For Interviews: Call Keith Appell (703) 683-5004 - Tuesday, May 25, 1999
Vol. 3, No. 20
Will The Networks Cover Today's Big Report on Chinese Espionage? Past Pattern Sparks Skepticism
Will Chris Cox Get a Soap Box?
Today, a special House task force on Chinese
espionage chaired by Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.) will issue its report. Will the
networks advance this story -- or will they continue to bury it?
1. Fumbled First Report. The Cox committee's first report on December 30, 1998,
drew next to nothing on the Big Three networks.
The first report noted the bipartisan finding that national security was harmed when
the American companies Loral and Hughes Electronics gave the Chinese missile technology
while assisting in satellite launches. That night, ABC gave it 22 seconds, NBC 26. CBS did
a full story, as did CNN and FNC. But only FNC noted Loral's Chairman donated $100,000 to
the Democrats just before his company received a technology-transfer waiver.
Malpractice. The network morning shows have aired only two interviews on Chinese espionage
NBC's Today interviewed Energy Secretary Bill Richardson on March 9. ABC's Good
Morning America interviewed Richardson just yesterday. CBS's This Morning
hasn't done an interview. Yesterday its lead 8am interview asked whether action-figure
toys cause "compulsive weightlifting" and other male maladies. None have
questioned a Congressman or Senator probing Chinese espionage. Tom Brokaw interviewed Cox
on Friday's Nightly News, but the MSNBC Web site transcript revealed they edited
out questions about what the President knew and whether Chinese donations are linked to
3. Koppel Dawdles. Of 55 Nightlines from March 6 (when The New
York Times reported China's theft of nuclear warhead technology) to May 21, Ted
Koppel has only reported on Chinese espionage once.
On March 12, Koppel threw cold water: "There is probably plenty of incompetence
and partisanship to go around, but it is not quite as clear cut as it may seem."
Since then, ABC has aired 31 programs on Kosovo, and explored some less explosive topics:
autism, genetic testing in Iceland, and the oldest guitar manufacturer in America.
4. Lazy on Lies. TV morning and evening shows have mostly avoided the
President's lie about what he knew and when he knew it about espionage on his watch.
In press conferences on March 19 and again on April 8, Bill Clinton denied he'd been
told of Chinese espionage on his watch. When The New York Times revealed on May 2
that Clinton was told last November, only ABC noted the Times story (for 40
seconds), but ignored how it contradicted Clinton's claims.
5. Chung-Free Channels. Several network shows have still said nothing to the
public about Johnny Chung's claim that the head of Chinese military intelligence gave him
$300,000 to give to Bill Clinton and the Democrats.
Despite Chung's May 11 congressional testimony, CBS Evening News, MSNBC's The
News with Brian Williams, ABC's Good Morning America, and NBC's Today
have yet to touch Chung's $300,000 story.
On Sunday, Fox News Channel's Carl Cameron reported for Fox News Sunday on
Johnny Chung's orders: "Above all protect Loral Space and Hughes Electronics."
Cameron noted a wiretap transcript showed Chung was told, "The important part is not
to touch Hughes and Loral.... Matters about Hughes and Loral...they [Chinese superiors]
don't want to see any information that is disadvantageous to them." The Chinese
should be pleased by the Big Three networks' morning and evening inaction. --
L. Brent Bozell III, Publisher; Brent Baker, Tim Graham, Editors;
Jessica Anderson, Brian Boyd, Geoffrey
Dickens, Mark Drake, Paul Smith, Brad
Wilmouth, Media Analysts; Kristina Sewell, Research
Associate. For the latest liberal media bias, read the
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