Extra! July 1987

    Adolfo Perez Esquivel on the New York Times' Argentina Coverage

    Argentine military officers feel they are victims of an ungrateful society, reports Shirley Christian in the New York Times (6/7/87). They feel their role in “putting down leftist subversion during the 1970s” is unappreciated—but not by Christian, who quoted unnamed army officers at length, with no comments from human rights activists or victims of the dirty war. Extra! asked Argentine Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel, who was imprisoned and tortured by the military junta, to respond to the Times article. The armed forces returned to their barracks in late 1983, marginalized and defeated by their ignominious venture in ...


    The Media’s Cold War Bias

    An unbiased press would report events in both superpower blocs without fear or favor.


    Purging Politics From the Fiji Coup

    It was widely reported that the May 14 military coup in Fiji had one basic cause—ethnic rivalries between Melanesian Fijians and Indo-Fijians. A sampling of headlines: “Military Coup in Fiji Follows Racial Unrest” (Christian Science Monitor, 5/15/87); “Coup in Fiji: Rising Tide of Nationalism” (International Herald Tribune, 5/22/87); “A Bloodless Coup Reveals Ethnic Tensions in a Tropical Land” (Time, 5/25/87). But another factor was hardly alluded to by the US media: the antinuclear policies of the government overthrown by the military. The fact that Fiji’s elected government had opposed US nuclear policy in the region was reported before the coup, ...


    Scott Armstrong on the Media & Contragate

    On media coverage of the Iran/Contra hearings: "Those media that reported the government’s lies as facts are obliged to assign someone to scrutinize the conflicting evidence and correct their previous misstatements."


    SDI Test Site Story Gains Ground

    Extra! (6/87) cited as an important overlooked news story freelancer Norman Solomon’s Baltimore Sun op-ed (4/9/87), which revealed that the Star Wars test site at Ranier Mesa, Nevada, was cracking and dangerous. UPI Washington staffer John Hanrahan subsequently expanded upon Solomon’s report that the Nevada test site’s top official lied in a letter to Rep. Mike Lowry (D.-Wash.)--falsely claiming that there had been an independent geological inspection of Ranier Mesa. UPI quoted a leading geological expert, Jack Evernden, who warned that current nuclear explosions inside the mesa are dangerously fracturing rock formations. Acknowledging these problems could upset the Reagan administration’s ...


    Reporter Gets Scoop, Then Gets Shafted

    Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Jim Lawless has been on the utilities beat for six years. On May 30, he and colleague Bill Sloat broke the “GE Papers” story for the Plain Dealer, and it soon went national. The secret papers, written by General Electric engineers in 1975, detailed intense management pressure on GE’s nuclear division to rush onto the market a nuclear reactor design inadequately tested and potentially dangerous. Besides the issue of corporate greed, the story raised questions about Nuclear Regulatory Commission complicity and a consumer rip-off of billions of dollars in cost overruns at approximately 22 reactors based ...


    Racism in Sports Journalism

    A USA Today survey (6/26/87) of minorities in sports media reveals that of the 254 writers who cover the 26 Major League Baseball teams, there are only four blacks, one Hispanic and one Asian. (Only six are women.) Of baseball’s 141 TV broadcasters, only five are black, all ex-players. No minority announcers are on English-language radio. At top national media— USA Today, Sports Illustrated, Sport, Inside Sports, NBC, ABC and CBS Radio—only two blacks cover baseball on a regular basis. Black basketball star lsiah Thomas sparked a controversy last month when he stated that race was a factor in sports ...


    PBS Drops Documentary on Religious Right

    Award-winning filmmaker Antony Thomas was putting the final touches on his TV documentary about the religious right last April, just when the Jim and Tammy Bakker scandal broke. PBS Frontline had put up half the film’s $360,000 budget and was set to run it in two parts on May 12 and 19. It couldn’t have been more timely and TV reviewers were unanimous in their raves. But Frontline suddenly got cold feet and shelved the program indefinitely. Unless PBS is prevailed upon to change its decision, there are fears the documentary may never air. The film opens at a Dallas ...


    Klaus Barbie the Businessman

    An otherwise excellent New York Times Magazine article on Nazi fugitive Klaus Barbie failed to mention Barbie’s continuing role as a CIA asset.