CyberAlert -- 06/16/1999 -- ABC & NBC Ignored Rudman's Report; Poll: Most Interested In Chinagate
ABC & NBC Ignored Rudman's Report; Poll: Most Interested In Chinagate
1) The ABC and NBC evening shows ignored the report on the nuclear labs from the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board which contradicted Richardson's assurances and criticized Clinton team delays. It got 23 seconds on GMA and Today.
>>> June 14 Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media, is now online. Quote headings include "Dan Rather at Hillary's Heel"; "The Phantom Red Menace"; "Hitting Clinton from Left on Guns"; "'Extremists' Threaten U.S., China"; "CNN: Chinagate Overcovered"; and "Bias Discovered...on Fox." Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/1999/nq19990614.html. For back issues: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/1999/welcome.html <<<
The President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board issued a 57-page report on Tuesday critical of how the Clinton administration handled nuclear lab security after learning of Chinese espionage and recommending that, given Energy Department problems, the labs be run by another agency. Previews of the report's findings were played on the front pages of the Tuesday Los Angeles Times and Washington Times.
Network reaction: full reports on CBS's This Morning and Evening News as well as on CNN and FNC. ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today each allocated a mere 23 seconds. But in the evening: Zilch on ABC's World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News. Instead, ABC and NBC viewers sat through stories on car thefts, curfews and coded sculpture.
Though the report from the Clinton-appointed panel headed by former Republican Senator Warren Rudman offered specific criticisms of the Clinton administration and contradicted Energy Secretary Bill Richardson's insistence that all the problems have been corrected, the broadcast networks largely either ignored the Clinton criticism or, as Dan Rather did, spread the blame around by stressing how secrets were stolen during previous presidencies. Only CBS's Sharyl Attkisson pointed out how the report contradicted Richardson's assurance all is well.
The June 15 Los Angeles Times story by Doyle McManus and Bob Drogin relayed how the report "warned that the labs are still vulnerable to foreign espionage and said that the administration's efforts to tighten security have been well intentioned but tardy and inadequate."
The LA Times
quoted the report: "'Organizational disarray, managerial neglect
and a culture of arrogance -- both at Energy Department headquarters and
the labs themselves -- conspired to create an espionage scandal waiting to
happen,' it said.
Later, the Times reporters noted: "And the report criticized the administration for failing to investigate other possible sources for the leak of advanced nuclear warhead data to China. 'Despite the disclosure of information concerning seven warheads, despite the potential that the source or sources of these disclosures were other than the bomb designers at the national weapons labs and despite the potential that the disclosures occurred as early as 1982, only one investigation was initiated,' the report said."
Here's how each network treated the report on Tuesday, June 15, starting with ABC and then followed out of alphabetical order by CNN, NBC and lastly CBS since it has reporting worth quoting:
-- ABC. GMA news
reader Antonio Mora, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed, announced this
23-second item that didn't mention any Clinton misdeeds:
World News Tonight skipped the report. In addition to pieces on the Kosovo situation, the Pope's health and the gun debate on Capitol Hill, the ABC show found room for A Closer Look at how new "cash balance" retirement plans favored by employers hurt older workers and a story about the successful partial deciphering of a sculpture built at the CIA nine years ago. John Martin noted: "This curved, copper sculpture contains 1,706 letters stacked in 31 rows..." To see the sculpture and what's been de-coded, go to: http://abcnews.go.com/onair/WorldNewsTonight/wnt9990615_ciacode.html
-- CNN. Not a word on Tuesday's Inside Politics, but CNN beat everyone with a story on Monday's The World Today. CNN's Pierre Thomas, MRC analyst Paul Smith observed, also avoided any mention of Clinton delays and focused instead on lab employee resistance to tougher security rules and the panel's call for a separate agency to oversee them.
-- NBC. Like GMA, Today's total coverage on Tuesday was represented by a 23-second item. MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens took down Ann Curry's words: "Today a presidential panel releases a scathing report on spying at the nation's nuclear labs. The report says a culture of arrogance at the Department of Energy and at the labs has made atomic secrets vulnerable to theft for decades. It also says nuclear labs are still resisting reforms. The panel was set up after reports that China had stolen secrets from the Los Alamos lab in New Mexico."
NBC Nightly News ignored the report, preferring to run stories on how one-third of stolen cars are shipped overseas, the ineffectiveness of vehicle anti-theft devices and the controversy over how some murders have prompted the police in Hilton Head, North Carolina to impose a 9pm curfew at a majority-black public housing project.
Anchor Dan Rather
announced: "There is blistering criticism today of security, or lack
of it, at this nation's most-sensitive nuclear weapons labs. Even now,
after disclosure that China got U.S. atomic secrets in the Carter, Reagan,
Bush and Clinton years."
She cited some
examples of security resistance, such as how lab workers are still not
being polygraphed even a year after so ordered. Attkisson uniquely
highlighted how the report contradicted Richardson's assurances:
"Just last month Energy Secretary Bill Richardson declared the
espionage crisis at U.S. nuclear weapons labs over."
