Jan 1 1993

With Jobs at Stake, Women are Ignored

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will disproportionately affect women, yet the voices of women workers have barely been heard in the main­stream media’s discussion of the pact. NAFTA’s most likely impact, according to the World Bank, will be on multina­tional corporations operating south of the U.S.-Mexico border and on those who work for them—predominantly women and girls. Multinationals already employ almost half a million people in Mexico, 70 percent to 80 percent of whom are women between the ages of 16 and 25. NAFTA may open up new job opportu­nities for these women, albeit in industries that pay […]

Nov 1 1991

The Press as Gates-Keeper

Coverage of a CIA Nominee

In her novel Damage, Josephine  Hart wrote that the modern expres­sion of guilt brings its own absolu­tion: “Say the guilt prayer ‘I feel guilty,’ and hey presto, that’s the punishment.” So it was with President Bush’s nomi­nee to head the CIA, Robert Gates, who appeared (and said the prayer) before the Senate Intelligence Committee this fall. And so it would be, no doubt, for the press—except that the press so rarely stoops to atone. The newspapers of record—the New York Times and Washington Post ­reported extensively on the Gates hear­ings, publishing, in the case of the Times, many pages of […]

May 1 1991

Will the “New Hitler” Have a Beard?

The same hawish pundits who so successfully demonized Saddam Hussein are now looking for a new target. For most, the demon of choice is an old foe: Fidel Castro. Georgie Ann Geyer, an old cold warrior with a new biography out on Castro, gave the Today show (3/4/91) a description of Castro that seemed remarkably similar to the dirt dished out by unnamed U.S. officials on Khadafy, Noriega and Saddam: of “illegitimate” birth, he abused his first wife, admired Hitler and Mussolini for their power and toted Mein Kampf around with him. The interview–more like a monologue–concluded with Geyer speculating […]

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. […]

May 1 1990

Northern Ireland From London’s Perspective

Belfast mural (photo: Ardfern/Wikimedia)

In October 1988, British Home Secretary Douglas Hurd announced a ban on broadcasting statements by members or appar­ent sympathizers of eleven political and paramilitary organizations (three of them legal). “This is not censorship,” Hurd announced. Affected journalists tried to adapt to the new conditions. Some news reports in Britain and Ireland now declare that stories have been affected by govern­ment restrictions. Silent images of for­bidden speakers appear with their words subtitled or dubbed in by an announcer. But as East German writer Christa Wolf once said, the government censor you can escape; it’s the censor in your head you have […]