CyberAlert -- 05/11/1999 -- Richardson Ignored; Russert Condemned Clinton But NBC News Disagrees

Richardson Ignored; Russert Condemned Clinton But NBC News Disagrees

1) ABC, CBS and NBC all noted how the NRA was not invited to the White House summit and that "Hollywood's prime movers who've shown up at Clinton fundraisers" didn't accept their invitations.

2) No broadcast network, not even NBC, picked up Monday morning or night on Richardson's concession on Meet the Press that Clinton's denial of espionage during his term was false. But even the liberal Boston Globe put it above the fold.

3) FNC's Carl Cameron previewed Johnny Chung's testimony, relaying he will "testify that the Chinese claimed they had funneled money to Clinton through...former White House aide Mark Middleton."

4) NBC's Tim Russert appeared on Imus in the Morning and condemned the Clinton team: "You don't spin your way out of national security breaches." He labeled Chinese fundraising "a damn problem." But Today and Nightly News refuse to report any of it.

>>> The Investor's Business Daily article excerpted in the May 10 CyberAlert is now accessible through the MRC home page. To read the May 10 story, "TV's Blackout on China Spying: Big Three Networks Bypass Blockbuster Scandal," go to: or directly to: <<<


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) The broadcast network White House reporters on Monday night all noted how the NRA was not invited to Clinton's summit and the real players in Hollywood, who support the President financially, were no shows. Some excerpts from their May 10 stories:

-- ABC's World News Tonight. Sam Donaldson: "....Although the President has advocated new gun control measures and complained that organizations like the National Rifle Association are scaring their members about them, the NRA says it wasn't invited....Also among the missing, Hollywood's prime movers who've shown up at Clinton fundraisers and as overnight White House guests, but declined to attend today's conference saying they feared being sandbagged, which caused conservative GOP presidential candidate Gary Bauer, who wasn't invited today, to complain Mr. Clinton is in no position to preach to Hollywood."

-- CBS Evening News. Eric Engberg: "....Violent movies have often been cited as a possible cause in school shootings. Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin made the shoot-em-up The Getaway. They also hosted a fundraiser for the President who has so ardently embraced the stars and the moguls that Hollywood is now the most reliable source of big dollars for Democratic candidates."
Engberg went on to claim that the NRA is "one of the most feared lobbies," before concluding by noting that this weekend Clinton will attend a fundraiser hosted by David Geffen and Steven Spielberg.

-- NBC Nightly News. Claire Shipman gave the Hollywood view the most time: "....One glaring absence at today's meeting: the real power brokers in Hollywood and some of the President's closest friends, the top film and TV producers. Sources say they're wary about being blamed by Washington for the tragedy at Columbine High. [over video of Natural Born Killers.] They argue movies and videos like these, which have received intense criticism since the shooting, are only a small part of the industry. And there are other answers says Hollywood's chief lobbyist who was at the meeting."
Jack Valenti: "A parent can shut off the television set and before the end of the year the V-chip will be in."
Shipman: "And also not at the table today and not invited, the NRA..."


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) "Richardson: China Did Steal Secrets" announced the front page headline in Monday's Washington Times. "'Damaging' leaks occurred on Clinton watch" read the subhead for the story about how Energy Secretary Bill Richardson admitted to Tim Russert on Sunday's Meet the Press that Clinton's March 19 denial was not accurate.

But it wasn't only the conservative Washington Times which found Richardson's concessions front page-worthy. An above the fold headline in Monday's Boston Globe, over a Reuters story, declared: "For First Time, U.S. Says Nuclear Secrets Were Lost."

Yet no broadcast network, not even NBC, found this worth reporting on Monday morning or evening and neither did CNN Monday night. Only Sunday night viewers of FNC heard anything about it. (As detailed in the May 10 CyberAlert, the ABC, CBS and CNN evening shows all ignored the interview Sunday night. NBA basketball bumped NBC Nightly News in most of the country.)

-- Monday morning, May 10. Not a syllable about Chinese espionage aired on NBC's Today, which spent much of the show with its "Where in the World is Matt Lauer" gimmick, nor on CBS's This Morning. ABC's Good Morning America refused to tell viewers about Richardson, but the MRC's Jessica Anderson noticed that in a story about Chinese protests over the embassy bombing Ann Compton made this vague reference: "As you heard Ambassador Sasser say, the demonstrations don't seem quite as vicious today, but a U.S. official who was headed to Beijing has put off his trip. I'm told that all Americans are told to be careful and not go to Beijing at this moment. There are so many issues on the table, including spying by China and Chinese campaign contributions. No one here is suggesting this is comparable to Tiananmen Square, but remember that incident froze U.S.-Chinese relations for a decade, and the United States is worried about this."

