ABC & NBC Ignored Rudman's Report; Poll: Most Interested In Chinagate
1) The ABC and NBC evening
shows ignored the report on the nuclear labs from the Foreign Intelligence
Advisory Board which contradicted Richardson's assurances and criticized
Clinton team delays. It got 23 seconds on GMA and Today.
2) Dan Rather brooded about
"prospects for passage of even limited gun control," but ABC's
Linda Douglass pointed out how the "NRA's point man is...the senior
Democrat, Michigan's John Dingell."
3) Despite the lack of network
interest, a poll found 55 percent of the public "closely"
followed the Chinese espionage story.
4) Dan Rather revealed on
Larry King Live that while his show's first feed on Monday ran a Gore
soundbite which made a false claim, CBS didn't tell viewers Gore was
5) Newsweek's Howard Fineman:
George W. Bush is "a Republican running without anger, which we
haven't seen in a long time."
6) Joining the Today bunch.
NBC's pick to co-host Later Today, a new 9am show: Florence Henderson,
the mother on The Brady Bunch.
7) George Stephanopoulos
debuted Wednesday morning as co-anchor of ABC's World News Now.
14 Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the latest
outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media, is now
online. Quote headings include "Dan Rather at Hillary's Heel";
"The Phantom Red Menace"; "Hitting Clinton from Left on
Guns"; "'Extremists' Threaten U.S., China"; "CNN:
Chinagate Overcovered"; and "Bias Discovered...on Fox." Go
For back issues: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/1999/welcome.html
The President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board issued a 57-page
report on Tuesday critical of how the Clinton administration handled
nuclear lab security after learning of Chinese espionage and recommending
that, given Energy Department problems, the labs be run by another agency.
Previews of the report's findings were played on the front pages of the
Tuesday Los Angeles Times and Washington Times.
full reports on CBS's This Morning and Evening News as well as on CNN
and FNC. ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today each allocated a
mere 23 seconds. But in the evening: Zilch on ABC's World News Tonight
and NBC Nightly News. Instead, ABC and NBC viewers sat through stories on
car thefts, curfews and coded sculpture.
Though the report
from the Clinton-appointed panel headed by former Republican Senator
Warren Rudman offered specific criticisms of the Clinton administration
and contradicted Energy Secretary Bill Richardson's insistence that all
the problems have been corrected, the broadcast networks largely either
ignored the Clinton criticism or, as Dan Rather did, spread the blame
around by stressing how secrets were stolen during previous presidencies.
Only CBS's Sharyl Attkisson pointed out how the report contradicted
Richardson's assurance all is well.
The June 15 Los
Angeles Times story by Doyle McManus and Bob Drogin relayed how the report
"warned that the labs are still vulnerable to foreign espionage and
said that the administration's efforts to tighten security have been well
intentioned but tardy and inadequate."
The LA Times
quoted the report: "'Organizational disarray, managerial neglect
and a culture of arrogance -- both at Energy Department headquarters and
the labs themselves -- conspired to create an espionage scandal waiting to
happen,' it said.
"'The Clinton administration has reacted
forcefully but it took pressure from below and outside the administration
to get the attention of the leadership, and there is some evidence to
raise questions about whether its actions came later than they should
have,' the report said.
"Richardson 'overstated the case' when
he said in May that U.S. nuclear secrets are now safe and secure, it
Later, the Times
reporters noted: "And the report criticized the administration for
failing to investigate other possible sources for the leak of advanced
nuclear warhead data to China. 'Despite the disclosure of information
concerning seven warheads, despite the potential that the source or
sources of these disclosures were other than the bomb designers at the
national weapons labs and despite the potential that the disclosures
occurred as early as 1982, only one investigation was initiated,' the
Here's how each
network treated the report on Tuesday, June 15, starting with ABC and then
followed out of alphabetical order by CNN, NBC and lastly CBS since it has
reporting worth quoting:
-- ABC. GMA news
reader Antonio Mora, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed, announced this
23-second item that didn't mention any Clinton misdeeds:
"A presidential advisory panel is calling
for major steps to protect the country's nuclear secrets. In a report
issued last night, the panel criticized the Energy Department for
disarray, neglect and a culture of arrogance that has made secrets
vulnerable for decades. President Clinton created the panel after
allegations the Chinese stole U.S. nuclear technology at the Los Alamos
World News Tonight
skipped the report. In addition to pieces on the Kosovo situation, the
Pope's health and the gun debate on Capitol Hill, the ABC show found
room for A Closer Look at how new "cash balance" retirement
plans favored by employers hurt older workers and a story about the
successful partial deciphering of a sculpture built at the CIA nine years
ago. John Martin noted: "This curved, copper sculpture contains 1,706
letters stacked in 31 rows..." To see the sculpture and what's been
de-coded, go to: http://abcnews.go.com/onair/WorldNewsTonight/wnt9990615_ciacode.html
-- CNN. Not a word
on Tuesday's Inside Politics, but CNN beat everyone with a story on
Monday's The World Today. CNN's Pierre Thomas, MRC analyst Paul Smith
observed, also avoided any mention of Clinton delays and focused instead
on lab employee resistance to tougher security rules and the panel's
call for a separate agency to oversee them.