Tuesday night CBS and ABC focused on Democratic attacks on how Republicans are improperly watering down gun control legislation, but at least ABC's Linda Douglass noted a top Democrat is leading the charge against the liberal regulations.
the latest prospects for passage of even limited gun control measures
currently before the U.S. House," Dan Rather announced on the June 15
CBS Evening News. One suspects there's no limitation on the First
Amendment that Rather would characterize as "limited."
Over on ABC's
World News Tonight Linda Douglass began by focusing on how Democrats are
upset by the decision to put juvenile measures, such as banning the sale
of violent video games to minors and posting the ten commandments in
schools, into one bill and putting gun control in another. Leading into a
soundbite from Republican David Dreier, Douglass relayed: "Democrats
say putting guns in a separate bill gives the NRA its best chance to
defeat it; Republicans insist that was not their goal."
Now that's standing for principle.
The public does care about Chinese espionage, really. Tuesday's CBS Evening News story on the Rudman report was the show's first mention of Chinagate since May 27, NBC Nightly News hasn't touched the subject since the May 25 release of the Cox Report, and ABC's World News Tonight had avoided it all month as have all the morning shows.
Nonetheless, a Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey taken June 9-13 and released Tuesday found that 55 percent said they followed "very closely" or "fairly closely" the "accusations that China stole nuclear technology from U.S. laboratories." Specifically, 21 percent of the respondents answered "very closely" when asked "if you happened to follow this news story very closely, fairly closely, not too closely, or not at all closely?" Another 34 percent replied "fairly closely." That compares to 43 percent who were not so interested: 22 percent said they followed the China story "not too closely" and 21 percent answered "not closely at all.'
Pretty amazing for a story that was hard to follow on network news.
Tuesday night on CNN's Larry King Live Dan Rather revealed that his show's first feed on Tuesday ran a Gore soundbite, which made a false claim, without telling viewers Gore was wrong, asserted that "I don't think history in the short and medium run will be kind to Ken Starr" and urged Starr to not issue a report critical of Hillary Clinton if he does not indict her.
As detailed in the
June 15 CyberAlert, in the June 14 7pm ET feed carried in Washington, DC,
Rather highlighted how "Vice President Al Gore sees gun control as
one way to define himself and his differences with Bush. Today, addressing
a Mayor's conference, Gore noted almost a quarter of gun murders are
committed by young people under age 20."
In contrast, NBC's Tom Brokaw decisively declared: "That's simply wrong. The Gun Control Act of 1968 made it illegal to sell a handgun to anyone under the age of 21."
Now we learn that the plurality of CBS Evening News viewers (most ET and CT affiliates pick up the 6:30pm ET feed) never learned that they heard a false assertion from Gore.
Asked about the Gore gaffe, on Tuesday's Larry King Live Rather replied: "Well, number one, he certainly misstated the facts. We caught it on the Evening News, and put a note in the second broadcast -- in our subsequent broadcast last night. The answer on both counts is yes and yes, which is to say he misstated the facts, and yes, he should know the law. And my guess is that somebody on the Gore staff caught a lot of hell today about that."
To watch the Monday CBS item on Gore, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/biasvideo.html
For a collection of Gore Gaffe videos, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/goregaffesvideo.html
asked about Starr's legacy. Rather suggested:
Of course it's the media which write short-term history, so Rather is indicting the anti-Starr hostility of his own industry.
King then asked:
"Does he make a report as reported that vilifies the Clintons?"
George W. Bush fell off the network agenda Tuesday night, but Newsweek's
Howard Fineman managed to use his launch weekend to take another potshot
at Republicans. MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens caught this from Fineman on
the June 14 Hardball on CNBC:
So George Bush was full of anger in 1992 and Dole was too in 1996, but not Bill Clinton?
Then we all became the Today bunch. The co-host this fall for the new Later Today show scheduled to run from 9 to 10am weekdays after the regular Today: Florence Henderson, mother "Carol Brady" on the 1969 to 1974 ABC sit-com, The Brady Bunch. I'm not kidding. She's been teamed with Jodi Applegate, current co-host of Today on Saturday and Sunday.
"But how, you
might ask, did the 65-year-old cult figure segue into a co-host gig on an
NBC News program?" mused Washington Post TV columnist Lisa de Moraes.
She provided an answer in her June 15 column which can be sung to the
Brady Bunch theme, well, almost:
Actually, this is a return gig for Henderson. De Moraes reminded her readers: "Before there was the Today show's Barbara Walters, there was Today's Florence Henderson. She was a "Today Girl" in 1959, when Dave Garroway was the program's host, and concepts like "Today Girls" were politically acceptable. Henderson contributed interviews and features to the broadcast."
So much for any pretense that you must be an experienced journalist to host a news show.
Speaking of non-journalists as anchors, George Stephanopoulos had his debut Wednesday morning as co-anchor of ABC's World News Now, the network's overnight show. Most ABC affiliates carry an hour or two of the show between 2 and 5am local time.
For details on how this three-day substitute selection came about, check out an item in the June 14 CyberAlert:
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