Search Results for: John Hess

Mar
01
2005

John Hess, 1917-2005

Editor's Note

John Hess

This issue's cover story concerns the late journalist Gary Webb, but another reporter's recent death was just as great a loss. John Hess, a great reporter and a great friend of FAIR, died on January 21 at the age of 87. John used to say that the term "investigative reporter" was redundant, because all reporters are supposed to be investigators, rather than simply parroting what people in power were saying. On one issue he was nearly alone in showing skepticism: As far back as the 1980s, John was debunking claims of a "crisis" in Social Security, pointing out how such […]

Jul
01
2013

Who Pays for Think Tanks?

Corporate and foundation money often comes with an agenda

Pete Peterson

Think tanks are important institutions that provide information and analysis to both policy-makers and the public. But when they court donations, it can become unclear whether that analysis is tainted by donor agendas.

Mar
01
2008

Barbara Seaman, 1935-2008

Editor's Note

The New York Times doesn’t forgive and it doesn’t forget. We saw this when one of its most eloquent critics, John Hess, died and was given an error-filled obituary (1/22/05) that called him “cranky,” “curmudgeonly” and “grudging.” (See Extra!, 3-4/05). Now another of FAIR’s journalistic heroes has died, another groundbreaking investigative journalist who also had the temerity to challenge the Times’ sense of self-righteousness—and she too got a posthumous smear from the paper. Barbara Seaman revolutionized the field of health reporting, treating the medical establishment as an object of skepticism and focusing on the need to inform patients of their […]

May
01
2005

Letter to the Editor

WEBB AND HESS I would like to thank you for your tribute to Gary Webb. While you quite properly contrasted the fate of people who wrote stories the mainstream media deemed unacceptable with people who ducked the stories altogether, it might be interesting to find out what happens to people who write right-wing stories that are discredited. My vague understanding is that they settle into good-paying jobs in the right-wing media. Finally, regarding John Hess. When I read his obituary in the Times, I could not believe that the manufactured Utah past was simply an error. My only question is […]

Nov
01
2003

How the New York Times Blew My Lai

What if a massacre had been covered when it mattered?

John Hess

"I was in Paris with a delightful, interesting man who works for the Times, John Hess. John was in the Paris bureau, and hewas one of the people who sort of straightened me out about Vietnam. He bugged me about it and told me I had to learn more--and I did. --New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis, interviewed in Harvard Magazine (11/76) It gave me a lift to learn that Tony Lewis thought I helped straighten him out on Vietnam, but I fear he flattered us both. I never did quite straighten him out, or persuade him to share my […]

Jul
01
2001

The Uncovering and Reburial of a War Crime

exposé of Kerrey's massacre provokes media backlash

The last weekend of April marked a high point in American journalism, when the New York Times Magazine and 60 Minutes II exposed a dreadful war crime. It also marked a low point in American journalism, when the media denied the crime, minimized it, defended it and reburied it. The story had first been exhumed by Newsweek's Gregory L. Vistica in 1998. He established that in the Mekong Delta one night in 1969, in the village of Thanh Phong, a squad of Navy SEALs led by Bob Kerrey knifed to death an elderly couple and three children, then gunned down […]

Mar
01
1997

Here We Go Again

Can Social Security Survive Another "Rescue"?

The rescue of Social Security has been a staple of American journalism for 20 years now—a story all the more remarkable in that Social Security has never been in peril except from its rescuers. The rescues have all been based on faulty arithmetic. First, in 1977, the rescuers humbly confessed that they had made a mistake in adjusting benefits to inflation, as a result of which Social Security was threatening to go broke. (They never say the Army is threatening to "go broke," only that it needs more money to do the job that it's asked to do.) Not to […]

Sep
01
1995

A Skeptical Look at 'Cynical' Reporters

Talk about being hoist on your own petard! That indispensable tool of modern journalism, the opinion poll, has dealt us journalists a cruel blow. And our own journalistic establishment--the Tunes Mirror Center for the People and the Press, and how much more poohbah can you get?-- paid for the poll. The poll determined, scientifically as all get out, that the American public is nearly twice as "cynical" (they mean skeptical) as journalists. To be precise, 77 percent of the people but only 40 percent of the Washington press corps give low marks to politicians for honesty and ethics. Shocking. And […]