Networks on China: Still Soft on Defense
Bipartisan House Report on Missilegate Gets Just Seconds
After months of media groaning
about the lack of bipartisanship in the impeachment debate, on December
30 a special select House committee of five Republicans and four
Democrats released a unanimous report which concluded that U.S.
technology deals with China over the last 20 years have boosted the
accuracy of their missiles and harmed America’s national security.
Of the broadcast networks, only
CBS considered it worth a full story. ABC’s World News Tonight
gave it a piddling 22 seconds and NBC Nightly News allocated 26.
FNC and CNN also provided full stories, but only FNC reminded viewers
that Loral’s Chairman donated $100,000 to Democrats just before his
company earned a technology transfer waiver.
The next morning, ABC and NBC
aired even less, although the December 31 New York Times advanced
the story by revealing the panel found China had stolen military-related
American technology from American nuclear labs. NBC’s Today aired
nothing while ABC’s Good Morning America allowed 17 seconds in
the 8am newscast.
It wasn’t just the official
House probe that the networks ignored. New York Times reporter
Jeff Gerth continued to plug away with front-page dispatches on the
December 9: Gerth relayed: "A secret Pentagon report concludes that
Hughes Space and Communications, without proper authorization, gave
China technological insights that are crucial to the successful
launchings of satellites and ballistic missiles." Network coverage:
December 15: Gerth, David Johnston, and Don Van Natta presented an
overview: "Federal authorities have unearthed new evidence that
Beijing’s efforts were part of a broader campaign to obtain access to
high technology," contradicting the earlier view that donations were
meant to swing specific elections. "Investigators now believe
contributions were intended to enhance the political standing of those
passing along the contributions to Democratic causes, to give them clout
in arguing for favorable policies on trade and technology." Network
December 24: Gerth revealed CIA officers in China "told headquarters
in March 1996 that a consultant who worked for American aerospace
companies had made payments to Chinese officials in hopes of getting
lucrative contracts...The cable languished in CIA files for more than
two years." The consultant, Bansang Lee, was a Chinese-American who
worked for both Hughes and Loral. Network coverage? Zero.
Home | News Division
| Bozell Columns | CyberAlerts
Media Reality Check | Notable Quotables | Contact
the MRC | Subscribe