CyberAlert -- 10/20/1999 -- Gore's Treaty Flip-Flop

Gore's Treaty Flip-Flop; Fishing With Wen Ho Lee; Spend or Hike Taxes

1) Another incarnation of the George W. Bush drug charge and Al Gore's flip-flop on the nuclear test ban treaty were uniquely picked up by the Fox News Channel on Tuesday night.

2) NBC found a man happy to pay more in Social Security taxes, only NBC's Pete Williams implicated the Clinton team in a diversion to a Chinese missile plant and CBS's Bob Schieffer used the language and spin of campaign finance "reform" advocates.

3) NBC's Andrea Mitchell went fishing with Wen Ho Lee days after CNN disclosed the secret files he downloaded cannot be located.

4) Number 8 in the MRC's Top Ten Gumbel Stumbles leading to Gumbel's November 1 debut on CBS's The Early Show: Gumbel took on Ken Starr.

5) The only choices in Washington: Fund everything with available revenue or raise taxes. Forget about actually cutting spending.

>>> A new MagazineWatch is now up on the MRC home page. The October 19 edition, compiled by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens, looks at these topics in the October 25-dated issues of the three news magazines:
1. Like the rest of the national media, the news magazines are angry at both sides of the aisle over the failure of the nuclear test-ban treaty. But the real danger came from conservatives. Newsweek blamed "conservatives" and "hardliners" but found no "liberals." U.S. News & World Report singled out "a handful of conservative turks," and owner Mort Zuckerman claimed Republicans 'border on xenophobia.'
2. Campaign 2000: The same reporters who pooh-pooh tax cuts as a long way down the public's list of pet issues decides Al Gore is brilliant for tapping into the apparently overwhelming voter demand for a nuclear test-ban treaty.
3. Time repeatedly championed liberated avant-garde sexuality. James Poniewozik wanted more gay love scenes on TV right away, and Richard Zoglin championed Hillary-loving playwright Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues.
4. U.S. News discovered Clinton crony Webster Hubbell found friends in "high" places, speaking out against the Ken Starr team free of charge before the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
To read these items, go to: <<<


Al Gorecyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) Tuesday night, October 19, FNC uniquely picked up on hits on presidential candidates George W. Bush and Al Gore. During FNC's 6pm ET/9pm PT Special Report with Brit Hume reporter Carl Cameron relayed the latest incarnation of the drug charge against Bush and later picked up on how back in the 1988 campaign Al Gore actually raised questions about whether the U.S. should ratify the test ban treaty he has been railing against Senate Republicans for failing to approve.

-- Bush and drugs. Cameron explained that the publication of a new book has revived talk about an August item on about the then-upcoming book:
"In the '60s or the '70s, it said, Bush was ordered by a judge to do community service to clear a drug charge off of his record. That allegation's never been substantiated and in fact it's been denied in categorical, unequivocal terms by the Bush campaign. They've even gone so far to call it science fiction. Still, the allegations now re-surfacing in an afterward to a book by J.R. Hatfield, an author, the book actually coming out just today."

Asked by Hume who Hatfield is, Cameron reported that he's written two books: a biography of actor Patrick Stewart, the captain on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and on the X-Files TV series. As for Salon, Cameron alerted viewers that it's "very pro-Clinton, very anti-Republican. Its publisher David Talbott last year, when they said Henry Hyde had had an affair, said well these are ugly times and they call for ugly measures."

Cameron provided a similar report for the 7pm ET Fox Report.

-- Gore Flip-Flop. Turning to the Democratic side, Cameron revealed:
"Gore has also been blasting Republicans lately for defeating the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty. Well, the Republican National Committee is striking back, circulating a video of Gore, in a 1988 presidential debate, saying he would first need to know that compliance by other nations could be verified in order to support the treaty."
Gore in the '88 campaign debate amongst Democratic candidates in Iowa: "But before doing so, I would pin down the answers to two questions that are important to our national security. First of all, can we firmly verify whether or not the Soviet Union is exploding low yield tests on its territory."
Cameron elaborated: "Republicans, who cited lack of verifiability as they killed the measure last week, say Gore was right eleven years ago and has since flip-flopped. Gore's campaign said verification technology, indeed the world, has changed a great deal since back then."

To see Gore's soundbite from his first presidential run, go to the MRC's home page where Webmaster Sean Henry has posted a RealPlayer clip of Cameron's story. Go to:

National Review's "Washington Bulletin" e-mail report on Tuesday provided more details about Gore's evolving view of the CTBT, noting the debate actually occurred in 1987. Here's an excerpt:

In a 1987 debate on arms control in Des Moines, Iowa, Gore explained that he would not seek a treaty with the Soviet Union until finding out 1) whether it we can "firmly verify" compliance and 2) whether "we need continued tests to assure the reliability of our own nuclear devices." He added that "if we do not have any confidence in the reliability of our deterrent weapons, then we have thrown away deterrence without having anything to substitute for it. Simply good will, good faith, or are we going to take a realistic approach to this?" Jesse Helms was making similar arguments last week.

Gore continued to position himself as a Sam Nunn-style Southern defensehawk during Senate debates in 1988 and 1992. He argued against even a one-kiloton limit on nuclear tests back then. Now, however, he has only scorn for test-ban opponents: "A small, willful group of Republicans listened to a tiny minority of right-wing extremists and took an action that is contrary to what the American people feel." We can only conclude that one of Gore's close relatives must have died in a nuclear test during the last seven years.

