Ever since the start of nuclear technology, those behind it have made heavy use of deception, obfuscation and denial—with the complicity of most of the media. New York Times reporter William Laurence, working at the same time with the Manhattan Project, wrote a widely published press release covering up the first nuclear test in New Mexico in 1945, claiming it was nothing more than an ammunition dump explosion. The Times and Laurence went on to boost nuclear power for years to come (Beverly Deepe Keever, News Zero: The New York Times and The Bomb). A central concern of nuclear promoters, [...]
Downplaying deadly dangers in Japan and at home
Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The Most Dangerous Man in America. That's how Henry Kissinger described whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, who famously leaked a top-secret study of the Vietnam War in 1971 to the NY Times and other news outlets. The publication resulted in a landmark Supreme Court decision on freedom of the press, increased pressure to end the Vietnam War and was a key factor in the resignation of Richard Nixon. A new film tells that story. This week on a special edition of CounterSpin we'll talk to Daniel Ellsberg and Rick Goldsmith, co-director of the new film "The [...]
Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: There was a big breakthrough in the negotiations on North Korea's nuclear program. Or maybe there wasn't. The press played up a tentative deal that looked all the more so just one day later. So what happened? And whose interests were being served by playing up the apparent progress in negotiations? We'll talk to North Korea expert John Feffer. Also this week: What is it that John Ashcroft doesn't want librarians to tell you about the Patriot Act? That's at the heart of a crucial First Amendment case playing out in Connecticut. We'll hear [...]
What if a massacre had been covered when it mattered?
"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 [...]
Reporting on Japan Will Live in Infamy
The complex relationship between the United States and Japan lends itself to mutual distrust. For Japan, the scars left by 1853 (when U.S. gunships forced Japan to allow U.S. trade access), the turn-of-the century "yellow peril" bigotry, and the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are deep and enduring. For the U.S., where memories of Pearl Harbor are still painful, the relationship has recently become more difficult, as the U.S. recession deepens and Japanese politicians disparage the United States. The situation is only worsened when U.S. media substitute facile xenophobic notions for clear-eyed analysis. The recent 50th anniversary of [...]