-- NBC. Like GMA,
Today's total coverage on Tuesday was represented by a 23-second item.
MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens took down Ann Curry's words: "Today a
presidential panel releases a scathing report on spying at the nation's
nuclear labs. The report says a culture of arrogance at the Department of
Energy and at the labs has made atomic secrets vulnerable to theft for
decades. It also says nuclear labs are still resisting reforms. The panel
was set up after reports that China had stolen secrets from the Los Alamos
lab in New Mexico."
NBC Nightly News
ignored the report, preferring to run stories on how one-third of stolen
cars are shipped overseas, the ineffectiveness of vehicle anti-theft
devices and the controversy over how some murders have prompted the police
in Hilton Head, North Carolina to impose a 9pm curfew at a majority-black
public housing project.
-- CBS. Sharyl Attkisson provided the only
full report in the morning and she was back again on the June 15 Evening
News, the only broadcast evening show to care about the report. But, just
as CBS decided on the day the Cox Report was released, the China story was
run after a story on gun control.
Anchor Dan Rather
announced: "There is blistering criticism today of security, or lack
of it, at this nation's most-sensitive nuclear weapons labs. Even now,
after disclosure that China got U.S. atomic secrets in the Carter, Reagan,
Bush and Clinton years."
Attkisson told viewers: "Rudman's report
accuses the Department of Energy, which runs the labs, of having 'a
bureaucratic culture thoroughly saturated with cynicism and disregard for
authority,' even presidential authority."
She cited some
examples of security resistance, such as how lab workers are still not
being polygraphed even a year after so ordered. Attkisson uniquely
highlighted how the report contradicted Richardson's assurances:
"Just last month Energy Secretary Bill Richardson declared the
espionage crisis at U.S. nuclear weapons labs over."
Richardson, May 25: "I can assure the
American people that their nuclear secrets are now safe at the labs."
Rudman: "I just find that statement
incomprehensible and I'm just not sure why he's saying it."
Attkisson concluded: "The Rudman report
recommends a drastic change: put nuclear weapons functions under a new
independent agency. But that's a non-starter for the Energy Secretary
who believes only his office can guard the nation's nuclear
Tuesday night CBS and ABC focused on Democratic attacks on how Republicans
are improperly watering down gun control legislation, but at least ABC's
Linda Douglass noted a top Democrat is leading the charge against the
the latest prospects for passage of even limited gun control measures
currently before the U.S. House," Dan Rather announced on the June 15
CBS Evening News. One suspects there's no limitation on the First
Amendment that Rather would characterize as "limited."
Reporter Diana Olick opened with a clip of Bill
Clinton blasting Republicans and then she summarized how a study cited by
Clinton found that the Brady Bill has blocked 400,000 illegal gun sales.
She concluded by suggesting why the GOP separated proposals on gun control
and children's access to violent games and videos into two bills:
"Splitting the bill in two allows Republicans to claim they've done
something about crime even if the gun bill goes down to defeat."
Over on ABC's
World News Tonight Linda Douglass began by focusing on how Democrats are
upset by the decision to put juvenile measures, such as banning the sale
of violent video games to minors and posting the ten commandments in
schools, into one bill and putting gun control in another. Leading into a
soundbite from Republican David Dreier, Douglass relayed: "Democrats
say putting guns in a separate bill gives the NRA its best chance to
defeat it; Republicans insist that was not their goal."
But, Douglass refreshingly pointed out: "In
fact, the NRA's point man is not a Republican but the senior Democrat,
Michigan's John Dingell, a former NRA board member." She concluded:
"As many as fifty Democrats may join with
Dingell to try to weaken the gun control proposals. Said one Republican
aide, if the NRA wins this one don't blame us."
standing for principle.
The public does care about Chinese espionage, really. Tuesday's CBS
Evening News story on the Rudman report was the show's first mention of
Chinagate since May 27, NBC Nightly News hasn't touched the subject
since the May 25 release of the Cox Report, and ABC's World News Tonight
had avoided it all month as have all the morning shows.
Nonetheless, a Pew
Research Center for the People & the Press survey taken June 9-13 and
released Tuesday found that 55 percent said they followed "very
closely" or "fairly closely" the "accusations that
China stole nuclear technology from U.S. laboratories." Specifically,
21 percent of the respondents answered "very closely" when asked
"if you happened to follow this news story very closely, fairly
closely, not too closely, or not at all closely?" Another 34 percent
replied "fairly closely." That compares to 43 percent who were
not so interested: 22 percent said they followed the China story "not
too closely" and 21 percent answered "not closely at all.'
Pretty amazing for
a story that was hard to follow on network news.
