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Jennings Suggests Bush Administration Provoked North Korea --2/11/2005


1. Jennings Suggests Bush Administration Provoked North Korea
ABC's Peter Jennings personalized North Korea's boast that it has nuclear missiles as he asserted Thursday night that the communist regime "says it has manufactured nuclear weapons for self-defense against the Bush administration," not against the U.S. as the other networks characterized it. Jennings soon repeated how "the Koreans said today they had nuclear weapons to defend themselves against the Bush administration" and he insisted that "analysts" wondered "what has the Bush administration done, if anything, to incite this kind of talk?"

2. Gergen Claims Hillary Clinton Has "Conservative Social Values"
Hillary Clinton is a social conservative? Without naming an issue on which she holds such a view, on Wednesday's Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN, David Gergen of U.S. News magazine, and a former Clinton White House insider, contended: "She's always had strong religious faith. She's been a strong Methodist. She does have conservative social values on many issues."

3. CBS Publicizes Charges Against Cosby, Suppressed Against Clinton
A stricter standard of sexual behavior for comedians than for Presidents? On Thursday morning, CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith announced they would be interviewing a woman who claims entertainer Bill Cosby sexually fondled her thirty years ago. "This is a tough story to have to talk about," he insisted. But did they "have to" talk about it? When Juanita Broaddrick charged in 1999 that President Clinton had raped her in a hotel room, the CBS Evening News aired one story on a Saturday, but CBS This Morning never interviewed Broaddrick and aired no story on her charges. In the last five years, her name has been uttered on CBS morning shows just twice in passing.


Jennings Suggests Bush Administration
Provoked North Korea

ABC's Peter Jennings ABC's Peter Jennings personalized North Korea's boast that it has nuclear missiles as he asserted Thursday night that the communist regime "says it has manufactured nuclear weapons for self-defense against the Bush administration," not against the U.S. as the other networks characterized it. Jennings soon repeated how "the Koreans said today they had nuclear weapons to defend themselves against the Bush administration" and he insisted that "analysts" wondered "what has the Bush administration done, if anything, to incite this kind of talk?"

CBS's David Martin asserted that "experts say it's North Korea's way of telling the Bush administration what it thinks of the new Secretary of State, who called the north 'an outpost of tyranny,'" but CNN's David Ensor maintained that "analysts in and out of government see North Korea's latest pronouncement as an effort to stave off what Kim Jong Il knows will be intense pressure from the United States and from China to negotiate away its weapons program."

The North Korean regime's English statement did declare that they "have manufactured nukes for self-defense to cope with the Bush administration's ever-more undisguised policy to isolate and stifle" North Korea, but the fact the statement also contained the following nonsense, which the networks skipped over, did not dissuade Jennings and others from treating the slap at the Bush administration as any less credible: "This is nothing but a far-fetched logic of gangsters as it is a good example fully revealing the wicked nature and brazen-faced double-dealing tactics of the U.S. as a master hand at plot-breeding and deception."

See this AP dispatch for more of the statement: story.news.yahoo.com

-- Peter Jennings teased: "On World News Tonight: North Korea says it has manufactured nuclear weapons for self-defense against the Bush administration. Now what does the White House do?"

ABC: Nuclear Weapons Jennings opened his February 10 newscast: "Good evening, everyone. One of the biggest challenges that ever U.S. government has had in the last several decades is trying to figure out North Korea. And when the Koreans said today they had nuclear weapons to defend themselves against the Bush administration, the analysts in Washington and many other countries, scratched their heads and said 'what do the North Koreans want now?' And what has the Bush administration done, if anything, to incite this kind of talk? And why have the North Koreans also said they're pulling out of negotiations to talk about their nuclear program. Only last month, the Koreans were ready, they said, to treat the U.S. as friends. At the Pentagon, our national security correspondent, Martha Raddatz. Martha?"

