nearly two decades and he was good enough to give me the opportunity to
pursue my dream.' He added that his dream was to put more information on
outer space on the Internet. Asked if he left because of his fight with
Mr. Kaplan, he said, 'It has absolutely nothing to do with it. Moments
of passing tension in the newsroom are nothing new or unique.' Asked if
he had called Mr. Kaplan to say goodbye, Mr. Dobbs said, 'Why would
A revealing reply.
Rutenberg on the
Kaplan months at CNN:
Rick Kaplan was hired from ABC in Aug. 1997 in an effort to bring to the
scrappy CNN more of a network appeal. "Appointment viewing,"
they called it. The idea was that CNN had become the station you turned to
when there was a war, but not the channel to watch if there wasn't some
huge breaking story....
Mr. Kaplan immediately started hiring
talent from ABC -- Willow Bay, Jeffrey Greenfield -- for a new, hour-long
magazine show called NewsStand. Its first big story is now known, simply,
Tailwind -- in which hotshot correspondent
Peter Arnett got before a camera and said that the U.S. military had used
nerve gas on U.S. defectors during Vietnam. The story, it turned out, was
indeed too good to be true: It had not been thoroughly nailed and it had
to be retracted. Mr. Kaplan had mud on his face and Mr. Dobbs wanted him
"He and Dobbs had a major public break
over Tailwind," said an ex-CNN executive. "Dobbs was screaming
that Johnson and Arnett and Kaplan should all be fired."
Besides the direction of the network, Mr.
Kaplan's friendship with the Clintons became an issue between them. (Mr.
Kaplan is golfing buddies with the President.) And that was what was
simmering beneath Mr. Dobbs' displeasure over allowing the CNN cameras
to cut to Littleton, Colo.
To read this whole
story, go to: http://www.observer.com/pages/frontpage4.htm
-- McGovernite now in charge. The June 9 Post
story by Kurtz and DeMoraes disclosed:
"....Rather than name a new President, the
network said the two next-highest CNNfn officials would run the operation
and report to Johnson.
"Jeff Gralnick, Executive Vice President for
Moneyline and other financial programming, will continue in that role, as
will CNNfn's Executive Vice President, David Bohrman. Gralnick joined CNN
this year from ABC, where he was a producer and executive for 23 years,
and is a former Executive Producer of NBC Nightly News. Bohrman was hired
last year after a long career at ABC and NBC, where he oversaw special
The Post left out
one noteworthy resume item for Gralnick: Press Secretary to Senator George
McGovern in 1971. Gralnick had been in charge of ABCNEWS.com through last
year. After his stint with McGovern he joined ABC News, rising to
Executive Producer of World News Tonight by 1979 and Vice President in
1985. He jumped to NBC in 1993 to serve as Executive Producer of NBC
Nightly News. ABC lured him back in 1996 to run their later-scuttled
all-news cable channel.
The New York
Post's Jon Elsen noted that both Bohrman and Gralnick "will report
to CNN boss Tom Johnson."
So, this is who
runs CNN: Former McGovern aide Jeff Gralnick oversees financial news and
reports to CNN News Group Chairman Tom Johnson, who toiled in the Lyndon
Johnson White House with Bill Moyers. Rick Kaplan, a Clinton buddy and
one-time campaign worker in Eugene McCarthy's 1968 presidential bid,
runs the CNN domestic network and reports to Johnson.
Looks like CNN needs a little diversity. --
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