Search Results for: Peter Dykstra

Apr
01
1992

U.S. Environmental Reporting: The Big Fizzle

Another Year of the "environmental decade" is upon us: Acid rain and ozone depletion are household words; nature calendars, dolphin-safe tuna and neighborhood recycling programs are a part of everyday life; and the "environmental president" is running for reelection. Surely, since Time magazine named the Earth "Planet of the Year" in 1989, the environment has been a premier media issue avidly pursued by journalists. Or has it? Quill, the magazine of the Society of Professional Journalists, suggests too much so. In a Jan/Feb 1991 cover story, conservative syndicated columnist Warren Brookes asserted that the "news media have been taken in […]

Apr
01
1991

Gulf War Stories the Media Loved -- Except They Aren't True

Bart Simpson

"Even though a story can be incredibly preposterous in the Western mind, it can resonate deeply in other parts of the world," Todd Levanthal, a U.S. Information Agency specialist on disinformation, told the New York Times (9/16/90). "The key is predisposition to believe, not the crudity of the charge." While the point of the article was to portray Arabs as conspiratorial and irrational, the U.S. media's acceptance of crude charges about the official enemy demonstrates that a "Western mind" is no barrier to a "predisposition to believe." Most U.S. news outlets uncritically accepted the story that 300 premature babies died […]

Jan
01
1991

Cold War Environmentalism

Reporting on Eastern European Pollution

The environment and the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe were two of last year's hottest sto­ries. And the two issues came together in the aggressive, graphic reporting on the severe pollution behind the "Iron Curtain." There was no dearth of coverage: In the ten major publications studied by Extra!, there were 37 stories on the subject in the nine months follow­ing the opening of the Berlin Wall. The articles were long, prominently displayed and featured attention- grabbing headlines: "Poland Left Choking on Its Own Wastes" (Boston Globe, 12/18/89); "East Bloc's Environment a Nightmare" (Atlanta Constitution, 3/11/90). The imagery drove […]