The daily barrage of army and government disinformation has become a key component of the eight-year civil war in El Salvador.
On May 5, 1988, the US Embassy in El Salvador published a collection of articles and leaflets in its Daily Press Digest under the heading “Leftist Propaganda in the US.” Included in the digest was a piece by freelancer Chris Norton, which described the plight of Salvadoran refugees returning from Honduras, and an article on human rights by Holly Burkhalter, Washington representative of Americas Watch. Both stories were published in the North American Congress on Latin America’s Report on the Americas (September-December 1987). Norton, who is still based in San Salvador, wrote a letter to Secretary of State George Shultz, […]
By the end of the Democratic Convention, media cliches about the campaign had outpaced peaches as Georgia’s leading export. Through dint of repetition, the most dubious claims became truisms. If there was a chorus that resounded in Atlanta’s Omni Coliseum even louder that Neil Diamond’s “Coming to America,” it was the media’s unanimous refrain about those darned “special interests.” Reporters applied this pejorative label mostly to Jackson constituencies. Bruce Morton (CBS, 7/16/88) spoke of the Democrats’ need “to shed the image of the special interests.” John McLaughlin (NBC/PBS, 7/17/88) warned of a Democratic Party “in the vest pocket of special […]
Comparing the Coverage
The day after a Soviet interceptor plane blew up a Korean passenger jet, the first sentence of a New York Times editorial (9/2/83) was unequivocal: "There is no conceivable excuse for any nation shooting down a harmless airliner." Headlined "Murder in the Air", the editorial asserted that "no circumstance whatever justifies attacking an innocent plane." Confronted with the sudden reality of a similar action by the U.S. government, the New York Times inverted every standard invoked with righteous indignation five years earlier. Editorials condemning the KAL shoot down were filled with phrases like "wanton killing," "reckless aerial murder" and "no […]
On July 28, the House Judiciary subcommittee on crime, chaired by Congressman William Hughes (D-NJ), held the first of a series of hearings into whether Reagan administration officials condoned drug smuggling and other criminal activities to further its Central America policy. Among other things, the panel sought to determine if top leaders of the Colombian cocaine cartel escaped arrest because the much ballyhooed "war on drugs" took a back seat to a covert operation designed to discredit the Nicaraguan government-this at a time when the administration was seeking additional aid to the contras. CBS Evening News (7/28/88), the only major […]