Thursday, June 4, 1998 - Vol. Two, No. 23 - Media Inquiries: Keith Appell (703) 683-5004
Clinton's Gift of Loral Missile Expertise Rationalized Away In Magazine's Belated First Stories
Chinagate by U.S. News & World Rebuttal
The new frontier in the
fundraising scandal -- the China missile question -- is being covered in much the same way
the networks covered the old territory: hardly at all. The evening news leader, ABC's
World News Tonight, aired seven full stories in April and May, compared to two on CBS
and two on NBC.
As for the news magazines this week, Time carried nothing, Newsweek
gave half a page. U.S. News & World Report printed its first article, a
four-pager titled "RED SCARE? The sensational rhetoric over the China scandal
obscures a basic question: Is China friend or foe?" The team of reporters made a
series of excuses for the Clinton policy. For example:
Export control is no magic bullet. Foreign competitors offer
technology if we don't. "We fool ourselves if we think export
controls alone can stop the spread of high technology," said Pentagon export chief
William Reinisch. U.S. News added: "For much of this decade, that view has
had a substantial constituency in both parties."
Satellite launches are not the right place to renew export controls.
"Over the next decade, a stunning 1,200 commercial satellites are expected to be
launched, compared with only 298 over the past ten years. In such a tight market, the
incentive to include China's boosters will be hard to resist."
Loral's advice on China's missiles was "geared toward figuring out what
went wrong, not 'improving the Chinese technology.'" So agreed aerospace
expert Jerry Grey. Then an anonymous "administration official" said "the
Chinese can learn 'practically nothing' from a launch conducted according to U.S.
restrictions." In the only GOP quote in the whole article, Rep. Chris Cox stressed
the important nature of any assistance to the aim of Chinese missiles. U.S. News
rebutted: "Arms control experts disagree, noting that accuracy is not important for
China's long-range arsenal, aimed mostly at hitting large cities. Says John Pike of the
Federation of American Scientists: 'It doesn't matter to us or the Chinese what part of
Los Angeles gets blown up.' But what if China's Long March missiles that used to explode
on the ground can now make it to L.A.? U.S. News didn't address the point.
The money issue is muddled. After disdaining a "Chinese
connection" last year, U.S. News mentioned Johnny Chung's People's
Liberation Army connection just long enough to note that by the time of his donation,
Clinton had already approved four waivers and moved the satellite export issue from the
State Department to Commerce. The reporters added: "Although Loral is one of the
Democratic Party's most generous supporters, the other domestic companies that have
received waivers lean Republican."
Is China an enemy? "In the end, the controversy over the Loral
deal may say less about the campaign-finance system than it does about America's
ambivalence toward China." John Pike argued: "If we treat them like a military
adversary, they will become one."
"Commies! Treason! Yippee!" Columnist Gloria Borger used a
column with this title to bash Republicans [see box] and predict Rep. Chris Cox's hearings
would be a failure if they didn't build a case for campaign finance reform. Borger quoted
liberal Rep. Chris Shays: "Some Republicans just want to get people instead of reform
the system. That's why people regard our hearings as witch hunts." U.S. News
isn't a White House watchdog. It's a vehicle for White House damage control. -- Tim
L. Brent Bozell III, Publisher; Brent Baker, Tim Graham, Editors;
Jessica Anderson, Eric Darbe, Geoffrey
Dickens, Tom Roop, Clay Waters, Media Analysts; Kristina Sewell, Research
Associate. For the latest liberal media bias, read the
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