Gore Asked About Russia Deal; Ad Linking Bush to Murder Ignored; West Wing's Conservative Decided White House Full of "Patriots"
-- Back to today's CyberAlert
1) Thirteen days after the news
broke, on today's Good Morning America Charles Gibson asked Al Gore about a
"secret agreement" that "you signed with Russian Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin ...which gave Russia a pass" on selling arms to Iran.
2) Media Reality Check: "Is It Civil To Suggest Bush Is a
Killer? Media's Willie Horton Ad Bashers Sit in Stony Silence While NAACP Ad
Is Denounced by Bob Kerrey." Only FNC has shown the ad which features
James Byrd's daughter claiming of Bush's opposition to a hate crimes bill:
"It was like my father was killed all over again."
3) The West Wing's new conservative blonde babe character
assessed the staff of the fictional Democratic White House: "Their intent
is good, their commitment is true. They are righteous and they are
4) Two new MediaNomics articles now online: "News Media
Promoted Pro-Gore Tax Activist as 'Nonpartisan' Expert" and
"Gore Spin Echoed by Networks In Coverage of Texas Education Study."
morning, 13 days after the New York Times broke the story, Al Gore was finally
asked by a network reporter about his secret deal with Russia for arms sales
to Iran which the Times had reported "appeared to undercut a 1992
law." ABC's Charles Gibson raised the controversy during a Good Morning
America interview with Gore.
As noted in this morning's CyberAlert, the Senate held
hearings on the matter Wednesday which generated only a 17-second item on
ABC's World News Tonight but went unnoticed by CBS, NBC and the CNN and
MSNBC prime time newscasts. Only FNC touched it last week and ran a full story
Gore appeared on today's Good Morning America via
satellite from Missouri. Gibson started by asking about Ralph Nader's threat
and then wondered, as transcribed by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson, about
"Let me ask you a
personal question. This election is nail-bitingly close. I don't remember one
since 1960 this close and I'm one of the few people who remember 1960. And I
wonder personally what that does to you. You've been campaigning flat out for
months, and yet this thing is to be won or lost in the last 12 days, and I
wonder what that does to your nerves, given the fact you've worked for this
all your life."
Next, Gibson reticently inquired about Clinton:
"Let me ask you, and this'll be the last time I'll ask this question in
the campaign, but why don't you use the President? He so obviously wants to
campaign more than for just his wife. You do have a record of a lot of
prosperity in the last eight years, and yet you seldom mention that, and he is
said to feel that you're sort of throwing away the accomplishments of the last
eight years....And there'll be no joint appearances with him for this
Gibson then got to the Russia deal question, but only
because a viewer raised the topic:
questions for you from our audience through our Web site, and a number of them
concerned a piece of legislation that you co-authored with John McCain in
1992. Under that legislation, sanctions would be imposed against any countries
that sold advanced weapons to terrorist nations, like Iran, and now comes word
that there was a secret agreement made with the Russians in 1995, that you
signed with Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, at that time Prime
Minister Chernomyrdin, which gave Russia a pass on that situation. Let me just
voice the questions as they were submitted. Arlon Andrews, Corpus Christi,
Texas: 'Why did you make a secret arms deal with Chernomyrdin and not tell
Congress about it?' Rob Williams, Hawthorne, California: 'How do you explain
the secret arms agreement?' Scott Fisher, Portland, Maine: 'Did you allow
Russian weapon sales to Iran to continue in defiance of the law you personally
Gibson followed up: "Senator McCain himself said
that this agreement was intended to evade sanctions and Senator McCain says
the argument that these weapons, the weapons that were sold were not covered
by the agreement is provably false."
As noted above, the New York Times first revealed
Gore's deal with Chernomyrdin back on October 13 in a front page story the
networks ignored. Here's an excerpt of the story by John Broder:
In June 1995, Vice President Al Gore signed a secret agreement with Viktor
S. Chernomyrdin, then the Russian prime minister, calling for an end to all
Russian sales of conventional weapons to Iran by the end of 1999.
But the deadline passed with no sign of a halt to such sales, despite
repeated complaints late last year and this year to senior Russian officials
by Mr. Gore, Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and Deputy Secretary of
State Strobe Talbott. Moscow continues to be a significant supplier of
conventional arms to Tehran despite the Gore-Chernomyrdin deal, the Central
Intelligence Agency reported in August.
The 1995 agreement allowed Moscow to fulfill existing sales contracts
for specified weaponry, including a diesel submarine, torpedoes,
anti-ship mines and hundreds of tanks and armored personnel
carriers. But no other weapons were to be sold to Iran, and
all shipments were to have been completed by last Dec. 31.
