CyberAlert -- 04/09/1999 -- Busy Beavers Interest NBC, Not Clinton Scandal; Shunting Chinagate

Busy Beavers Interest NBC, Not Clinton Scandal; Shunting Chinagate

1) Today gave more than four times as much time to beavers as to China. GMA allocated 30 seconds to China but a whole interview segment to "C-Day." Zilch on CBS. None touched fundraising.

2) This isn't the first time the networks have decided to skip key developments on the Chinese donations front. The MRC's Media Reality Check documented six other instances.


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) Friday's morning shows, the morning after the joint Zhu-Clinton press conference and the morning of a day when Zhu is scheduled to meet with Vice President Al Gore, failed to pursue any aspect of the China fundraising plot or spying during the Clinton administration.

See the April 9 CyberAlert distributed this morning to learn how the networks punted Thursday morning and night. Go to: To watch a video clip of FNC's unique story by Carl Cameron outlining the money flow from the chief of Chinese intelligence through Lippo, Riady and John Huang, go to the MRC home page to play it via RealPlayer. The direct address:

Back to Friday morning. Not a word on any of the broadcast networks about fundraising and only Today even mentioned spying -- in brief items relaying Zhu's denial. But nothing more on Thursday's New York Times story about how top Clinton administration officials were briefed in 1996 about how China may have obtained neutron bomb technology earlier in Clinton's first term, an occurrence Clinton denied at his March 19 press conference and was questioned about Thursday, thus providing a fresh news hook all the networks ignored.

Today's two updates totaled 38 seconds but, as MRC analyst Mark Drake noticed, the show ran a full report lasting 2:43 on "Beavergate" -- the beavers destroying Cherry trees in Washington, DC. ABC's Good Morning America also looked at the beavers, but for only 22 seconds.

ABC's Good Morning America aired two brief items from news reader Antonio Mora at 7am and 8am totaling 30 seconds on how China failed to get an agreement for it to join the World Trade Organization. CBS's This Morning aired zilch, nada, not a word on China, reported MRC analyst Brian Boyd.

Some more details on the April 9 GMA and Today:

-- ABC's Good Morning America ran a 16-second item in the 7am news update and a 14-second item at 8am but, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson observed, dedicated a full 8am interview segment to a discussion with two couples about how Friday is "C-Day," the best day to conceive in order to give birth on January 1, 2000.

Here's the entirety of news reader Antonio Mora's longer China item: "President Clinton says he'll keep trying to work out an agreement that would allow China into the World Trade Organization. Talks with China's Premier yesterday ended with only some side trade agreements instead. The Chinese leader blamed what he called an anti-Chinese mood in Washington."

A mood certainly not reflected in broadcast network coverage.

-- NBC's Today offered a 16-second item in the 7am news update followed at 7:30 by this longer 22-second item read by Jodi Applegate:
"Today Premier Zhu Rongji of China meets with Vice President Al Gore as he continues his visit to the US. Last night President Clinton hosted a state dinner for Zhu at the White House. Earlier, the Premier said he had no knowledge of his country's stealing nuclear secrets and the two leaders say they made progress on trade, but not enough for the U.S. to support Chinese entry into the World Trade Organization."

A couple of minutes later viewers were treated to almost three minutes about the busy beavers.


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) "Broadcast Blackout on Beijing Bombshell: Networks Go Whistling Past the Graveyard of Democrats' Claims of Innocence on Chinese Connection." Below is the text for the latest MRC Media Reality Check fax report in which the MRC's Tim Graham begins by running through how the networks ignored last Sunday's Los Angeles Times scoop, but then documents how the broadcast networks gave little or no time to six previous major disclosures in the unfolding money from China scandal.

For a more graphically-appealing version of the report, go to:

Here's the April 8 Media Reality Check fax report:

Jaws dropped across America as people learned about the Los Angeles Times Easter bombshell. "The chief of China's military intelligence secretly directed funds from Beijing to help re-elect President Clinton in 1996, former Democratic fundraiser Johnny Chung has told federal investigators." Then jaws dropped at how much time broadcast network news shows devoted to this scoop through Wednesday night. Other than a question on Fox News Sunday and one on Meet the Press, nothing.

Reporters William Rempel, Henry Weinstein, and Alan Miller reported: "Chung says he met three times with the intelligence official, Gen. Ji Shengde, who ordered $300,000 deposited into the Torrance businessman's bank account to subsidize campaign donations intended for Clinton."

The Times also revealed the FBI monitored groups of Chinese visitors in California regarded as a possible hit squad: "The agency responded by imposing extraordinary measures to protect its key witness: more than 40 agents were assigned to guard Chung, his wife and three children for three weeks." The FBI taped a meeting between Chung and a man who said he was an associate of his Chinese business partner Liu Chaoying. The man advised Chung to keep quiet about General Ji: "The businessman advised Chung to go to jail if necessary, assuring Chung that friends in high places would support him. The businessman even suggested that Chung could expect to be pardoned by the President."

None of these details, or the arrival of Chinese premier Zhu Rongji in Los Angeles on Tuesday (or the upcoming state dinner at the White House tonight) has spurred media interest. But this is only the latest Chung media shrug:

-- November 28, 1996: The Los Angeles Times filed its first story on Johnny Chung, located on the front page, which noted he donated $366,000 to the DNC and made 49 visits to the White House. TV coverage? Zero.

-- July 27, 1997: The Los Angeles Times reported Chung said he gave a $50,000 check to Hillary Clinton's chief of staff on the White House grounds, and said the White House was "like a subway, you have to put in the coins to open up the gates." TV coverage? Only NBC aired a full evening story. None of the morning shows followed.

-- August 19, 1997: NBC aired an exclusive interview with Chung, who explained that he arranged a $25,000 check to then-Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary's favorite charity as a bribe to get a meeting. TV coverage? Nothing on ABC, CBS, or CNN.

-- May 15, 1998: The New York Times reported Chung said most of the $100,000 he gave Democrats in the summer of 1996 came from Liu Chaoying, who works on defense modernization for China's People's Liberation Army. TV coverage? ABC gave it 75 seconds, CBS 27, and NBC 15.

-- June 20, 1998: The Washington Post relayed that Chung said Democratic officials knew they were accepting illegal Chinese money. TV coverage? CNN had a story, CBS gave it 19 seconds, and nothing aired on ABC or NBC.

-- July 2, 1998: The Washington Post reported DNC Chairman Don Fowler helped Chung arrange a meeting at the Treasury Department for a state-owned Chinese oil conglomerate. TV coverage? Zero

The pull-out box:

More Evidence of Clinton Coverups
"[The FBI] requested a wiretap on [alleged nuclear weapons spy Wen Ho] Lee. Justice denied it, arguing it did not have sufficient grounds to take to a federal court to get the tap approved. But a look at the Justice Department's record on wiretaps calls that argument into serious question. From 1993 to 1997, federal officials requested 2,686 wiretaps. For all its concern for probable cause and legal standards, the Justice Department turned down one request in those four years -- Lee's in 1996." -- Investor's Business Daily editorial, March 30.

END fax report reprint

Don't have an interesting or humorous closing comment to make today, so I'll end with this lack of a comment. -- Brent Baker


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