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CyberAlert -- 04/06/1999 -- Broadcast Nets Suppress China-DNC; Couric Deplored "Right-Wing"

Broadcast Nets Suppress China-DNC; Couric Deplored "Right-Wing"

1) Only CNN considered newsworthy the news that China's military intelligence chief gave Johnny Chung $300,000 to give to the DNC. Zilch morning and evening on the broadcast networks though GMA made time for how baseball fans will consume 26 million hot dogs.

2) ABC News confused the Atlantic with the Adriatic, labeling the body of water between Italy and Montenegro: "Atlantic Ocean."

3) Today's Katie Couric lamented with Ann Richards how the right-wing is "alienating" moderates and that the climate "established by religious zealots or Christian conservatives" led to the James Byrd Jr. and Matthew Shepard murders.


>>> Gore Gaffes picked up by two nationally syndicated columnists. Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe and Paul Greenberg of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette have penned columns about Gore's gaffes and the lack of media interest in them as documented by the March 25 edition of the MRC's Media Reality Check fax report. Both columns should remain on their paper's Web site's for the rest of this week. To read Jacoby's April 5 column, "Say What, Mr. Gore?", go to: http://www.boston.com/globe/columns/jacoby. To read Paul Greenberg's April 4 piece, "Vice President Bore," go to: http://www.ardemgaz.com/today/Sun/edi/wopgreenberg4.html. To check out the MRC fax report by Tim Graham which features a 1993 video clip of Al Gore at Monticello asking of busts of Washington, Franklin and Lafayette: "Who are these people?", go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/1999/fax19990325.html. The MRC's video page features a CNN story that includes a clip of Gore boasting in 1988 of tobacco: "I've put it in the plant beds and transferred it. I've hoed it. I've suckered it. I've sprayed it." Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/biasvideo.html and then scroll down to the clip dated 3/24. <<<

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cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) On Monday only CNN, which gave the story 29 seconds on The World Today, considered newsworthy Sunday's Los Angeles Times scoop about how Johnny Chung told a federal grand jury that in 1996 the chief of military intelligence for China gave him $300,000 to donate to the Democratic National Committee to help re-elect Bill Clinton. Not a syllable about the revelation aired on the broadcast networks Monday morning or evening nor, surprisingly, on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume or Fox Report Monday night, though it should be noted FNC has done quite a bit on this general subject over the past year. Not even the intriguing news about how the FBI thought a "hit squad" may have been sent from China to silence Chung interested the networks.

The broadcast networks cannot claim Kosovo war coverage consumed all their time as the morning and evening shows found time for stories on topics such as a sinking freeway, controversy over FDA approval of a drug to prevent breast cancer, luggage theft, how many hot dogs baseball fans will consume this season, and the White House Easter Egg Roll.

As documented in the April 5 CyberAlert, the April 4 LA Times story generated a question each on Fox News Sunday and Meet the Press, but was ignored Sunday night by ABC, CBS and CNN. (NBA Basketball bumped NBC Nightly News.) To read the Monday CyberAlert item with excerpts from the Los Angeles Times piece, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990405.html#2 To read the entire 3,500 word LA Times story, go to: http://www.latimes.com/HOME/NEWS/POLITICS/NATPOL/lat_china990404.htm

-- April 5 Evening Shows. Zilch on the Chinese military intelligence-Clinton link, but in addition to pieces on Libya turning over suspects in the Pan Am 103 bombing case and a plea bargain in the Matthew Shepard case, the networks made time for less serious and/or less than pressing stories.
ABC's World News Tonight: An "It's Your Money" segment by Judy Muller on how the 105 Freeway is sinking in Los Angeles because of underground water.
CBS Evening News: A brief item on how baseball's opening day in Los Angeles featured a Dodgers pitcher with a $100 million contract. Plus, Ray Brady delivered an Eye on America piece on tax "kinks," specifically how a Kansas family with 13 kids which earns $90,000 was hit with the Alternative Minimum Tax.
NBC Nightly News: A feature story by Robert Bazell on the controversy over FDA approval of Tamoxifen (sp?), a drug meant to prevent breast cancer.

