Friday, August 05, 2005


The New York Times celebrates its 60th anniversary of writing government propaganda

A lot of people think that the Judy Miller case is an aberration for the New York Times. In fact, for a very long time, there has been a very strange relationship between The Times and the US government. As reported on Democracy Now: DAVID GOODMAN: Sure. William Laurence was -- had immigrated to the United States from Lithuania in the 1930s, at a time when actually The New York Times was laying off reporters, due to the Great Depression. They asked Laurence to become both the newspaper's and the nation's first dedicated science reporter. Laurence was -- became fascinated with atomic power and atomic weapons and was an ardent supporter of atomic power in the articles that he wrote throughout the 1930s, and into the early 1940s. This is probably what caught the attention of the War Department. In the spring of 1945, a remarkable meeting took place secretly at the headquarters of The New York Times in Times Square in New York City. General Leslie Groves, the director of the Manhattan Project, which was the name of the program that was developing atomic bombs for the U.S. military, came to Times Square to The New York Times and met secretly with Arthur Sulzberger, the publisher of The New York Times, the Editor-in-Chief of The New York Times, and William Laurence. At that meeting, he asked Laurence if he would become a paid publicist, essentially, for the Manhattan Project. So, while simultaneously working as a newspaper reporter for The New York Times, he would also be writing essentially propaganda for the War Department. Officially he was asked to put in layman's terms the benefits of atomic weapons and the development of atomic power. Other New York Times reporters were unaware of this arrangement, this dual arrangement where he was being paid by both the government and the newspaper and, in fact, were somewhat mystified when Laurence began taking long leaves of absence. Well, the government's investment in Laurence paid off in spades because he was rewarded for his loyalty. He was also writing -- ended up writing statements for Secretary of War Stimson and for President Truman himself. He was rewarded by being given a seat in the squadron of planes that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki. David and Amy Goodman are filing to have Laurence and The Times stripped of the Pulitzer given for Laurence's writing. Considering the long and dubious history, I think The Times should be legally forbidden to use the words "news" or "newspaper" or "journalism" to describe what it does.
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

More blogs about politics.
Technorati Blog Finder