Extra! July/August 1993

    The New York Times and Environmental Cleanup

    There's good news and bad news, America. The good news is that toxics in the environment are much less dangerous than once thought; the bad news is the government's exorbitant over-regulation of chemicals. The solution? Wait patiently for more definitive data and then apply strict cost/benefit analysis. That's the growing consensus among a new "third wave" of environmental philosophy--according to the New York Times. The Times' 239-paragraph, five-part series "What Price Cleanup?" appeared the week of March 21, timed for the eve of renewal of major environmental initiatives including the "Superfund" toxic clean-up program. Prominently placed (three of the articles ...


    Three Mile Island: 'They Say Nothing Happened'

    According to the TV program What Happened?, broadcast on NBC earlier this year (3/16/93), "the system worked" during the 1979 nuclear accident at Three Mile Island (TMI). Although there were problems with "communication," the show reported, with the undamaged unit of TMI back in operation, most people in the area now live happily with the TMI facility. "Today in Harrisburg life goes on, the incident is now in the past and most people are comfortable that it could never be repeated," the narrator of the program, produced by Hearst Entertainment for NBC, declares. Then local resident Debbie Baker says, "I'm ...


    Lani Guinier

    In the media smear campaign against Lani Guinier, Clinton's nominee as assistant attorney general for civil rights, her views were not only distorted, but in many cases presented as the exact opposite of her actual beliefs. One of the most prominent themes of the attack on Guinier was her supposed support for electoral districts shaped to ensure a black majority - a process known as "race-conscious districting." An entire op-ed in the New York Times -- which appeared on the day her nomination was withdrawn (6/3/93) -- was based on the premise that Guinier was in favor of "segregating black ...


    Health Debate in Quarantine

    Back in 1990, the grassroots group Neighbor to Neighbor called for a boycott of Folgers coffee to protest human rights abuses in El Salvador, a country Folgers bought coffee beans from. When Neighbor to Neighbor tried to run ads publicizing this boycott, however, nearly every TV station turned the group down. The reason stations were reluctant to air the ad soon became apparent. One of the few stations that did accept the spot was Boston's WHDH, a CBS affiliate. In response, Folgers' parent company, Procter & Gamble, cancelled the $1 million it spent annually on advertising at the station. Three ...


    Healthcare Reform: Not Journalistically Viable?

    In an October 1992 editorial, the New York Times proclaimed that "the debate over healthcare reform is over. Managed competition has won." This outcome, the Times announced (10/10/92), was "delicious" and "wondrous." In fact, the debate over healthcare reform still goes on, but you might not know it from establishment media. While the New York Times and other elite outlets have rallied around "managed competition"--a system in which private insurance companies provide medical care through giant HMOs--grassroots activists continue to push for a "single-payer" system, similar to Canada's, in which insurance companies would be eliminated from the health care picture ...