-- April 5 Morning Shows. Kosovo dominated, but even within the first hour ABC and NBC found room for other material, though not China, as did CBS in its prime 8am half hour. In other words, the examples of other stories cited below do not even touch the fluff aired in the second half of the shows.
ABC's Good Morning America, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson documented, featured 7am news stories on baseball's opening game in Monterey, Mexico, and how the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council says baseball fans will consume at least 26 million hot dogs during Major League games this season. A 7am half hour interview segment looked at the Pan Am case and 7:30am half hour segments focused on the Jenny Jones trial and how to avoid luggage thefts at airports.
CBS's This Morning, MRC analyst Brian Boyd noted, devoted its last segment in its prime 8am half hour to travel tips for New Years Eve 1999.
NBC's Today, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens observed, read items on the 7am news about opening day in Mexico and a strike by submarine builders in Newport News. Like GMA, Today dedicated a 7am interview segment to the Pan Am bombing. During the 7:30am half hour Today explored the case in North Carolina in which two 11-year-olds shot their parents, killing their father. (In the 8am half hour Today went live to the White House with Al Roker at the Easter Egg Roll where he talked with actress Jamie Lee Curtis.)

-- CNN. Anchor Jim Moret squeezed in a 29-second item on the April 5 The World Today. During Inside Politics, in a story previewing Tuesday's arrival in Los Angeles of China's premier, Chris Black gave the latest allegations nine seconds: "The visit comes on the heels of allegations China may have stolen sensitive missile technology in the 1980s and claims by a former Democratic fundraiser that a Chinese official gave him $300,000 to support President Clinton's re-election, a violation of U.S. law. And then, there is the perennial issue of human rights in China...."

Anchor Judy Woodruff then talked to Brooks Jackson about the Chung revelations. He emphasized how only about $35,000 of the $300,000 made it to the DNC and that there's "no evidence" Democratic official or Bill Clinton knew where the money came from, though he added that maybe they should have known. Jackson also pointed out that last year on May 15 the New York Times first broke the same basic story, about how Chung received money from the Chinese Army, to which the LA Times has added details.

Indeed, Jackson is correct, which reminded me how CBS and NBC also ignored that New York Times story. As reported in the Monday, May 18, 1998 CyberAlert:

Two big developments on the campaign fundraising scandal front, but the networks barely noticed. Friday's New York Times linked Democratic money to China's People's Liberation Army. On Sunday, both the New York Times and Washington Post featured front page reports on how the Justice Department had launched an investigation into, as the May 17 Post put it, "whether a Clinton administration decision to export commercial satellites to China was influenced by contributions to the Democratic Party during the 1996 campaign." Some foreign policy observers have suggested China's improved missile abilities may have pushed India to hold the nuclear test last week.

So, you have two big stories involving substantive policy issues, none of that sex stuff so many in the media criticize Starr for delving into. And how do the networks react? In three weekday evenings (Friday to Sunday) only ABC aired full stories on both developments. Neither CBS or NBC mentioned the Sunday newspaper reports on the China satellite/missile deal.

-- Three day total CBS Evening News time devoted to either development: 27 seconds.
-- Three day total NBC Nightly News time devoted to either development: 15 seconds.
-- From Friday through Sunday evening total number of nights CBS or NBC aired a scandal story: 1.

But before you think that they would have provided thorough coverage if it weren't for Frank Sinatra's passing, check out some of the topics they made time to explore: "Powerball fever," collecting blues albums, and the effort by scientists to determine if Thomas Jefferson had offspring with slave Sally Hemings.

And no major scandal news cycle would be complete without the usual disconnect between Tim Russert and the actual content of the network news division for whom he serves as a Vice President. On Meet the Press he called the revelations "devastating." That night and the night before the total amount of coverage on NBC Nightly News: Zip, zero, nada.

END CyberAlert Excerpt

Finally, the MRC's Tim Graham checked to see how the network news sites treated the LA Times disclosure. He reported that as of Monday afternoon the CBS News and NPR Web sites had nothing, abcnews.com and msnbc.com carried an AP dispatch while CNN's AllPolitics site led with China's denial of Chung's charges. Time Daily had a link to the CNN story in its brief titled "Embraceable Zhu," in which Frank Pellegrini reported: "Luckily for the Chinese economic czar (think Alan Greenspan with Al Gore's title), not only is there a war going on, but Congress is on vacation for most of his eight-day visit. TIME U.N. correspondent William Dowell thinks that with Kosovo dominating the airwaves, Zhu may be able to get under the radar and lay the groundwork for a deal. 'Zhu is a capitalist reformer, a very pragmatic guy who speaks the language of free trade that the West wants to hear,' he says. 'With Congress on recess, he'll be able to seek out the members that he needs to convince, and try to assuage their doubts.' The rest will just have to fight for face time with those fireballs in Belgrade."

