Jan
01
1990

History That's Fit to Print

The New York Times is fond of running chronologies to explicate history for its readers. Often these chronologies provide a very selective version of events. Take a Jan. 8, 1990 example headlined "Two Decades of Suffering in Cambodia". It begins on March 18, 1970 ("Prince Norodom Sihanouk is ousted by Lon Nol...") and then skips to April 17, 1975 ("The Khmer Rouge rebels seize Phnom Penh..."). No mention is made of the 1969-1973 U.S. bombing campaign that dropped more than 500,000 tons of bombs on Cambodia, leaving, according to a Washington Post estimate (4/24/75), 450,000 dead and wounded. The only […]

Jan
01
1990

Censored News

Drug Links of Panama's New Rulers

The Bush White House justified the invasion by claiming that overthrowing Noriega was a major victory in the war on drugs. If journalists had reported the backgrounds of the new Panamanian leaders installed by the U.S. invasion, and their connections to drug-laundering banks and drug traffickers, a primary rationale for the invasion would have been shredded. But few journalists scrutinized Panama's "new democrats" from the country's banking and corporate elite. One who did was Jonathan Marshall, editorial page editor of the Oakland Tribune. In a series of editorials, "Panama's Drug, Inc." (1/5 & 1/22/90), Marshall reported the following: PRESIDENT GUILLERMO […]

Jan
01
1990

Reporters Rallying Round the Flag

Journalists justified their role as distributors of government handouts in different ways. Asked on Day 1 why U.S. opponents of the invasion were virtually invisible on-the-air, a CBS producer (who declined to give her name) told Extra!: "When American troops are involved and taking losses, this is not the time to be running critical commentary. The American public will be rallying around the flag." Some TV reporters claimed they were forced to rely on official U.S. versions because they had nothing else. As Newsday reported January 14, "Peter Arnett, a Pulitzer Prize-winning combat journalist, was reduced to reporting on Noriega's […]