Friday, May 28, 1999 - ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA - Pay attention, everybody.
What noted Whitewater reporter Gene Lyons calls "The Clinton Rules" are about to undergo their most severe test ever.
"The Clinton Rules" are the unspoken strictures Big Media places on anything remotely pertaining to our current Chief Executive. Simply stated, "The Clinton Rules" require
participating media outlets to take any news and slant it in such a way that it reflects badly on Bill Clinton.
This requires the media to examine every facet of the President's sex life while ignoring similar behavior on the part of his political opponents (for example, the stories of Bob Dole's infidelities that
were swept under the rug for over a year and half during the 1996 Presidential campaign); or to focus on alleged Clintonian campaign-finance abuse while such scofflaws as Dan Burton (R-IN), whose
mistress was put on his campaign payroll while he shook down Pakistani lobbysits for cash, go unscathed by the media spotlight; or to waste seven years, thousands of stories, and untold numbers of trees
on the "Whitewater scandal" allegations which three separate and expensive investigations have now concluded was unsupported by any real evidence whatsoever.
The Howell-Raines-led New York Times, aided and abetted by the Starr-indebted Washington Post empire, the blatantly-conservative Washington Times and Fox Networks, have consistently followed "The
Clinton Rules" even before he set foot in the Oval Office. The New York Times' inexplicable decision to poor-mouth the Clinton health-care reform initiative early in his administration was a prime
factor in its eventual failure, and it also gave a green light to Clinton's conservative enemies. "If the allegedly progressive New York Times won't back Clinton," the cons rightly reasoned,
"then we can do whatever we want to Bill Clinton - and, more importantly, SAY whatever we want about Bill Clinton - and we will have the tacit support of America's Paper of Record."
For nearly eight years, Big Media has followed The Clinton Rules in an effort to destroy the man they see as That Hick From Arkansas - even as the American public has shown, both in the polls and at the
ballot box, that they are flatly rejecting the media's spinning.
And now, the media is at it again with that GOP-sponsored tempest-in-a-teapot called "Chinagate."
This time, however, the media's anti-Clinton spinning capabilities are being strained to their utmost, and the "blowback" potential, on both Big Media and their GOP minders, is growing greater
by the hour.
That's because the nuclear secrets allegedly leaked to China were almost certainly all leaked during the Reagan and Bush administrations.
Even as folks like Chris "I'm sorry I almost got you killed, Mr. Shearer" Matthews were howling treason charges against President Clinton and Janet Reno, newly-unearthed documents were coming to
light that contradicted their spins.
In an AP article by Pete Yost published yesterday, it was announced that a 1984 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document warned that China is "now deriving" benefits "from both overt
contact with U.S. scientists and technology and the covert acquisition of U.S. technology."
In language resembling that of the Cox Report, the DIA document (known as an "estimative brief") concludes, "Increased access to this technology and continued Chinese efforts will in the
1980s and early 1990s show up as qualitative warhead improvements."
And this brief, entitled "Nuclear Weapons Systems In China", is just one many bits of evidence challenging the media's aherence to The Clinton Rules.
Capitol Hill Democrats are circulating another document entitled "What President Bush Knew." This five-page piece reviews dire warnings about Chinese espionage and security lapses at U.S.
nuclear laboratories going back to 1980.
And it takes dead aim at Dubya and his dad.
The pamphlet contrasts Texas Gov. George W. Bush's harshly hypocritical May 25 criticism of President Clinton with a long list of incidents from the 1980s and early 1990s about Chinese nuclear espionage.
Remember Dubya Bush's snotty comments after the Cox report was released? He said, "There is only one administration that has been given the news" about Chinese espionage at weapons labs
"and that's the Clinton Administration. The interesting question is when did they know?"
The Democrats' pamphlet shows that the Honorable Governor of Texas is... well, ever-so-slightly mistaken.
It makes reference to newspaper reports that Chinese intelligence agents had stolen nuke-weapon secrets from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, as well as scads of reports by the General
Accounting Office, Congress' investigative branch, detailing security problems at the weapons labs that made them vulnerable to espionage.
It also emphasizes, just to twist the knife a little harder, a recently published comment by Bush Administration national security adviser Brent Scowcroft that lab security was allegedly "not an
issue" when he was in office.
Of course, Dubya's crowd wasn't about to take this lying down, even if they had to tell a great big lie in order to fight back.
"If allegations of Chinese spying had been widely known, they would have been a major issue in the Clinton-Gore campaign in 1992," responded Karen Hughes, a spokeswoman for Gov. Bush. "They
were not" an issue "because it's not true" that the allegations were widely known.
Not "widely known"?
Not widely known?!?!?!?
If they made it into several dozen newspapers, sweetie, they were certainly "widely known," at least to the newspaper-reading public!
Or this is a tacit admission that Bush supporters are too dumb to read newspapers?
Ms. Hughes continued: "America deserves leaders who are honest, not partisans who attempt to spin their way out of responsibility for a major embarrassment that happened on their watch."
So why don't you, Ms. Hughes, tell your boss and his dad to cut out the "Gotta blame Bill" nonsense and admit that during the Reagan-Bush regime, all our major nuclear-research labs were leaking
like sieves, and that Reagan-era changes in practices, such as putting rent-a-cops in charge of guarding strategically sensitive facilities, almost certainly facilitated these leaks?
Scandal "blowback" is, to paraphrase Dubya's mom, something that "rhymes with rich".
Isn't it, Shrub?