May
01
1995

Desperately Seeking Difference:

ABC Finds Biology Is Destiny

With the February 1 ABC News special, Boys and Girls Are Different: Men, Women and the Sex Difference, reported by correspondent John Stossel, hormonally induced haircut prices joined gay brains and race-based IQ as the politically charged science of the media moment. The show asked the eternal question, "Are men and women supposed to be the same, or are we different creatures right from birth?" Stossel argues that any remnants of sexism in today's egalitarian society can't explain noticeable sex differences in our behavior ("men are obsessed with sports, women have more friends"), nor account for women's failure to reach […]

May
01
1995

Iraqgate: Confession and Cover-Up

While the O.J. Simpson trial gobbled up endless TV hours and countless news pages, a concurrent criminal trial in Miami went almost unnoticed by the national media, even though it called into question the judgment of three U.S. presidents. President Clinton's Justice Department had put on trial Teledyne Industries, a major military contractor, and two of its mid-level employees, on charges of selling cluster-bomb parts to a Chilean arms manufacturer, Carlos Cardoen. Cardoen, in turn, allegedly shipped finished bombs to Iraq. Defense attorneys for the Teledyne employees argued that the CIA, as part of a secret operation that has come […]

May
01
1995

The Right Has a Dream

Martin Luther King as an Opponent of Affirmative Action

In the last years of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life, many mainstream journalists and conservative politicians treated him with fear and derision. In 1967, Life magazine (4/21/67) dubbed King's prophetic anti-war address "demagogic slander" and "a script for Radio Hanoi." Even years later, Ronald Reagan described King as a near-Communist. Today, however, a miracle is taking place: Suddenly, King is a conservative. By virtue of a snippit from one 1963 address--a single phrase about "the content of our character"--King is the most oft-quoted opponent of affirmative action in America today. "Martin Luther King, in my view, was a conservative," right-wing […]

May
01
1995

The Mexican 'Miracle'

What U.S. media missed

On May 22, 1993, soldiers from the Mexican army accidentally ran across a guerrilla training camp in the jungles of the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. One army officer and one civilian were killed in the clashes that followed, according to the military. The incident was given prominent coverage in La Jornada, a popular, moderately leftist Mexico City daily. The reports of a skirmish were greeted with some skepticism in Mexico, but Gen. Rigoberto Castillejos Adriano, a sub-commander in the National Defense Secretariat, indignantly defended the army's account in a letter featured on the front page of the July 11 […]

May
01
1995

Your Life Is Brought to You By...

It's been estimated that a typical American TV viewer sees 100 commercials a day. That's 36,500 a year, or perhaps 2.5 million over the course of the viewer's lifetime. Just about every one of those commercials is carefully crafted to convey the message: If you buy our product, you will be complete. Part reviewer, part consumer reporter, Village Voicecolumnist Leslie Savan examines commercial role in shaping our lives and selves. Extra! May/June 1995

May
01
1995

Readers for Sale!

What Newspapers Tell Advertisers About Their Audience

Examines how newspapers sell their readership to advertisers. Reveals how bottom-line demands of corporate owners have resulted in papers putting the selling of "quality" audiences above quantities of papers to readers. How the Wall Street Journal views its readers. Extra! May/June 1995

May
01
1995

Are Disabled Children Ripping You Off--Or Did PrimeTime Live Tell a Big Fib?

Few targets of the "welfare reform" campaign are more vulnerable than disabled children. Yet funds for those children, in the form of the Supplemental Security Income program, were under attack on PrimeTime Live's Oct. 13, 1994 broadcast. "It's a program designed to help disabled children, but parents are helping themselves," ABC's Diane Sawyer announced. "Chief correspondent Chris Wallace discovers all you need is a child willing to tell a big fib." Co-anchor Sam Donaldson echoed her: "Chief correspondent Chris Wallace discovered just how easy it is to get on the receiving end of what some are calling 'crazy checks.'" Wallace […]