In exchange for the Russian promises, the United States pledged not to seek
penalties against Russia under a 1992 law that requires sanctions against
countries that sell advanced weaponry to
countries the State Department classifies as state sponsors
of terrorism. Iran is on that list.
Though Mr. Gore and Mr. Chernomyrdin mentioned an arms agreement in general
terms at a news conference the day it was signed, the details have never been
disclosed to Congress or to the public.
The Gore-Chernomyrdin agreement appeared to undercut a 1992 law, the
Iran-Iraq Arms Nonproliferation Act, known as Gore-McCain after its principal
sponsors, Mr. Gore, then a senator from Tennessee, and Senator John McCain,
the Arizona Republican. The law was rooted in concerns about Russian sales to
Iran of some of the same weapons that the Gore-Chernomyrdin agreement
Senator McCain said this month that he was unaware of the deal that Mr.
Gore struck with Mr. Chernomyrdin, which was codified in a document stamped
"Secret" and signed in Moscow on June 30, 1995. Mr. McCain said a
"strong case can be made" that the Russian delivery of arms,
especially the submarine, should have triggered sanctions against Moscow under
the provisions of the Gore-McCain law.
"If the administration has acquiesced in the sale, then I believe they
have violated both the intent and the letter of the law," he said.
For the full story, go to:
The following Tuesday, the Washington Times advanced the
story, but that night only FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume picked up on
it. "Letter Shows Gore Made Russian Deal: Arms sales violation kept from
Congress," read the headline. Bill Gertz began his October 17 report:
Vice President Al Gore, at the urging of Russian Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin, agreed to keep secret from Congress details
of Russia's nuclear cooperation with Iran beginning in late 1995.
In a classified "Dear Al" letter obtained by The Washington
Times, Mr. Chernomyrdin told Mr. Gore about Moscow's confidential nuclear deal
with Iran and stated that it was "not to be conveyed to third parties,
including the U.S. Congress."
But sources on Capitol Hill said Mr. Gore withheld the information from key
senators who normally would be told of such high-level security matters.
The Gore-Chernomyrdin deal, disclosed in a letter labeled
"secret," appears to violate a provision of the Nuclear
Non-proliferation Act, which requires the Clinton administration to keep
congressional oversight committees fully informed of all issues related to
nuclear weapons proliferation.
The Chernomyrdin letter on nuclear cooperation with Iran follows a report
in the New York Times last week showing that Mr. Gore reached a secret deal
with Russia several months earlier that appears to circumvent U.S. laws
requiring the imposition of sanctions on
Russia for its conventional arms sales to Iran....
Gore spokesman Jim Kennedy said: "It's obvious that the motivation for
this leak is political." The letter "simply appears to be part of
the overall United States effort to encourage the Russians to break off or
limit their nuclear relationship with Iran," Mr. Kennedy said in a
statement last night.
The Dec. 9, 1995, letter on Iranian nuclear cooperation states that the two
leaders' discussions as part of a special commission had
resulted in "clarity and mutual understanding" on the matter.
The letter said there were "no new trends" in Moscow's sale of
nuclear equipment to Iran since a 1992 agreement. It also states that Russia
and the United States would seek to prevent the "undermining of the
nuclear arms non-proliferation program."
Mr. Chernomyrdin said Moscow's program of building a nuclear reactor in
Iran would be limited to training technicians in Russia,
and the delivery of "nuclear fuel for the power plant for the years 2001
"The information that we are passing on to
you is not to be conveyed to third parties, including the U.S. Congress,"
Mr. Chernomyrdin said. "Open
information concerning our cooperation with Iran is obviously a different
matter, and we do not object to the constructive use of such information. I am
counting on your understanding."....
text of a Campaign 2000 Media Reality Check by the MRC's Tim Graham,
distributed by fax this afternoon, titled: "Is It Civil To Suggest Bush
Is a Killer? Media's Willie Horton Ad Bashers Sit in Stony Silence While
NAACP Ad Is Denounced by Bob Kerrey."
The pull-out quote recited the narration over a new
NAACP TV ad which features a semi-reenactment of the infamous and brutal James
Byrd murder: Black and white video of a pick-up truck's door closing and the
pick-up then dragging a long chain down a dirt road. In her own voice,
Byrd's daughter recounted:
"I'm Renee Mullins,
James Byrd's daughter. On June 7, 1998, in Texas, my father was killed. He was
beaten, chained and then dragged three miles to his death -- all because he
was black. So when Governor George W. Bush refused to support hate crimes
legislation, it was like my father was killed all over again. Call George W.
Bush and tell him to support hate crimes legislation. We won't be dragged away
from our future."
