Oct 1 1989

Propaganda from the Middle of the Road

The Centrist Ideology of the News Media

Ahead Only (cc photo: Pavlos Stamatis)

Unlike left-wing or right-wing publications which are often on the attack, centrist propaganda emphasizes system-supporting news, frequently speaking in euphemisms. If scandals come to light, centrist propaganda often focuses less on the scandal than on how well “the system works” in fixing it.

Oct 1 1989

Cronkite for Hire

Once labeled “the most trusted man in America,” former CBS anchor and current board member Walter Cronkite has come under attack for accepting $25,000 from the extremist, industry-sponsored American Council on Science and Health (ACSH). For that fee, he narrated the pro-pesticide documentary, Big Fears, Little Risks, which aired on PBS stations this summer. In the documentary, Cronkite pooh-poohed consumer fears of pesticides as “chemophobia.” Without the pretense of balance, the film presented only the views of scientists who support ACSH’s anti-environmentalist, anti-regulatory positions. Cronkite added some ridicule: “Can we find ourselves placing a hazardous warning label on every salt […]

Oct 1 1989

Biased Afghan Coverage at CBS

Print Media Protect Rather

Despite mainstream journalists’ claim of strict objectivity in covering the news, they make exceptions: Some stories are covered without even the pretense of neutrality. Dan Rather and CBS News, for example, adopted a cause throughout the 1980s–that of the Afghan mujahedeen. Sloppiness in the advocacy of that cause created a recent scandal for the network. Beginning September 27, a series of articles by Janet Wilson in the New York Post charged that Dan Rather’s CBS newscasts had repeatedly “aired fake battle footage and false news accounts” of the Afghan War. Among the charges: Fakery: CBS presented staged “action-packed commando” footage […]

Oct 1 1989

Henry Kissinger

The Walking, Talking Conflict of Interest

Henry Kissinger (cc photo: Remy Steinegger/WEF)

On Sept. 13, 1989, the day Henry Kissinger ended his tenure as a paid analyst for ABC News, he became the newest member of CBS‘s board of directors. Kissinger’s ties to the TV networks have always been close; no other “expert” is as ubiquitous on TV, commenting on what U.S. policy should be toward countries from Eastern Europe to the Middle East to Latin America. In recent months, Kissinger has used his high media profile in a spirited defense of China. In a Washington Post/L.A. Times column (“The Caricature of Deng as a Tyrant Is Unfair”, 8/1/89), Kissinger argued against […]

Oct 1 1989

Censored News: Oliver North & Co. Banned From Costa Rica

Few individuals fascinate the U.S. media like Ollie North. Few subjects grab more media attention than drugs. Few democracies win more media praise than Costa Rica. Put these three into a single scandal and it spells Front Page News, right? Wrong. What it spells is C-E-N-S-O-R-S-H-I-P. In July, North and other major Contragate figures were barred from Costa Rica. The order was issued by none other than Costa Rican President Oscar Arias. President Arias was acting on recommendations from a Costa Rican congressional commission investigating drug trafficking. The commission concluded that the Contra resupply network in Costa Rica which North […]