-- Monday night, May 10. The broadcast networks and CNN ran nothing about Richardson on Monday night. Not even CNN's Inside Politics picked up on his admission. ABC and NBC made vague references to the scandal. On World News Tonight, for instance, from Beijing ABC's Mark Litke observed how "the demonstrations have also been a way for China to express its bitterness over other recent slights by the West -- not being admitted to the World Trade Organization and accusations of nuclear espionage." NBC's Andrea Mitchell made a similar reference.

Instead of covering Chinese espionage or previewing Johnny Chung's Tuesday appearance before the House Government Reform Committee, ABC allocated nearly six minutes to how retirees are becoming more active, CBS picked up on a liberal group's complaint about fuel leaks in Chrysler minivans and how more regulation is needed to protect consumers from aggressive credit card pitches which cause people to later go bankrupt and NBC featured an In Depth segment on how the Louisiana bus crash demonstrates the need for more regulation of buses.

Monday night's News with Brian Williams on MSNBC skipped Chinese espionage but had time to show highlights of Monica Lewinsky's appearance on Saturday Night Live.

If one missed the original Meet the Press the only network morning or evening show on which they could have seen the exchange was on FNC's new Fox Weekend Report. In a story for the Sunday at 6pm ET show Brian Wilson played a clip of Clinton's March 19 press conference appearance in which he denied any espionage took place during his term. Wilson then led into the key exchange from Meet the Press:
"But now for the first time the Secretary of Energy is admitting the President's statement last March simply was not true."
Richardson on Meet the Press: "The Chinese have obtained damaging information...."
Russert: "During the Clinton presidency?"
Richardson: "We are addressing the problem."
Russert: "During the Clinton presidency?"
Richardson: "During past administrations and present administrations."
Russert: "Finally, someone has acknowledged it."

To read the entire exchange, go to the May 10 CyberAlert:

On Monday's The World Today CNN anchor Jim Moret did note the upcoming Chung testimony before Pierre Thomas reported how "CNN has learned government officials had numerous warnings about serious flaws in security at U.S. nuclear laboratories dating back to the 1980s. And despite launching an administrative review into allegations of possible Chinese espionage in 1995, major changes in lab security were not implemented for four years...."


chung0511.JPG (12381 bytes)cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) Monday night only FNC treated Johnny Chung's Tuesday appearance as a serious matter worth a story. Carl Cameron exclusively reported that Chung will testify to the involvement in funneling money from China by a former top Clinton aide and a Boeing executive.

On Monday's Fox Report Cameron opened: "Johnny Chung tell his story publicly Tuesday for the first time since he admitted funneling money from the Chinese military to help President Clinton get re-elected."

Cameron explained how he'll appear Tuesday and Wednesday before the House Government Reform Committee in the midst of questions about spying at Los Alamos. Cameron uniquely relayed:
"Chung will testify that China's military intelligence chief gave him $300,000 to help the President. China's satellite developers, also accused of surreptitiously acquiring U.S. know how, arranged the rendevous, according to Chung. Bank records obtained by Fox News show large corresponding transactions to Chung's account within days of the arrangement. Chung will testify that the Chinese claimed they had funneled money to Clinton through at least two other channels: Former White House aide Mark Middleton, [referring to video] facing the President at this fundraiser, who had a firm in Singapore and denies the charges, and a Boeing Aircraft Corporation representative, Richard Yang, who operated in Hong Kong. The Justice Department has opened investigations into both allegations."

Cameron concluded by noting that another man, Peter Lee, has been the FBI's prime spying suspect for 15 years. (See the May 7 CyberAlert for Cameron's May 6 story on Peter Lee.)

+++ To watch Cameron's May 10 piece go to the MRC home page where by noon ET MRC Webmaster Sean Henry will post it in RealPlayer format. Go to:

Chung is scheduled to appear in the House Government Reform Committee's Rayburn building hearing room today (Tuesday) at 12 noon ET and Wednesday at 10am ET. To read the committee's press release announcing Chung's delayed appearance, he had been scheduled for April 27-28, go to:

To read the Interim Report of the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight Campaign Finance Investigation and Related Matters released in November 1997, go to:

To see a photo of Chung arm-in-arm with Hillary and Bill in an earlier FNC story, go to:

To view the only network story on the April 4 LA Times story, watch the April 8 piece in which Cameron outlined how money flowed on a "circuitous" route from Chinese intelligence to a front company to Lippo to John Huang to the DNC. Plus, in 1993 Al Gore met with the "head of Beijing's alleged espionage front." Go to:

These last two items are viewable in RealPlayer format on the MRC's video page:


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) Is Tim Russert really the Vice President of NBC News or does he just pretend to be? On Monday's Imus in the Morning Russert stressed how troubling he found Energy Secretary Bill Richardson's concession to him on Meet the Press that spying did occur during Clinton's years, thus directly contradicting Clinton's claims.