Now the text of the October
26 Media Reality Check:
In 1988 (and 1989, 1990, 1991, and 1992), the media slammed George H. W.
Bush for suggesting (or gaining from independent ads declaring) that Michael
Dukakis released a convicted murderer on a furlough program who traveled to
Maryland and raped a woman. Willie Horton became famous not for his crimes,
but as a symbol of Republican nastiness and race-baiting.
But the media silence so far is deafening over the new ad campaign by the
NAACP. Over black and white video of a truck dragging a chain, James Byrd's
daughter suggests George W. Bush killed her father all over again. Floyd
Brown's media-pulverized 1988 ad never found the family of Horton's murder
victim and said when Dukakis released him for the weekend, it was like Dukakis
was stabbing him all over again.
Fox News Channel has reported and shown the ad. CNN substitute Crossfire
co-host Tucker Carlson asked Sen. Bob Kerrey last night if Gore should
denounce the ad or ask it to be discontinued. Kerrey said: "I'll say it's
racially divisive and offensive and take it off the air...it's apt to actually
be counterproductive. I can't imagine it's going to persuade very many
But the media's civility referees and race-card cops let liberal black
leaders say whatever they want without fear of controversy. On Tuesday night,
BET talk show host Tavis Smiley talked about the death penalty on CNBC's
Rivera Live: "As far as I'm concerned, Bush in Texas is nothing more than
a serial killer."
Over the years, The Washington Times has spotlighted the intemperate
remarks of NAACP leader Julian Bond: In 1997, he told CNN he
"wholeheartedly believes" Camille Cosby's charge that
"America taught our son's [Ukrainian] killer to hate
African-Americans." Bond said in the Reagan years, Republicans were
"a crazed swarm of right-wing locusts" waging an "assault on
the rule of law."
The NAACP's candidate, Al Gore, tells black audiences about Republicans:
"They use colorblind the way duck hunters use their duck blind. They hide
behind it and hope the ducks won't figure out what they're up to."
(On today's Good Morning America, ABC's Charles Gibson didn't ask Gore
about the NAACP.)
Two years ago, the Missouri Democratic Party ran this radio ad: "When
you don't vote, you let another church explode. When you don't vote, you allow
another cross to burn. When you don't vote, you let another assault wound a
brother or sister. When you don't vote, you let the Republicans continue to
cut school lunches and Head Start." Only Fox reported on that ad.
But on September 20, 2000, CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer warned a
Missouri commercial "has led to charges tonight that racist tactics are
being used in an effort to sway voters to vote Republican." The ad
featured a woman worrying about her son running with the wrong crowd:
"That was a bit more diversity than he could handle." Reporter Bill
Whitaker relayed: "A disparaging remark about diversity. Democrats call
it 'race-baiting.'" He concluded with 1988: "And ugly or not, they
can work. The controversial Willie Horton ad by an outside group helped George
W. Bush's father win the presidency by painting Michael Dukakis as soft on
If the media were fair, they'd show the NAACP ad for the next 12 years
END Media Reality Check
+++ See the NAACP ad for yourself and hear comment about
it from the panel on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume. During the
roundtable segment on Tuesday night, October 24, Hume's show became the
first and so far only TV network program to play it. Morton
Kondracke of Roll Call was appalled: "The NAACP ought to be ashamed of
itself." Not signing a hate crimes bill is like a murder? "Talk
about an outrageous exaggeration."
Washington Times reporter Bill Sammon pointed out how on
the campaign trail Al Gore reminds audiences that the Byrd murder happened in
Even the liberal Mara Liasson of NPR found the NAACP
point unpersuasive: "It's unclear what hate crimes legislation would do
or might have done to prevent this horrific thing from happening."
To view the ad and a bit of the FNC panel's evaluation
of it, go to the MRC home page where Webmaster Andy Szul has just posted
RealPlayer clip: http://www.mrc.org
West Wing debuted its 30-something "blond Republican babe" character
Wednesday night, but by the end of the hour she was rebuking her Democratic
administration-hating friends, obviously characters meant to conjure up
Clinton-haters. She lectured them about how all the people she met on the
White House staff "have been extraordinarily qualified, their intent is
good, their commitment is true. They are righteous and they are
Before that scene, however, viewers were treated to her
lecturing a liberal White House aide: "This White House that feels that
government is better for children than parents are, that looks at 40 years of
degrading and humiliating free lunches handed out in a spectacularly failed
effort to level the playing field and says let's try 40 more."
She also contended the aide only favored gun control
because he doesn't "like the people" who own guns: "Think
about that the next time you make a joke about the South."
