Jan
01
1990

‘Noriega Offered His Usual Damp, Limp Handshake to Bush’s Firm Grip’

For sheer propaganda, high marks go to Newsweek‘s Noriega cover story (1/15/90), featuring excerpts from a book about Noriega by Wall Street Journal reporter Frederick Kempe. The book and its author were much touted by the media during the invasion. Some highlights: HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST ELLIOTT ABRAMS. “By the summer of 1985, the State Department’s new assistant secretary of state for Latin American affairs, Elliott Abrams, began to believe that Noriega’s help for the Contras was overestimated and his general harm to democracy and human rights was underestimated. Abrams had come out of State’s human rights office….” Abrams hardly “came […]

Jan
01
1990

Swallowing Hokum in Central America

During the height of the civil rights movement, Southern authorities frequently reacted to the bombing of a black church or a civil rights leader’s home by blaming the act on the Movement: “The Negroes did it themselves. It’s a stunt to win sympathy.” While the innuendo that Martin Luther King, Jr. would have fire-bombed his own home while his children slept was prominently and uncritically reported in Southern dailies, journalists from national media ignored such hokum or reported it as a way of highlighting how depraved or dishonest the authorities were. Ironically, the same absurd scenarios dismissed by journalists when […]

Jan
01
1990

The Press and the Shrinking American Electorate

Press treatment of low voter turnout in American society has become schizophrenic. On the one hand, the press is giving strong support to voter registration reform as a way of increasing voting; on the other, press coverage suggests–incorrectly–that registration reform will not increase voting because so many registered voters don’t bother to go to the polls. Many states have been easing the registration process by making it possible for people to register by mail, or at government agencies such as motor vehicle, unemployment and welfare offices. Congress is considering similar reforms. The Sacramento Bee (4/14/88) likes the fact that 20 […]