MediaWatch: December 1996

Vol. Ten No. 12

Turn Out the Lights

Jacqueline Adams took a rare approach to new EPA rules on the November 27 CBS Evening News: what do they cost, and what is the benefit? She focused on a New Hampshire bronze craft foundry: "Workers fear their jobs are in jeopardy. The new EPA rules would eliminate the most microscopic particles of dust. And the expense for this factory could be astronomical."

One worker worried: "I have a baby due in July and if we get shut down I'm in trouble." Adams explained that to comply with EPA rules the company has switched "to cleaner electric power, installed vents and vacuums and spends $800 a year to monitor each employee for environmental hazards. As of today, all that may not be enough."

"The workers here still don't buy the environmentalists' claims that without tougher rules, 64,000 Americans will die prematurely each year from lung disease," Adams noted before ending: "At least two generations of pourers, and machine operators, and polishers have made a good living at bronze craft. For all their skill and dedication, time may not be on their side. The new EPA rules may force them to turn out the lights, forever."

I Spy Reality

Alger Hiss, the spy who became a poster child for the liberal elite, died November 15. That night CNN's Tom Watkins called him a "victim of Cold War paranoia," and NBC's Tom Brokaw declared that Hiss was innocently "caught up in a spy scandal."

But on their Sunday morning shows, CNN and NBC corrected those implications of innocence. On the November 24 Late Edition Bruce Morton concluded: "Well, he was guilty. Any number of serious reporters investigated then and later and agreed on that. Hiss was guilty, there was at least one communist spy in the U.S. government. The witch hunts which followed smeared a lot of innocent people but there were real spies."

On Meet the Press, Tim Russert explained that earlier this year the CIA released the "Venona files, translations of actual intercepts of messages sent from the Soviet embassy in Washington back to Moscow. One, dated 30 March 1945, talks about the activities of a high level State Department official turned Soviet agent code named Ales. His travel schedule matched that of Alger Hiss. At the bottom of the cable there is a notation by an officer at the National Security Agency saying Ales was probably Alger Hiss."