November 5, 2004
Five days before the presidential election, the New York Times killed a story about the mysterious object George W. Bush wore on his back during the presidential debates, journalist Dave Lindorff reveals in an exclusive report on this week’s CounterSpin , FAIR’s weekly radio show. The spiked story included compelling photographic and scientific evidence that would have contradicted Bush’s claim that the bulge on his back was just a matter of poor tailoring.
“The New York Times assigned three editors to this story and had it scheduled to run five days before the election, which would have raised questions about the president’s integrity,” said Lindorff. “But it was killed by top editors at the Times ; clearly they were chickening out of taking this on before the election.”
Lindorff says two other major newspapers, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times , also decided not to pursue the story, which featured a leading NASA satellite photo imaging scientist’s analysis of pictures of the president’s back from the first debate.
The Times ‘ bulge story is the latest example of possible self-censorship by major news media during the election campaign. In September, CBS ‘s 60 Minutes decided to delay until after the election an investigative segment that questioned the Bush administration’s use of forged Niger uranium documents in making its case for the Iraq war, saying that “it would be inappropriate to air the report so close to the presidential election” (New York Times , 9/25/04; FAIR Action Alert , 9/28/04).
And on September 10, CNN reporter Nic Robertson said of a CNN documentary on Saudi Arabia, “I don’t want to prejudge our executives here at CNN … but I think we can be looking forward to [it] shortly after the U.S. elections.” The segment is now scheduled to air this Sunday, five days after the election.
Lindorff first broke the story of “the bulge” in Salon (10/8/04). His latest report, “Was Bush Wired? Sure Looks Like It,” was published October 30 on MotherJones.com (www.motherjones.com/news/update/2004/11/10_407.html ).
CounterSpin provides a critical examination of major media stories every week, exposing issues the mainstream press misses. It is heard on more than 130 noncommercial stations across the United States and Canada, and can also be heard on FAIR’s website.
To listen to Lindorff’s CounterSpin interview (available in Real Audio in MP3 format), go to: www.fair.org/counterspin/110504.html. The interview begins 17 minutes and 30 seconds into the show.