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atlantic0406.jpg (9751 bytes)cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) ABC's oceanography-challenged graphics department. Can you take a cruise on a ship from New York City to Montenegro or Venice and never leave the Atlantic Ocean? In the real world you'd have to go through the Mediterranean Sea, Ionian Sea and Adriatic Sea, but not according to an ABC News graphic shown on Friday's World News Tonight.

Alert CyberAlert readers Mike Kerns and family of Washington state alerted me to the map shown during the first story on the April 2 show. Peter Jennings opened the program by going to Morton Dean on the phone from Belgrade with the latest on NATO bombing of the capital city. ABC put his picture on the screen over a map of the area. Between Dean's picture on the top left of the screen and his name across the bottom of the screen, ABC had this label for the body of water between Italy and Montenegro: "Atlantic Ocean."

Ooops. That would be the Adriatic Sea.

It's been a bad few days for the World News Tonight graphics team and they can't blame the NABET strike since it's long over. Monday's World News Tonight put this name on-screen during a story by their own Judy Muller: "Judy Miller."

+++ See ABC's confused map. Tuesday morning the MRC's Sean Henry will post a still shot of ABC's mislabeled map and a video clip of Jennings talking to Dean over it. Go to the MRC's home page after 10am ET: http://www.mrc.org

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cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) Where was Katie Couric the evening of March 3, the night ABC's 20/20 featured Barbara Walters' interview with Monica Lewinsky? She was not home watching it. No, the Today co-host was at the 92nd Street Y in New York City bemoaning with former Texas Governor Ann Richards how the right-wing is "alienating so many moderate Republicans in this country" and how "the climate that some say has been established by religious zealots or Christian conservatives" led to the James Byrd Jr. and Matthew Shepard murders.

We know about how Couric spent her evening thanks to C-SPAN, which on Saturday night, April 3, as part of its "American Perspectives" series, played a tape of the March 3 event in Manhattan with the liberal former Governor of Texas. Both appeared side-by-side in chairs on stage with Couric posing her own questions and later reading some passed up by the audience.

Picking up on the event of the day, Couric asked Richards about Lewinsky, prompting this tirade from Richards which pleased the audience: "The right-wing has cut off the opportunities for women to get ahead by trying to kill affirmative action everywhere. And now they're trying to cut it off from us sleeping around to get ahead. You know there have been some perfectly good big salaries, big titles that have come as a consequence of little liaisons like this. And now these right-wing nuts are going to slam that door too."

The audience guffawed. That's what Manhattanites consider humorous.

Couric did ask one devil's advocate question in he 90-minute plus session, about whether Americans should expect better behavior from their President, but she soon returned to questions which assumed the Republican Party was too extreme:
"Governor Richards, I think it's been reported increasingly lately that the Republican Party realizes, especially moderate members of the party, that they have a real identity crisis and a real split within the party -- people like Christie Todd Whitman etc. And they had a meeting down in Florida I believe where they talked about the only people that still liked them are what businesspeople and who else did they say, one other subset of the population, it was pretty small. So do you think that they are going to fix the party? Don't you think they might somehow bring it more to the center? They realize they are alienating so many moderate Republicans in this country."

A bit later Couric remained eager to please Richards. Note how she says her question "is actually not necessarily about the right-wing," but then proceeds to impugn "Christian conservatives" as if they are in another category:
"Let's talk a little bit more about the right-wing because I know that's something you feel very strongly about. But this is actually not necessarily about the right-wing but perhaps a climate that some say has been established by religious zealots or Christian conservatives. There have been two recent incidents in the news I think that upset most people in this country -- that is the dragging death of James Byrd Junior and the beating death of Matthew Shepard. I just would like you to reflect on whether you feel people in this country are increasingly intolerant, mean-spirited etcetera and what if anything can be done about that because a lot of people get very discouraged when they hear and see this kind of brutality taking place."

(That's just like how she blamed the Christian Right on the Today show just after Shepard's murder. Check out the CyberAlerts at the time: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1998/cyb19981015.html#3 and: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1998/cyb19981016.html#5)

Richards replied by recalling how Dallas was "full of hatred" at the time of Kennedy's assassination, with "right-wingers" disrupting a speech by former Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson.

At least they didn't shoot him. A left-wing, communist-supporting guy murdered Kennedy. -- Brent Baker

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