You can access all
of the Pew Research Center's surveys by going to: http://www.people-press.org
To read the complete results of this monthly
survey, go to: http://www.people-press.org/nato99rpt.htm
Tuesday night on CNN's Larry King Live Dan Rather revealed that his
show's first feed on Tuesday ran a Gore soundbite, which made a false
claim, without telling viewers Gore was wrong, asserted that "I don't
think history in the short and medium run will be kind to Ken Starr"
and urged Starr to not issue a report critical of Hillary Clinton if he
does not indict her.
As detailed in the
June 15 CyberAlert, in the June 14 7pm ET feed carried in Washington, DC,
Rather highlighted how "Vice President Al Gore sees gun control as
one way to define himself and his differences with Bush. Today, addressing
a Mayor's conference, Gore noted almost a quarter of gun murders are
committed by young people under age 20."
Rather then played this Gore soundbite:
"Incredibly, while these 18 to 20 year-olds cannot legally buy a
beer, cannot purchase a bottle of wine and cannot order a drink in a bar,
right now they can walk into any gun shop, any pawn shop, any gun show,
anywhere in America and buy a handgun."
Rather timidly followed-up: "You may want to
note that critics say Gore misspoke himself today. Handgun sales to those
under 21 are forbidden by federal law though other firearms are
NBC's Tom Brokaw decisively declared: "That's simply wrong. The
Gun Control Act of 1968 made it illegal to sell a handgun to anyone under
the age of 21."
Now we learn that
the plurality of CBS Evening News viewers (most ET and CT affiliates pick
up the 6:30pm ET feed) never learned that they heard a false assertion
Asked about the
Gore gaffe, on Tuesday's Larry King Live Rather replied: "Well,
number one, he certainly misstated the facts. We caught it on the Evening
News, and put a note in the second broadcast -- in our subsequent
broadcast last night. The answer on both counts is yes and yes, which is
to say he misstated the facts, and yes, he should know the law. And my
guess is that somebody on the Gore staff caught a lot of hell today about
To watch the
Monday CBS item on Gore, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/biasvideo.html
For a collection
of Gore Gaffe videos, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/goregaffesvideo.html
asked about Starr's legacy. Rather suggested:
"I don't think history in the short and
medium run will be kind to Ken Starr. That may be justified or
unjustified. It may be fair or unfair. But it's hard for me to write any
script where in the short to medium run history -- long-term history, you
know, who knows?"
Of course it's
the media which write short-term history, so Rather is indicting the
anti-Starr hostility of his own industry.
King then asked:
"Does he make a report as reported that vilifies the Clintons?"
"I think the answer is yes. I think he's
virtually said so himself. And that raises some questions and may have
something to do with how he's seen in history. The question is, look, if
you're an independent counsel, i.e., special prosecutor, if you can't
indict someone, if you don't have the goods to indict them, or you don't
have the goods and/or the guts to indict them, then where is the brief for
you issuing a report, that says, well, I couldn't prove these things but I
think you should have them in mind and particularly right on the cusp of a
very important Senate race. That raises some questions."
George W. Bush fell off the network agenda Tuesday night, but Newsweek's
Howard Fineman managed to use his launch weekend to take another potshot
at Republicans. MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens caught this from Fineman on
the June 14 Hardball on CNBC:
"It's not traditional Republican party
stuff. The interesting thing about his whole speech all the way along is
there isn't a drop of anger anywhere. He's a Republican running
without anger, which we haven't seen in a long time."
So George Bush was
full of anger in 1992 and Dole was too in 1996, but not Bill Clinton?
Then we all became the Today bunch. The co-host this fall for the new
Later Today show scheduled to run from 9 to 10am weekdays after the
regular Today: Florence Henderson, mother "Carol Brady" on the
1969 to 1974 ABC sit-com, The Brady Bunch. I'm not kidding. She's been
teamed with Jodi Applegate, current co-host of Today on Saturday and
"But how, you
might ask, did the 65-year-old cult figure segue into a co-host gig on an
NBC News program?" mused Washington Post TV columnist Lisa de Moraes.
She provided an answer in her June 15 column which can be sung to the
Brady Bunch theme, well, almost:
"Here's the story of a lovely lady, who was
bringing out her very lovely new cookbook on the morning-show circuit last
September. Then one day, she was seen on Today by Jeff Zucker, and he knew
it was much more than a hunch that Mrs. Brady must somehow join his
family, and that's the way she became part of the Later Today bunch."
Actually, this is
a return gig for Henderson. De Moraes reminded her readers: "Before
there was the Today show's Barbara Walters, there was Today's Florence
Henderson. She was a "Today Girl" in 1959, when Dave Garroway
was the program's host, and concepts like "Today Girls" were
politically acceptable. Henderson contributed interviews and features to
So much for any
pretense that you must be an experienced journalist to host a news show.
Speaking of non-journalists as anchors, George Stephanopoulos had his
debut Wednesday morning as co-anchor of ABC's World News Now, the
network's overnight show. Most ABC affiliates carry an hour or two of
the show between 2 and 5am local time.
For details on how this three-day
substitute selection came about, check out an item in the June 14
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