Russert condemned the Clinton administration reaction: "You don't spin your way out of national security breaches. It happened on their watch and they're trying to spin their way out of it." Asked about the impact of Chinese fundraising, Russert declared: "Well, you know it's a damn problem."

Yet not a syllable about Russert's Meet the Press interview, a big scoop for the network, aired on Monday's Today or Nightly News.

Ben Anderson of the MRC's Conservative News Service tipped us off to Russert's parallel universe appearance and MRC analyst Mark Drake found the tape and took down Russert's words from the May 10 radio show carried by MSNBC.

Don Imus: "Here's my question: Why, why is Bill Richardson reluctant to just tell us what's goin' on?"
Tim Russert: "Because if he does, then he has put the President of United States in a position where he is lying about national security. There's no other way to say it. In March, the President was asked by David Bloom very specifically did, in fact, the Chinese gain any nuclear secrets on our watch? The President said no, no. No one ever told me about any espionage at our labs and he threw in labs thinking that that way he could have an out if other espionage was revealed, which he already knew about.
"Well, now it turns out in November of '88 [yes, Russert said '88] he, and Richardson, and Secretary Cohen and Secretary Albright were given a report by the counter intelligence forces in the United States saying very specifically that over 300 times outsiders had penetrated computers at our nuclear labs and had taken nuclear secrets. Straight forward and everyone knew it to be the case. Now, when did this happen? November of '88 [again, he said '88]. Nothing was done about it until April of '99. What was happening in November and December of last year? You got it: impeachment, Monica Lewinsky, and people were playing distractions.
"You know, Don, there are so many issues down here. I understand politics. I respect politics. And I appreciate the art of spin when people are trying to get the advantage on Social Security, trying to get the advantage on Medicare, trying to get the advantage on tax cut issues but if you get a report and it slams on your desk, and it says our national security is being violated and you're the Commander-in-Chief, everything else stops. You pound your fist and say 'Get in here. I want to know who, what, when, where, why. Let's stop it. Get to the bottom of it. Find out who's responsible and get rid of 'em.' And that didn't happen.
"Bob Kerrey is a Democrat, said as much yesterday. [Richard] Shelby, the Republican said as much yesterday. And finally, Secretary of Energy Richardson had to acknowledge that this is not just a political spin job: [sarcastically] 'Oh, it all happened in the eighties. It happened in other administrations. We're taking steps to correct it.' You don't spin your way out of national security breaches. It happened on their watch and they're trying to spin their way out of it. You confront 'em. Accept responsibility. Accept accountability. Correct 'em. And punish those responsible. Period."
Imus: "Maybe it's difficult to be outraged if the people you're havin' coffee with [are the ones] who are financing your campaign."
Russert: "Well, you know it's a damn problem, it's a big problem. The LA Times had a story Friday and I just wonder what's going on. I understand people are putting additions on, and getting ready for summer vacation but here is Johnny Chung, one of the principle fundraisers for the Democratic National Committee testifying under oath that the head of military intelligence for the Republic of, the People's Republic of China said quote 'We like your President. I will give you $300,000 U.S. dollars. You can give it to the President and the Democratic Party. We hope he will reelected.' This is what went on. And we're all supposed to say 'Ah, well, this, that, you know.' And then Johnny Chung said well, he didn't give all the money to the Democratic Party. He used some for mortgages. And they asked him why and he said, quote 'I am Forrest Gump.' [laughs] That he just appeared in certain places, and certain scenes of this unfolding drama. But you know, I understand when people want to take advantage of different issues but this is the core of who we are. This is our national security."

The May 7 CyberAlert highlighted that morning's Los Angles Times story and while I can't say Russert read about it here I know where he didn't hear anything about it: NBC News! The original Los Angeles Times story appeared on April 4, but all the networks but FNC ignored it. None picked up on the LA Times follow-up piece from last Friday.

Three pieces of evidence have proven Clinton lied on March 19, but Nightly News and Today have ignored all three:
a) The April 28 New York Times disclosed how Wen Ho Lee supposedly put, in 1994-95, all the legacy codes for U.S. nuclear testing onto an open computer. Nightly News: No coverage. Today: 15 seconds, but nothing about how the revelation contradicted Clinton.
b) The May 2 New York Times revealed how top administration officials were given a report in November 1998 (what Russert is referring to above) that informed them of ongoing Chinese espionage. Zilch on Today and Nightly News.
c) Russert's big scoop with Richardson on the May 9 Meet the Press.

If Russert truly believes this is an important as he says and Today and Nightly News don't cover in full Johnny Chung's Tuesday and Wednesday testimony, then he should be ashamed and embarrassed by NBC's judgment and ought to resign in protest. -- Brent Baker


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