The case of the media in KAL 007 was so shameless that it deserves to be memorialized, its anniversary solemnly observed.
From one of America's last journalists, Robert Parry
One of the baldest -- and now admitted -- lies was the case of Korean Air Lines flight 007. On the night of Aug. 30, 1983, the KAL 747 jumbo jet ... penetrated some of the Soviet Union's most sensitive air space.... The Soviet pilot tried to signal the plane to land, but the KAL pilots apparently did not see the repeated warnings. Amid confusion about the plane's identity -- a U.S. spy plane had been in the vicinity hours earlier -- Soviet ground control ordered the pilot to fire. He did, blasting the plane out of the sky and killing all 269 people on board.
The Soviets soon realized they had made a horrendous mistake. U.S. intelligence also knew from sensitive intercepts that the tragedy had resulted from a blunder...But in 1983, the truth about KAL-007 didn't fit Washington's propaganda needs. ...The administration then chose to release only snippets of the taped intercepts packaged in a way to suggest that the slaughter was intentional....
In a boastful but frank description of the successful disinformation campaign, [USIA chief Alvin] Snyder noted that "the American media swallowed the U.S. government line without reservation. Said the venerable Ted Koppel on the ABC News 'Nightline' program: 'This has been one of those occasions when there is very little difference between what is churned out by the U.S. government propaganda organs and by the commercial broadcasting networks.'"
Parry doesn't say it, but it seems likely that intelligence officials knew hours ahead of time that almost 300 civilians were about to pay with their lives for the games that the US played over Sov. territory... and they stayed silent and let them die as pawns for the propaganda war.
And the media... the media let themselves be used to spread this propaganda because they were afraid of being painted as disloyal. How many people know that the destruction of a free media is part of Reagan's real legacy?