Sep
01
2004

Spinning the Bomb

The New York Times has distorted nuclear issues from the beginning, author finds

News Zero: The New York Times and the Bomb By Beverly Ann Deepe Keever Common Courage Press Reviewed by Karl Grossman The New York Times has for decades downplayed—indeed suppressed—the dangers of radioactivity, according to an exhaustive study by a professor of jour­nalism at the University of Hawaii. Beverly Ann Deepe Keever is a for­mer reporter (and Vietnam correspon­dent) for outlets like the New York Herald Tribune, Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. Her book News Zero: The New York Times and The Bomb, just published by Common Courage Press, begins with the birth of the nuclear age—and finds that distortion […]

Mar
01
2004

Waiting Till the First Cow Dies

Herd reporting on mad cow disease

It's the day after U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman announced the first case of mad cow disease in the United States, the telephones at the Center for Media 8c Democracy in Madison, Wisconsin are ringing con­stantly with press inquiries. "I've never seen anything like this in my 30 years of activism!" John Stauber, executive director of the center and co­author of the 1997 book Mad Cow U.S.A., says. Stauber has been warning for years about the threat of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), better known as mad cow disease, com­ing to America. And after years of very limited press interest, this […]

May
01
2001

The Pentagon's New Star Warrior

Press overlooks Rumsfeld's pledge to militarize space

The United States is seeking to make space a new arena of war—but you wouldn't know that from main­stream media that limit coverage to U.S. plans for "missile defense." The wider space military program is laid out in publicly available docu­ments—easily accessible to media—such as the recent report of the "Space Commission" chaired by new U.S. defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld. "In the coming period the U.S. will con­duct operations to, from, in and through space in support of its nation­al interests both on the earth and in space," the 13-member panel declared in its January 2001 report. It urged that […]

Jan
01
1997

Saving the Earth Isn't Their Job

Rachel Carson wouldn't recognize many "environmental journalists" today

I knew I was in trouble when, walk­ing into a "leadership summit" of the Society for Environmental Jour­nalists, I tested out what I was plan­ning to say with a young reporter. SEJ should accept investigative report­ing as being a part of environmental journalism—after all, I noted, Rachel Car­son, the mother of environmental jour­nalism, practiced investigative reporting. "Rachel Carson," said the reporter, who covers the environment for a Florida newspaper, "isn't she the lady who worked for the Fish and Wildlife Service?" Investigating the Environment Much of the SEJ, a group now consist­ing of more than 1,000 journalists who cover environmental […]

May
01
1994

Ruling Shows Corporate Veto Over Reporters

A California appeals court has ruled that public utilities cannot discriminate against reporters—in a case that revealed how much power corporations have in determining who will cover them. The Dec. 27, 1993 decision by the Court of Appeal rein­stated a lawsuit brought by journalist J.A. Savage, who charged that Pacific Gas & Electric Co. got her fired from two publications for writing critical articles about the utility While a lower court had dismissed her suit on the grounds that PG&E was a private company, the appeals court found that PG&E acted improperly in "effectively blacklisting" Savage. "In the case of […]

Apr
01
1994

Victor Neufeld's Anti-Environmental Spin Continues

Extra! Update June 1994

Victor Neufeld, 20/20's executive producer, whose wife is a PR agent who has represented the nuclear, chemical and plastics industries, has continued to steer the show away from environmental stories. In an Extra! expose (1-2/94), 20/20 staffers and ex-staffers told of Neufeld squelching stories critical of the nuclear industry and putting a spin on environmental stories that minimized or denied environmental concerns. ABC reacted to the Extra! article by "circling the wagons" around Neufeld, a 20/20 source said. As for Neufeld's posture on environmental stories, "It's the same thing--and worse." Indeed, Neufeld, along with John Stossel, the correspondent who has […]

Mar
01
1993

Close Encounters of the Nuclear Kind

Reporters ignore space probe's plutonium payload

A space probe with 50 pounds of plutonium aboard--theoretically enough if dispersed to give everyone in the world lung cancer--made an extremely risky low-level "flyby" of the Earth in December 1992. But you wouldn't have known any danger was involved by reading most of the mainstream U.S. media. Indeed, the New York Times' Dec. 8 account of the Galileo space probe flyby--which occurred later that day--didn't mention the word "plutonium" once, or "nuclear." Nor did the story, by John Noble Wilford, give any indication of concerns expressed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, or by General Electric, the manufacturer of Galileo's […]

Sep
01
1992

Developers Have a Friend at Newsday

Newsday's reputation as a promoter of de­velopment on Long Island, N.Y., is be­ing reinforced by publisher Robert M. Johnson—to the discomfort of many of the daily's reporters and other Long Island media. Johnson was the principal speaker at an April 7 meeting of top Long Island developers, leaders of business groups and construction unions, who were strategizing on how to over­come a court decision halting construction in the pine bar­rens of eastern Long Island. The environmentally sensitive barrens are considered crucial in protecting the island's under­ground water supply. Johnson, according to a source at the meeting at the Huntington Hilton, […]