Nov 1 1990

Post-Bradlee Post

What will the new regime bring?

Ben Bradlee (cc photo: Miguel Ariel Contreras Drake-McLaughlin)

Ben Bradlee is gradually surrendering authority at the nation’s second-most influential newspaper. The change may not bode well for those who find the Washington Post already too close to governing elites.

Nov 1 1990

Bloody Journalism

“In forceful terms, Mr. Bush sought to prepare the whole American nation for the prospect of bloodshed,” wrote R.W. “Johnny” Apple in an August 12 analysis of the president’s speech on Iraq. Apple, one of the New York Times’ top political analysts wrote approvingly of Bush’s message that “American soldiers and American hostages may have to die,” referring to the president as “tough,” “determined” and “statesmanlike.” (Apple described Saddam Hussein as “wiggling and squirming.”) Apple wrote in a strikingly similar vein on the Panama invasion (12/21/89), declaring that Bush had completed “a presidential initiation rite” joining “American leaders who since […]

Nov 1 1990

Mothers and Other Soldiers

The media's 'woman warrior'

The media have been fascinated with the thousands of U.S. military women on active duty in the Persian Gulf. “Women Warriors,” a Newsweek cover called them (9/10/90), while People‘s cover story was “Mom Goes to War.” Women have long been used to whip up public enthusiasm for battle. What makes the Gulf crisis different is that not only are there women victims to be rescued, there are also women soldiers who can be used t demonstrate the superiority of the American way through contrast with their oppressed Arab sisters, and who show that women in fatigues are still mothers underneath. […]

Nov 1 1990

Media on the March

Journalism in the Gulf

Panama Invasion (photo: Morland/DoD)

From the beginning of the Persian Gulf crisis in August 1990, most of the mainstream U.S. media went into war mode: Their main mission was not journalism, but the creation of a national consensus in support of the U.S. military buildup. The media acknowledged this mission as they begged to he allowed to report from Saudi Arabia: “A major military exercise cannot succeed without the sustained support and understanding of the American people, and it will not long he supported or understood without extensive and close-up news reporting,” Max Frankel, executive editor of the New York Times, was quoted in […]