Gumbel Hits Starr; ABC, CBS & CNN Skip Encryption; Tax Cut Enrages NBC
>>> "Only Liberal HMO Solutions Allowed: Networks Push for New Regulations of Managed Care, Disregard Free Market Ideas," the latest MRC Media Reality Check fax report, should be posted on the MRC home page by the time you read this. Tim Lamer, Director of the MRC's Free Market Project, wrote this week's edition. <<<
Bryant Gumbel is getting in all the political hits he can while CBS is
still airing his now canceled show, Public Eye with Bryant Gumbel.
Introducing a piece Wednesday night, June 24, on federal prosecutors who
abuse their power, Gumbel tied in Ken Starr:
Wednesday's New York Times featured a front page story about how during a Tuesday congressional hearing officials disclosed that they believe China took a secret encrypted circuit board from a crashed satellite, but Wednesday only NBC picked up on the evidence China has gained valuable and possibly dangerous technology, running a brief item on Today and a full piece on Nightly News. Tuesday night only FNC had even mentioned the disclosures made during the hearing earlier that day.
Device Missing in Wreck of Chinese Rocket," declared the front page
story in the June 24 New York Times. Reporter Eric Schmidt explained:
Coverage: Not a syllable on ABC, CBS, CNN or NBC Tuesday night. Only FNC's Fox Report reported on the hearing. Carl Cameron, noting that FNC had previously raised the issue of how after a Loral satellite failed, China kept U.S. observers from the wreckage for five hours, relayed what the Congressmen were told: "Now the Defense Department has confirmed to Congress a Fox News report that classified computer microchips were taken from the satellite by the Chinese." Cameron also highlighted what he dubbed "another bombshell," how "a year earlier another Chinese launch failed destroying Hughes Corporation satellite. Afterward, Hughes helped China investigate the crash and announced plans to improve China's rockets. Because China's rockets are nearly identical to their nuclear missiles, such assistance must be approved and monitored by the U.S. Defense Department. It was not."
coverage: MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens alerted me to this one, brief item
read by Sara James during the 7am Today news update: "Bill Clinton
leaves Washington today on the most controversial trip of his presidency.
As he heads for China the New York Times says American officials suspect
Chinese scientists may have stolen a crucial piece of American high
technology. It is the secret encoded circuit board that couldn't be
found in the wreckage of an American satellite aboard a Chinese rocket
that exploded in 1996."
only NBC offered a story. Tom Brokaw announced: "Right up to the
moment that he left today congressional Republicans were giving the
President a hard time over this China trip, especially on the issue of
American technology and China's military. Ever since the Tiananmen
massacre in 1989 the transfer of American technology to the Chinese
military has been forbidden. But, as NBC's Andrea Mitchell reports now,
there's widespread suspicion that Beijing has its ways."
Clinton's trip to China topped the Wednesday night newscasts on ABC and
NBC while CBS and CNN went first with the big AT&T-TCI merger. FNC led
with an exclusive about how the AMA protects incompetent doctors.
Some highlights from the Wednesday, June 24 evening shows:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. Peter Jennings opened the broadcast with this introduction
to a story by Sam Donaldson: "Good evening. The President's trip to
China is as important as any he has made since he won the White House
almost six years ago. The American relationship with China is about
economics and strategic relationships. It is complicated by different
values, Chinese and American. It's about China as an ally and a
competitor, sometimes an adversary. Moreover, the President took off for
China today with critics of his China policy, here at home, still nipping
at his heals."
Later, in A Closer Look segment, Donaldson ran down Clinton's goals, such as improving the trade imbalance and having the Chinese de-target their missiles U.S. cities. Donaldson wrapped up: "He also wants to discuss high-tech transfers. The Chinese want more high technology, but given the present state of discussion over the question over U.S. campaigns, contributions and all of that, that too will be a ticklish matter. Big agenda Peter."
In his "The
New China" piece Jennings found the Chinese flattered by Clinton's
visit and wishing Americans knew more about their country. Jennings
discovered content people less concerned than Americans with human rights.
-- CBS Evening News. Dan Rather took 20 seconds to show Clinton getting on a plane and to note that he had given an interview to the three barred journalists. Later in the show Barry Petersen focused on the "plight of Tibet" since the 1949 invasion. Petersen discovered: "When the Chinese realized that bullets and beatings were not winning hearts and minds here, they tried another idea; hard cold cash. The motherland, as they are told to call it here, has poured in millions of dollars to re-build monasteries and start up manufacturing."
-- CNN's The
World Today at 8pm ET. John King handled the China trip story, complete
with a critical soundbite from Democratic Senator Paul Wellstone. Over
video of Reagan in China, King oddly asserted: "In the old days a
President traveling overseas could count on quiet back home, but politics
no longer automatically stops at the water's edge. And China's plan to
welcome the President in the shadow of Tiananmen Square is striking a raw
nerve." Democrats were silent during Reagan's trip to Bitburg?
Next, Garrick Utley explored how our two cultures are intertwined. Utley asserted: "In dealing with the Chinese, the only weak card Clinton is taking with him may be himself. The disclosures that his campaign accepted, unknowingly, contributions from official Chinese sources, and that he authorized, knowingly, the transfer of satellite technology, which China might be able to use for military purposes."
"Unknowingly"? Not what the June 20 Washington Post reported that Johnny Chung observed. See the June 22 CyberAlert.
-- FNC's 7pm ET
Fox Report. Co-anchor Jon Scott ventured: "Now the uproar over the
China visit. It's probably the most controversial overseas trip for Bill
Clinton since he went to England and didn't inhale..."
-- NBC Nightly News. David Bloom checked in from Xian with a quick update and schedule rundown before NBC went to Andrea Mithchell's piece detailed above #2.
Another example Wednesday night of an issue on which the networks see know
need for balance, fairness or honesty. Just bash away with liberal cliches
about class warfare and how the rich are hurting everyone else. Noting
that Clinton announced Wednesday that he plans to sign the IRS reform bill
which shifts the burden of proof back to the IRS, Brokaw cautioned:
"But, if you also read the fine print, at least one tax break heading
for the President's signature will end up costing the average taxpayer
millions of dollars, taken collectively."
So, thanks to this
late-night, secret Archer deal the wealthy can escape inheritance taxes?
Not quite. Going to the more complete June 24 New York Times story from
which Ifill lifted her story, I learned that the inheritance tax exclusion
is rising year by year from $625,000 in 1998 to $1 million by 2006. The
inheritance tax rate begins at 18 percent and rises, reporter David
Rosenbaum explained, "to 55 percent on the taxable amount over $3
I'm no tax accountant, but let me try to translate. Before this change saved by Archer someone inheriting a $20 million estate would have to pay tax on the entire $20 million. Now, they'll only pay on a mere $19 million ($20 minus the $1 million exclusion). Let's take some rough numbers: 55 percent of $20 million equals $11 million. Under the new rules, let's exclude $1 million and assume a slightly lower overall tax rate since a bit less would be subject to the highest rate: 52 percent of $19 million is $9,880,000. $11 million minus $9.88 million equals $1,120,000 less tax to be paid.
Bottom line: Ifill claimed the certainty of paying taxes "may not be so true for the wealthiest Americans." $9,880,000 instead of $11,000,000. Outrageous. The wealthy are so irresponsible, refusing to pay their fair share and making us pick up their tab. How can the rich get away with paying so little? -- Brent Baker 
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