Aug 1 2013

This American Life on Guatemalan Genocide

Washington's role is a story not worth telling


On the evening of December 4, 1982, President Ronald Reagan informed reporters assembled at an Air Force base in Honduras that he had just engaged in a “useful exchange of ideas” with Efraín Rios Montt. The Guatemalan military general was the most recent in a succession of U.S.-backed dictators who had been governing the country since the CIA first toppled its democratically elected president, Jacobo Arbenz, in 1954. “I know that President Rios Montt is a man of great personal integrity and commitment,” Reagan continued. “I know he wants to improve the quality of life for all Guatemalans and to […]

Jun 11 2004

Bob Parry & Jill Nelson on Reagan’s Legacy

Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: As one might’ve predicted, some of it’s just been inane, as when Time magazine said “Reagan gave Reaganism a human face,” but some of the many hours and pages of coverage devoted to former president Ronald Reagan have been downright dangerous in their omissions and distortions of the historical record. What are reporters forgetting or getting wrong? And what does the wave of largely uncritical treatment of Reagan say about the current state of the US press? We’ll talk with veteran reporter Bob Parry about the Reagan history being left out of the media […]

Jun 9 2004

Reagan: Media Myth and Reality

June 9, 2004 As the media spend the week memorializing Ronald Reagan, journalists are redefining the former president’s life and accomplishments with a stream of hagiographies that frequently skew the facts and gloss over scandal and criticism. Reagan’s Popularity “Ronald Reagan was the most popular president ever to leave office,” explained ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas (6/6/04). “His approval ratings were higher than any other at the end of his second term.” Though the claim was repeated by many news outlets, it is not true; Bill Clinton’s approval ratings when he left office were actually higher than Reagan’s, at 66 percent […]

Aug 1 1987

Media Put Reagan Spin on Arias Plan

The signing of the Central America peace accord in Guatemala City set off a U.S. media reaction that showed once again the extent to which White House assumptions are shared by the national press corps. While some reporters have questioned whether President Reagan sincerely supports the Arias plan, virtually all mainstream media accept the administration’s contention that its goal is to bring about “a democratic outcome in Nicaragua.” Over the years journalists have at times challenged the tactics of the contra policy (mining harbors, assassination manuals, lying to Congress), but they never doubt its objective: to promote “democracy.” It is […]