Raddatz explained: "The dramatic admission was made through an official North Korean news agency. It said [text on screen, with no beginning quote mark but an end one] North Korea 'manufactured' nuclear weapons for self-defense to cope with the Bush administrations's undisguised policy to isolate and stifle' the country. [second on-screen graphic with matching words] The announcer accused the administration of inflaming the situation with recent statements calling North Korea, 'an outpost of tyranny.'
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice: "This is an unfortunate move, most especially probably for the people of North Korea, because it only deepens the North Korean isolation from the rest of the international community."
Raddatz: "Defense Secretary Rumsfeld was more blunt, citing the danger of a nuclear arsenal in the hands of the repressive dictator, Kim Jung Il."
Rumsfeld: "One has to worry about the weapons of that power in the hands of the leadership of that nature."
Raddatz: "The U.S. has long believed that North Korea has at least two nuclear weapons. But today's announcement clearly raises the stakes."
John Wolfsthal, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: "The statement is an attempt by the North Koreans to say if you want us to talk, if you want us to negotiate it's going to cost you. And they're trying to figure out how they determine what that price is."
Raddatz: "The U.S. has limited options. The Bush administration has said numerous times that it will not reward North Korea for what would turn out to be nuclear blackmail. And the Bush administration said numerous times it would not attack the country. Given how thinly stretched the U.S. military is in Iraq, if it wanted to threaten North Korea, it would be difficult. What administration officials urge the country to do today, is return to the bargaining table."
Donald Gregg, former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea: "The longer we go, the farther along hey become, the more equipment they develop, the harder it's going to be to get them to give up that capacity."
Raddatz: "Officials do not believe there is any imminent danger, Peter, because of this statement, but is obviously an urgent diplomatic matter."

Jennings then asked: "Well, as we said before, North Korea is as black a hole in intelligence as anywhere in the world. You've talked to a lot of people today, any consensus of what might be done next?"
Raddatz: "Well there's no consensus. What a lot of analysts believe, and they're as confused by this as anyone, is what North Korea wants is high-level attention. And this is the way they want to get it. They want a more high-profile person involved in these six-party talks. And that may be what they're hoping for, but we're not certain with North Korea."


-- CBS Evening News. Dan Rather avoided blaming the Bush administration as he teased: "Why did North Korea decide that now is the time to finally acknowledge it does indeed have nuclear weapons?"

Unlike ABC and NBC, CBS did not lead with North Korea, but got to it in the first segment: "The White House reacted cautiously today to a dramatic claim, and an implied threat, from North Korea. The secretive communist nation confirmed U.S. intelligence suspicions that it has a nuclear arsenal. CBS's David Martin has more on what was said, and what it could mean for U.S. security."

Martin relayed what North Korea blamed: "In a statement clearly intended for American ears, North Korea's Foreign Minister said, 'we...have manufactured nukes for self-defense.' The CIA has long believed, but never been unable to prove, North Korea has nuclear weapons. What's surprising is that North Korea should suddenly decide to announce it. Experts say it's North Korea's way of telling the Bush administration what it thinks of the new Secretary of State, who called the north 'an outpost of tyranny' during her confirmation hearing. For her part, Condoleezza Rice is unwilling to speculate why North Korea made its announcement."
Rice: "I'm not sure that anyone ever gets very far by trying to second-guess the motivations of the North Korean regime."
Martin: "The experts think the North Koreans were listening for a more positive signal from President Bush in his Inaugural or State of the Union speeches. Hearing none, they adopted a hard line, announcing they are pulling out of negotiations aimed at persuading them to give up their nuclear ambitions."


-- NBC Nightly News. Brian Williams teased: "Armed and dangerous. North Korea says publicly for the first time it has nuclear weapons, and says no to restarting disarmament talks."

Williams led without holding Bush's foreign policy culpable: "Good evening. It's one thing to suspect that one of the last repressive communist regimes on the planet possesses nuclear weapons. It's another thing to hear them admit it. Today North Korea officially announced it has the bomb. And in doing so, the government there criticized the words coming out the United States these days. So we begin with reaction to a dangerous neighbor in a dangerous world. Here's David Gregory at the White House."

Gregory noted: "In a statement, the regime called its arsenal a 'nuclear deterrent for self-defense.' A response to what it called the Bush administration's 'hostile policy' toward the North....The regime President Bush once called part of the 'axis of evil' was apparently startled more recently by tough language from Secretary of State Rice during her confirmation hearing."
Rice, January 18: "To be sure, in our world, there remain outposts of tyranny, and America stands with oppressed people on every continent, in Cuba, and Burma, and North Korea, and Iran, and Belarus, and Zimbabwe."