On the October 25 episode, in addition to a subplot
revolving around greedy pharmaceutical companies unwilling to provide free
drugs to everyone in Africa suffering from AIDS, viewers were introduced to
the new character, lawyer "Ainsley Hayes" played by Emily Procter.
In the opening scene, she trounced White House aide "Sam Seaborn,"
played by Rob Lowe, on a TV talk show. Her prowess impressed Democratic
"President Bartlet," played by Martin Sheen, who ordered her hired
for the counsel's office despite her contrary political ideology.
Chief-of-Staff "Leo McGarry" invited her to
the White House and she agreed to think about his offer. Later, she returned
to tell McGarry she didn't want the job but while waiting to see him she ran
into Seaborn and aide "Josh Lyman," played by Bradley Whitford. When
Seaborn suggested she just wanted to be a TV star, she fired back with some
conservative spin rarely heard in prime time:
"You think because
I don't want to work here it's because I can get a better gig on Geraldo?
Gosh, let's see if there could possibly be any other reason why I wouldn't
want to work in this White House. This White House that feels that government
is better for children than parents are, that looks at 40 years of degrading
and humiliating free lunches handed out in a spectacularly failed effort to
level the playing field and says let's try 40 more. This White House that
says to anyone that points that out to them, that they are cold, mean and
racist and then accuses Republicans of using the politics of fear. This White
House that loves the Bill of Rights, all of them, except the second one."
Seaborn, referring to how Lyman and the President had
been shot weeks before, reprimanded her: "This is the wrong place to talk
about guns right now. I thought your column was idiotic."
"Imagine my surprise."
"But for a brilliant surgical team and two centimeters of a miracle
[turning to Lyman] this guy's dead right now from bullets fired from a gun
bought legally. They bought guns, they loaded them, they drove from Wheeling
to Rosslyn and until they pulled the trigger they had yet to commit a crime. I
am so off the charts tired of the gun lobby tossing around words like
'personal freedom' and nobody calling them on it. This is not about
personal freedom and it certainly has nothing to do with public safety. It's
just that some people like guns."
"Yes they do. But you know what's more insidious than that? Your gun
control position doesn't have anything to do with public safety and it's
certainly not about personal freedom. It's about you don't like people who
do like guns. You don't like the people. Think about that the next time you
make a joke about the South."
The Hayes character puts politeness and respect for the
views of others ahead of ideological differences, sort of a combination of Dr.
Laura and Ross Perot, a personality which came through loud and clear minutes
later. Unable to meet with McGarry she left the White House, without having
given him an answer, and met a couple of her conservative friends, a man and a
woman, at a restaurant.
Upon sitting down, the man salivated about McGarry's
reaction to her rejecting his overture. When she informed him she didn't get
to talk to him, he exclaimed: "Damn, I wanted you to say it to his face.
I wanted to see-"
The woman friend jumped
in: "I hate these people."
The man wondered: "Did you meet anyone there who
Hayes, becoming upset,
ordered: "Don't say that."
Man: "Did you meet
anyone there who has any-"
Hayes lectured: "I
said don't say that. Say they're smug and superior. Say their approach to
public policy makes you want to tear your hair out. Say they like high taxes
and spending your money. Say they want to take your guns and open your
borders, but don't call them worthless. At least don't do it in front of
me. The people that I have met have been extraordinarily qualified, their
intent is good, their commitment is true. They are righteous and they are
After a dramatic pause Hayes revealed, apparently
prompted by her disgust of her friends' attitudes, that she had changed her
mind and would join the White House staff: "And I'm their lawyer."
She then got up and walked away from the table.
To be continued on NBC on Wednesday, November 1.
pieces of analysis now online from Rich Noyes, Director of the MRC's Free
Market Project. The fresh articles in the October
-- News Media Promoted Pro-Gore Tax Activist as
Can a Hollywood producer
offer an objective review of his own movie? Most people would probably say no
-- once they stopped laughing, that is. But something comparable happened when
one network turned to a liberal activist and made him an honorary member of
their "Truth Squad" after a TV debate between the two presidential
For the rest of the article, go to:
-- Gore Spin Echoed by Network Correspondents In
Coverage of Texas Education Study
understand that politically significant reports and studies don't merely pop
up on the media landscape in a presidential campaign's waning days. That's
one reason why it was so unusual to see the networks rush to highlight a RAND
Corporation study on Texas education that was being heavily promoted
by the Gore campaign. Knowing that the report greatly aided Gore's cause,
both ABC and NBC pushed the story two days in a row on their morning news
shows, while all three broadcast networks
featured the report at the top of their evening broadcasts on October 24....
For the complete analysis, go to:
To read past MediaNomics articles, go to:
The news and bias never stops. Back with more tomorrow. -- Brent Baker
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