Accuracy in Media

Consider the following words and judge for yourself whether they are too controversial: “The Chinese people want freedom, but Tiananmen Square symbolizes their shackles. No American president should go there until China faces the truth. It is wrong to celebrate our freedom on Memorial Day and then turn around and pay homage to the enemies of freedom in Tiananmen Square. Mr. President, we urge you not to travel to China until China changes.”

Those words were spoken by Gary Bauer, president of the Family Research Council and American Renewal. Bauer, a prominent Christian conservative, has been a leading proponent of human rights in China. He has opposed Most Favored Nation (MFN) trading status because of the Chinese government?s record on human rights. As a candidate for president in 1992, Clinton shared that concern. He criticized President Bush for pandering to the “butchers of Beijing,” a reference to the massacre in Tiananmen Square. Now he is going to meet with those butchers in Tiananmen Square

Those statements I read to you were part of an ad Bauer wanted to place on CNN. But Bauer?s ad was rejected. Rather than admit that it didn?t want to offend the Communist Chinese authorities, CNN claimed it has a network policy against airing advocacy ads on international issues. If true, that?s a bizarre and questionable policy. In fact, it?s an absolutely ridiculous claim intended to divert our attention from the business dealings that CNN and its parent company, Time Warner, have had with Communist China. These are dealings that we intend to expose.

But first, here are the networks and stations which did run the ads: CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News Network, and the Fox affiliate in Washington, D.C., WTTG. These outlets found nothing wrong with airing advocacy ads. And, in fact, CNN has aired them in the past. CNN has run ads on the issue of global warming, both pro and con. And it ran Memorial Day ads by Ollie North that attacked the United Nations.

Gary Bauer explained CNN?s suppression of the ad by pointing to a recent summit between China?s rulers and Time Warner executives. The January 1998 meeting involved Time Warner chairman and CEO Gerald Levin and Chinese President Jiang Zemin. One press report said that “the media boss was so entertaining that Mr. Jiang invited him to stay for dinner. Mr. Levin had more time with China?s leader than most visiting foreign presidents.” One report said that Jiang urged Levin “to portray China in a positive way in the United States.” One way that Time Warner could do that is by making sure that CNN doesn?t air ads that are embarrassing to China.

Time Warner has just completed a deal to be the first video company to be represented in China. But CNN already has extensive business dealings with China. In our next broadcast, we?ll give you the details that help explain why CNN didn?t want to run Gary Bauer?s ad. Gary was right when he said, “The smothering of dissent by CNN is further evidence that our business ties with China?s repressive regime are not changing China, they?re changing us.”

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