-- CNN's NewsNight steered clear of blaming Bush policy. Aaron Brown announced: "From assisting terrorists to simply terrifying now, North Korea publicly said today what had long been suspected. It has nuclear weapons and further the North Koreans said they will drop out of the six country talks the White House was hoping would end this crisis. The White House called on North Korea to return to the negotiating table and perhaps some day it will but, in the meantime, we have this to ponder. What actually does North Korea have and what is the threat, if any, to us? Here's our national security correspondent, David Ensor."

Ensor focused on what is known about North Korea's nuclear capability before he asserted: "Analysts in and out of government see North Korea's latest pronouncement as an effort to stave off what Kim Jong Il knows will be an intense pressure from the United States and from China to negotiate away its weapons program."
Wendy Sherman, former counselor to the State Department: "I think it is a negotiating ploy but it is a very dangerous negotiating ploy because North Korea is very good at getting themselves into a box which they cannot get out of."
Ensor concluded: "Administration officials say they will keep turning up the pressure on Pyongyang to return to the six party talks and they will work hard to keep America and its Asian allies unified. Some analysts worry though that North Korea could turn up the temperature even higher by for the first time testing a nuke or a long-range missile."

Gergen Claims Hillary Clinton Has "Conservative
Social Values"

Hillary Clinton is a social conservative? Without naming an issue on which she holds such a view, on Wednesday's Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN, David Gergen of U.S. News magazine, and a former Clinton White House insider, contended: "She's always had strong religious faith. She's been a strong Methodist. She does have conservative social values on many issues."

Gergen's claim, caught by the MRC's Ken Shepherd, came during a segment of the 7pm EST show looking at how Senator Clinton is trying to appear more moderate.

Cooper introduced Gergen on the February 9 program: "Well, no one reads tea leaves better than political commentator and former presidential adviser David Gergen. He joins us tonight. David, good to see you. You know, there is so much talk about Hillary Clinton repositioning herself. American Values President Gary Bauer recently said this. I quote, 'I think what we're seeing is, at least rhetorically, the attempt of the ultimate makeover. She clearly wants to sit in the Oval Office. She's a bright lady, and I think she watched her party throw everything, including the kitchen sink, at the President, still lose. She's made her own calculation that values in the broadest sense of the word was the reason for the loss.' Do you see a makeover going on?"
David Gergen of U.S. News Gergen, via satellite from Watertown, Massachusetts, replied: "I see her in -- she's very consistent what she's always believed. She's always had strong religious faith. She's been a strong Methodist. She does have conservative social values on many issues. But, of course, she's bringing those to the fore. And I think what's really remarkably interesting, Anderson, is that in the early days of her First Ladyhood she sometimes could be tone-deaf. I think she's shown remarkable progress as a political leader, and in listening more and being able to respond in a better way to the political dialogue. She's a much, much better politician today than she was half a dozen years ago. And I think that makes her a more formidable candidate."

CBS Publicizes Charges Against Cosby,
Suppressed Against Clinton

CBS Early Show A stricter standard of sexual behavior for comedians than for Presidents? On Thursday morning, CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith announced they would be interviewing a woman who claims entertainer Bill Cosby sexually fondled her thirty years ago. "This is a tough story to have to talk about," he insisted. But did they "have to" talk about it? When Juanita Broaddrick charged in 1999 that President Clinton had raped her in a hotel room, the CBS Evening News aired one story on a Saturday, but CBS This Morning never interviewed Broaddrick and aired no story on her charges. In the last five years, her name has been uttered on CBS morning shows just twice in passing.

[The MRC's Tim Graham submitted this item for CyberAlert.]

In Thursday's 7:30am half hour, MRC analyst Brian Boyd noticed that Smith declared: "This is a tough story to have to talk about. Bill Cosby, already under fire from one woman who claims he drugged and groped her, now another woman has come forward alleging he did the same thing to her about 30 years ago. We'll have that story straight ahead."