END Excerpt


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) The Rand Corporation study raising a link between a vaccine given soldiers and the so-called "Gulf War Syndrome," topped the ABC, CBS and FNC evening shows Tuesday night. CNN and NBC led with the big COLA hike for Social Security recipients and the new inflation numbers.

CBS gave only a few seconds to the indictments against McDonnell Douglas over the transfer of machine tools to a plant making missiles. ABC and NBC offered full stories, but only NBC's Pete Williams implicated the Clinton administration. Of the broadcast networks, only CBS provided a full story on so-called campaign finance reform, with anchor Bob Schieffer employing the language and spin of the anti-free speech side.

-- Social Security benefit and tax hikes are good news. NBC's Mike Jensen first focused on the "good news" for Social Security recipients as they will get an average hike of $19 a month via a 2.4 percent COLA adjustment. In his NBC Nightly News story he also noted that the rise of the income subject to the FICA tax will mean those making over $72,600 will have to pay $223 more a year. But Jensen focused on a man who is pleased to pay more taxes:
"Who gets hit? People making over $72,600 a year, like Jason Dougal, who doesn't mind paying more."
Dougal: "More money put into the system will mean, hopefully, that there will be more money later when I retire in the system."

-- Indictments of McDonnell Douglas, now part of Boeing, and a Chinese firm for false statements about machine tools, sold for the manufacture of commercial airliners, being diverted to a missile plant.

On ABC's World News Tonight Bob Woodruff did note that then-Commerce Secretary Ron Brown in 1993 said his department approved the sale for commercial use only, but skirted around holding the administration culpable, saying only: "Some arms control experts believe the U.S. approved the sale only because it was interested in doing business with China, no matter what the cost."

Over on the NBC Nightly News, reporter Pete Williams concluded with a direct hit at the Clinton political team: "One senior Justice Department official says today's charges are also something of an indictment of the administration for approving a questionable deal in the first place."

-- Campaign finance. Employing the language and spin of regulatory proponents, in introducing an October 19 CBS Evening News story anchor Bob Schieffer intoned:
"Reform legislation to rein in campaign spending, by closing a loophole in the law which allows special interests to give unlimited sums of money to the political parties, all but died in the Senate today. Supporters of the legislation were unable to break a Republican filibuster and bring the legislation to a vote."


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) NBC's Andrea Mitchell went fishing with Wen Ho Lee, at least via telephoto lense. On Tuesday's Nightly News Mitchell showed how nine FBI cars tailed the accused spy when he went fishing as the FBI is "fishing for evidence of espionage."

Following the scenic video, she asserted there's no case for espionage by Lee and she got Energy Secretary Bill Richardson to concede his department did not conduct a "model investigation." Mitchell added: "In fact, the President's own intelligence advisory board, in a scathing report, says the Energy Department, before Richardson took over, botched the case, said the weapons labs had the worst record on secrecy ever encountered."

But as noted in the June 16 CyberAlert, when the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board issued a 57-page report critical of how the Clinton administration handled nuclear lab security after learning of Chinese espionage, NBC Nightly News skipped the story.

A week later when Warren Rudman, the public face of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, appeared before an unprecedented combined hearing of four Senate committees, NBC ran a story, but as noted in the June 23 CyberAlert, Andrea Mitchell "skipped over the report's condemnation of Clinton administration delays in taking any action."

NBC remains more interested in clearing Wen Ho Lee's name, which my be a valid concern, than in implicating members of the Clinton administration or further probing what happened to the data divulged.

Last Thursday, October 14, on CNN's The World Today, Pierre Thomas disclosed:
"CNN has learned U.S. investigators now believe top secret nuclear weapons computer files, downloaded by Wen Ho Lee, cannot be accounted for...Earlier this year, the FBI discovered Lee transferred the legacy codes from a secure computer at the Los Alamos Nuclear Weapons Lab to a non-secure computer. Later, law enforcement sources tell CNN, they figured out, at some point, Lee copied the codes onto a tape or tapes. They say investigators have requested Lee produce all such tapes, and he's yet to do so. The possible loss of the key national security secrets could bolster what some viewed as a shaky case for charging Lee with gross negligence or illegal transfer of classified information. Lee denies any wrongdoing."

Noting that there's no evidence Lee passed any information to the Chinese, Thomas concluded: "That failure to connect Lee to the W-88 espionage left many thinking the investigation was dead. But sources tell CNN the investigation is very much alive. And with the revelation of the missing tapes, the stakes are even higher than previously known."


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) Number 8 in the MRC's Top Ten Gumbel Stumbles, a quote countdown to Bryant Gumbel's return to morning TV on November 1 as co-host of CBS's The Early Show, is now up on the MRC home page in RealPlayer format. In this latest highlight from Gumbel's career as a liberal advocate, he impugned Ken Starr the day after the Lewinsky story broke, demanding of CBS reporter Scott Pelley on the January 21, 1998 edition of his short-lived CBS show Public Eye:
"Scott, as you and I both know, a popular move these days is to make a titillating charge and then have the media create the frenzy. Given Kenneth Starr's track record, should we suspect that he's trying to do with innuendo that which he has been unable to do with evidence?"

To watch this quote and to see Number 7, which will be posted Wednesday morning, go to:


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) Spending cuts not even on the table. Ending an October 19 World News Tonight piece about how both parties have made the Social Security surplus something they promise not to touch, ABC's John Martin observed:
"But now, by swearing not to touch the Social Security surplus, as they have so often in the past, both parties are faced with a problem: either fund everything they want to do with available revenues or raise taxes to do it."

Unfortunately, no bias there as it accurately reflects how neither party is willing to actually cut any spending. -- Brent Baker


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