Jan
01
1997

Media Bomb on TWA Crash

Despite Oklahoma City, Journalists Still Played Guessing Game

TWA 800 reconstructed

Two days after the crash of TWA Flight 800, the New York Times (7/19/96) ran a story headlined “Newspapers Were Wary This Time, and Didn’t Jump to Conclusions." The Times argued that the memory of how much of the media rushed to blame Arabs after the Oklahoma City bombing (Extra!, 7-8/95) prevented any jumping to conclusions in the TWA case. That same issue of the New York Times featured a column by its former Mideast correspondent, Clyde Haberman, which led: This may seem to be jumping the gun.... But it is probably time for Americans to accept terrorism as a […]

Jan
01
1997

Promise Keepers, Media Sleepers

Reporters Take a Men's Movement at Face Value

It's easy to tell what makes folks in the establishment media nervous. When black men came together in Washington, D.C. for 1995's Million Man March, most journalists scrutinized with healthy skepticism the political agenda fueling the Nation of Islam-led event. Many came down hard and heavy on the organizers' exclusion of women and whites. Similarly, when Pride rallies involving thousands of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people attracted national attention in the early 1990s, ABC World News Tonight and CNN's Larry King Live (both 3/26/93) played excerpts of a hate-filled videotape of the marches made by homophobes, and debated what […]

Jan
01
1997

Saving the Earth Isn't Their Job

Rachel Carson wouldn't recognize many "environmental journalists" today

I knew I was in trouble when, walk­ing into a "leadership summit" of the Society for Environmental Jour­nalists, I tested out what I was plan­ning to say with a young reporter. SEJ should accept investigative report­ing as being a part of environmental journalism—after all, I noted, Rachel Car­son, the mother of environmental jour­nalism, practiced investigative reporting. "Rachel Carson," said the reporter, who covers the environment for a Florida newspaper, "isn't she the lady who worked for the Fish and Wildlife Service?" Investigating the Environment Much of the SEJ, a group now consist­ing of more than 1,000 journalists who cover environmental […]

Jan
01
1997

Dole's Debt to the Press

Election Coverage Narrowed Clinton's Lead—and Helped the GOP Keep Congress

Why do you need media critics when you’ve got Bob Dole? In the final weeks of the campaign, as Dole groped for some theme that would prevent him from being buried under a Clinton landslide, the Republican candidate hit on his party’s favorite imaginary enemy: the "liberal" media. At campaign stop after campaign stop, Dole blamed his dismal poll numbers on the failure of the liberal media to tell the truth about the president's character: In particular, he accused the New York Times of covering up allegations that Democratic National Committee fundraiser John Huang had unethically or illegally raised money […]

Jan
01
1997

Snow Job

The establishment's papers do damage control for the CIA

Dark Alliance logo

After the San Jose Mercury News linked CIA-backed Nicaraguan Contras with the importation of cocaine into poor black areas of Los Angeles, establishment papers relied for their debunking of the Mercury News on the CIA's own obligatory denials