Smith, in New York, interviewed the Cosby accuser, Tamara Green, who appeared from Los Angeles, about her vague recollections of what happened to her. After a few minutes of talking about how she became employed by Cosby, and how he allegedly gave her pills and then took her home and assaulted her, Smith noted that Cosby is a public figure who's been the subject of extortion attempts before: "Without some sort of evidence, this is a cry from 30 years ago, and it sounds to me like you're not even sure when the date was." Green admitted: "I'm not sure when the date was." After she compared her experience to veterans of combat in Vietnam, Smith replied: "I'm still not certain why it is you would do what you're doing right now." She said because it's a woman's issue.

The better question is: why is CBS airing these unsubstantiated charges against Cosby when they wouldn't cover the story of Clinton accuser Juanita Broaddrick? On February 24, 1999, Dateline NBC aired an edited version of an eight-hour interview session with Juanita Broaddrick, more than a month after Broaddrick was interview by NBC's Lisa Myers about her story of being raped by Bill Clinton in 1978. To get the report on the air, Myers attempted to piece together evidence that both Broaddrick and Clinton could have been in the Camelot Hotel on April 25, 1978. (The Clinton White House would not respond to inquiries about his whereabouts that day.) While NBC aired an interview segment, and ABC at least mentioned it, CBS's This Morning would not utter the name "Broaddrick." For our CyberAlert at the time, see: www.mrc.org

There was a CBS Evening News story, detailed here: www.mrc.org

A Nexis search for the word "Broaddrick" on CBS revealed only four mentions, including the Saturday evening story, and a transcript of a March 19, 1999 press conference with Clinton (in which Sam Donaldson asked about Juanita Broaddrick, and then right after him, CBS's Scott Pelley changed the subject to Kosovo).

The next morning, on CBS's Saturday Morning, reporter Mark Knoller covered Broaddrick in passing in a story on the press conference: "Of the 22 reporters called upon, five asked about Kosovo, four about the allegations of Chinese spying at our nuclear weapons labs, and that was just fine with top White House aides. Those are issues they knew the President could handle. There were seven questions that would come under the heading of scandal, but the president's rhetorical agility saw him through, including one about the subject the White House feared most, Juanita Broaddrick's allegation of rape. Mr. Clinton would not address it directly."
Clinton, at the press conference: "There's been an, a statement made by my attorney. He speaks for me, and I think he spoke quite clearly."

The Broaddrick issue disappeared again on CBS until July 8, 2004, when Early Show co-host Hannah Storm was interviewing Christopher Anderson on his Hillary biography, titled "American Evita." Anderson was explaining how Hillary was active in stopping Clinton "bimbo eruptions." Storm quickly skipped by Broaddrick as Anderson brought her up:

Storm: "So you're saying that she had an active role in silencing these people or making them go away?"
Andersen: "That's what's so disturbing, because I think this is a major character flaw in Hillary. I find that for a feminist to go after women -- and we know the names of some of them are famous, I mean, Gennifer Flowers and Paula Jones and-"
Storm: "Monica Lewinsky."
Andersen: "Monica Lewinsky, of course. This is the tip of, the tip of the iceberg, by the way. There are, there are dozens and dozens of cases like this. And Betsy Wright, his own chief of staff, is the person who called them the bimbo eruptions that had to be tamped down, but Hillary, the feminist, went after these women, and I think the most disturbing one, of course, was the case of Juanita Broaddrick, who accused him of sexual assault."
Storm changed the subject: "You quote a friend of hers as saying that, 'She never seriously thought about divorce and she never will.'"

Other CyberAlert items from the time underlined the desperate Broaddrick avoidance of CBS:

-- It should go without saying that Dan Rather hated this story. When MSNBC's Don Imus said Time was reporting even Broaddrick was ready for the story to go away, Rather declared: "Well, let's hope she gets her way with that." See: www.mrc.org

-- On February 28, 1999, Broaddrick dominated Sunday morning, but for the second week in a row, CBS's Face the Nation (hosted by Bob Schieffer, now the interim CBS Evening News anchor in waiting) skipped the subject, focusing instead on Y2K computer problems. www.mrc.org


-- Brent Baker