Jan
01
1990

How Television Sold the Panama Invasion

The media go to war

PanamaBurning

Two weeks after the Panama invasion, CBS News sponsored a public opinion poll in Panama that found the residents in rapture over what had happened. Even 80 percent of those whose homes had been blown up or their relatives killed by U.S. forces said it was worth it. Their enthusiasm did not stop with the ousting of Gen. Manuel Noriega, however. A less heavily advertised result of the poll was that 82 percent of the sampled Panamanian patriots did not want Panamanian control of the Canal, preferring either partial or exclusive control by the U.S. (“Panamanians Strongly Back U.S. Move,” […]

Jan
01
1990

Worse Than Ed Meese?

That’s what reporters covering the Justice Department think of Attorney General Richard Thornburgh’s control over public information, according to a survey published in the January 15 issue of Corporate Crime Reporter. Thirteen of 14 journalists who responded to the survey agreed that “the Justice Department under Attorney General Thornburgh actively discourages the free flow of information,” while 12 affirmed that “less public information is being made available” now than during the Reagan administration. Among the reporters’ comments on Thornburgh: “He’s shut the place down by wrapping himself in self-righteousness and threatening to fire lawyers who talk to reporters.” “Any news […]

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 […]