Mar
01
1988

Election Myths '88

Michael Dukakis (cc photo: Hal O'Brien)

As the presidential campaign marches on, certain media themes have become as stale and repetitious as the candidates’ stump speeches. Extra! looks at some of the more familiar frames, examining what reporters choose to highlight and what they ignore. Democratic Party 'Captured by Special Interests' In traditional political parlance, the term “special interests” referred to private economic interests that relied on dollars instead of numbers of supporters to exercise undue power over politics or government. In recent years, the media have turned the phrase upside clown, applying it almost exclusively to one party (the Democrats) and only to groups representing […]

Mar
01
1988

Pro Football, the Media and the Mob

CBS sportscaster professed shock and dismay last January when Jimmy “the Greek” Snyder made offensive remarks about black athletes. Shortly thereafter Snyder was fired by CBS, leaving his erstwhile colleagues to cover the National Football conference playoffs without the benefit of the Greek’s pre-game betting wisdom. Snyder’s racist comments were repudiated by CBS announcer Brent Musberger prior to the Redskin-Viking championship match-up (1/10/88). (Apparently Musberger sees nothing offensive in Washington’s team using a Native American as its mascot.) “I’ve heard [Snyder] be more anti-Semitic and anti-female than antiblack in some of his off-camera remarks,” Musberger later told a reporter (Ms., […]

Mar
01
1988

South Africa: Where Did the Story Go?

Children in a "resettlement" village in apartheid South Africa. (cc photo: UN)

Where has the apartheid story gone? Is it being covered less because less is happening? Has the international press packed up and moved on? Or has South Africa’s press ban been so successful that coverage has been effectively curtailed?

Mar
01
1988

Jackson's 'Free Ride'

Rather and Reality Are Polls Apart

Addressing the American Society of Newspaper Editors (4/13/88), President Ronald Reagan asserted that criticism of Jesse Jackson had been muted because of concern that it "might be misinterpreted into some kind of racial attack." The president seemed to be adding his voice to the popular media refrain: When will Jackson's "free ride" with the press end? A closer look suggests the free ride has been rather bumpy. The Wall Street Journal (3/21/88) reported how Jackson "rants" against corporations. NPR (2/23/88) compared Jackson to a Chinese fortune cookie which "you get whether you want it or not." Jackson's policies are typically […]

Mar
01
1988

Media Censor CIA Ties With Medellin Drug Cartel

A key money-launderer for the Medellin cocaine cartel told Congress in February that he worked with the Central Intelligence Agency, but this information was not reported by the New York Times, the Washington Post, or the three major networks, even though all covered the hearings. In testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Narcotics, Terrorism and International Operations, Ramon Milian Rodriguez acknowledged that he laundered more than $3 million for the CIA after his indictment on drug charges in 1983. New York Times correspondent Elaine Sciolino failed to mention this in her coverage of Rodriguez's testimony, which was broadcast live on […]