Last Wednesday, ABC's "World News with Charles Gibson" exposed a serious flaw in a television advertisement Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is running in Indiana (video embedded right, h/t Gateway Pundit).
In fact, Indiana newspapers began pointing out the former first lady's mistake almost three weeks ago after she spoke at a school in that state.
Yet, according to LexisNexis, no other television network felt this issue deserved any coverage, nor did many major newspapers outside of Indiana.
For some background, here's how ABC reported Hillary's flub on Wednesday (video available here):
CHARLES GIBSON (ABC NEWS) (Off-camera) And as Hillary Clinton crisscrosses Indiana, ahead of next Tuesday's primary, one economic story about lost jobs and foreign competition has become a staple of her campaign stops. But it turns out to be a story with some holes in it. Our senior political correspondent, Jake Tapper, has been looking at that story. Jake?
JAKE TAPPER (ABC NEWS) (Off-camera) Good evening, Charlie. Well, in Indiana, Senator Clinton decries how the company Magnequench moved from Indiana to China in 2003. Magnequench makes high tech magnets with defense applications, including in smart bombs. And now, China has a monopoly on the technology. But there's one key part of the story Senator Clinton tends to leave out, her husband's role.
JAKE TAPPER (ABC NEWS) (Voiceover) This rusty, abandoned factory in the heart of Valparaiso, Indiana, housed magnet maker Magnequench until it moved to China, costing more than 200 jobs. It's a story Senator Hillary Clinton tells a lot as she campaigns throughout the Hoosier State.
SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON (DEMOCRAT) A Chinese company bought Magnequench. And then, they decided that they were going to move the whole company from Indiana to China.
JAKE TAPPER (ABC NEWS) (Voiceover) Over and over again, Clinton blames President Bush for dropping the ball on a national security issue. Including in a new TV ad.
SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON (DEMOCRAT) George Bush could have stopped it. But he doesn't.
JAKE TAPPER (ABC NEWS) (Voiceover) What Clinton does not say is that her husband could have stopped it because the Chinese bought Magnequench, in 1995, when he was president. And his administration approved the deal, despite national security concerns, raised partly because the Chinese companies were run by sons-in-law of the then-Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping.
PROFESSOR VIRGINIA SHINGLETON (DEPT OF ECONOMICS) If we believe this was truly a national defense issue, it should not - the company should not have been allowed to be sold in 1995.
JAKE TAPPER (ABC NEWS) (Voiceover) One of Senator Clinton's main arguments, the Chinese now know our secrets.
SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON (DEMOCRAT) Not only did the jobs go to China, but so did the intellectual property and the technological know-how to make those magnets.
JAKE TAPPER (ABC NEWS) (Voiceover) Former Magnequench vice president, Andrew Albers, says that's false. By the 2003 move, he says the Chinese already knew everything.
ANDREW ALBERS (FORMER VICE PRESIDENT, MAGNEQUENCH) There was nothing new that we were doing that the Chinese didn't already have and know about.
JAKE TAPPER (ABC NEWS) (Voiceover) This month Clinton held an event in Valparaiso.
SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON (DEMOCRAT) We've got to elect a president next January who's going to remember Magnequench.
JAKE TAPPER (ABC NEWS) (Voiceover) Clearly some things about Magnequench Clinton has clearly forgotten.
JAKE TAPPER (ABC NEWS)
(Off-camera) The Clinton campaign argues that the Chinese promised in 1995 to keep jobs and technical production in the United States. But, Charlie, they only promised to do that until 2005. And at any rate, they broke that promise. Charlie?
Pretty powerful stuff, wouldn't you agree? Shouldn't this have received MUCH MORE media attention, especially given recent gaffes and misstatements by Hillary, not the least of which being her claim that she ducked sniper fire in Bosnia when she was first lady?
Of course, let's not forget the significance of Indiana to this campaign, or Tuesday's primary.
Yet, ABC wasn't the first to notice Hillary's error concerning Magnequench. The Indianapolis Star reported on April 15: "After all, Magnequench was sold to a consortium that included Chinese investors in 1995 while Bill Clinton was president."
The Star elaborated two days later:
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's second campaign ad in Indiana blames President Bush for the move to China of an Indiana plant that made magnets for smart bombs.
"George Bush could have stopped it, but he didn't," Clinton
says after the camera shows the empty Valparaiso plant and former Magnequench workers. "American workers should build America's defense."
Magnequench moved its equipment to China in 2003. But the sale of the company to a Chinese consortium was approved in 1995, during the Bill Clinton administration.
In 1988, Congress gave the president authority to block foreign acquisitions that could threaten national security.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, an interagency panel that reviews foreign acquisitions, approved the Magnequench sale in 1995 after a 30-day review.
Yet, for the most part, media ignored this. Why?
Also peculiar was an MSNBC.com article on this subject published April 29 with a very interesting tidbit (emphasis added):
According to a report issued in March by the Congressional Research Service, General Motors sold Magnequench in 1995 to a group of investors including Archibald Cox, Jr., the Sextant Group, Soros Fund Management, and two Chinese firms, one of which was owned by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Hmmm. So George Soros was a partial buyer of Magnequench. Isn't that interesting? I wonder why nobody's jumped on that?
Regardless, the larger issue here is the responsibility of the media to examine the veracity of the statements being made by the three remaining candidates both on the stump and in ads. With the Democrat race neck-and-neck, and the general election almost guaranteed to be squeaker, it is incumbent upon the press to vigilantly analyze every comment made by these folks.
Anything less is journalistic malfeasance.
Though my hat goes off to ABC for its fine work reporting this issue, the rest of the national press get an "F" on this one, and need to do a far better job in the months to come.