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Record of the Paper: How the New York Times Misreports US Foreign Policy
     

Record of the Paper: How the New York Times Misreports US Foreign Policy

by Richard Falk, Howard Friel
 

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On May 26, 2004, the New York Times issued an apology for its coverage of Iraq’s purported weapons of mass destruction. The Times had failed to provide what most readers expect from the US newspaper of record: journalistic accuracy and integrity about important matters of US foreign policy.

But the Times’ coverage of Iraq was

Overview

On May 26, 2004, the New York Times issued an apology for its coverage of Iraq’s purported weapons of mass destruction. The Times had failed to provide what most readers expect from the US newspaper of record: journalistic accuracy and integrity about important matters of US foreign policy.

But the Times’ coverage of Iraq was worse than they were willing to concede. In fact, for at least the past fifty years the editorial policy of the Times—from its coverage of the 1954 Geneva Accords on Vietnam to the issue of torture in Abu Ghraib—has failed to incorporate international law into its coverage of US foreign policy. This lapse, as the authors demonstrate, has profound implications for the quality of the Times’ journalism and the function of the press in a country supposedly governed by the rule of law.

In this meticulously researched study, Howard Friel and Richard Falk reveal how the Times has consistently misreported major US foreign policy issues, including the bombing of North Vietnam in response to the Tonkin Gulf and Pleiku incidents in 1964-65, the Reagan administration’s policy toward the Sandinista government of Nicaragua in the 1980s, the 2002 military coup that briefly overthrew Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s elected president, and the Bush administration’s 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“There could hardly be a more critical issue today than whether the world will be governed by the rule of law or the unilateral resort to force. This closely argued and penetrating study reviews half a century of increasing contempt for law and preference for force from a dual perspective: US government policy, and ‘journalistic malfeasance with far-reaching implications for constitutionalism in the United States and the rule of law for our country and the world’—no exaggeration, as the authors demonstrate in meticulous detail. The Record of the Paper should be read and pondered carefully, and taken as a call for action by concerned citizens.”—Noam Chomsky

“Friel and Falk provide a thorough and convincing analysis of how the New York Times advocated for the Iraq invasion, avoided dissenting views, ignored global opinion and established fact, and dismissed the relevance of international law. Perhaps most importantly, this book frames the shameful coverage of Iraq within the culture of the New York Times, with its consistent endorsement of US foreign policy from Vietnam to Nicaragua, Venezuela to Iraq. Read this book and join the fight for an independent media.”—Amy Goodman

Publishers Weekly
Although the New York Times is often attacked by conservative critics, this meticulous dissection of its foreign policy reporting comes from two international law experts who have more in common with Noam Chomsky than Rush Limbaugh. Friel (Dogs of War: The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page) and Falk (Unlocking the Middle East) use substantial research to argue that the Times has long "ignor[ed] international law when it applies to US foreign policy" and that the paper has willfully "failed to make a serious effort to expose government deception and misconduct." Presenting insightful chapters on coverage of the 1954 Geneva Accords on Vietnam, the Reagan administration's policy toward Nicaragua, the short-lived coup against Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and more, the authors detail how the Times presented official U.S. government policy instead of what the authors would consider a real investigation (and how publication of the Pentagon Papers was the exception to the rule). Regarding more recent incidents, Friel and Falk provocatively argue that the Times's front-page coverage of Iraq's supposed possession of WMDs may have been the result of Iraqi National Congress head Ahmed Chalabi "being paid by the US government to plant stories in the Times." This argument, combined with the other more historical examples, should bring much attention to this skillful work. (Nov.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
If you were one who, during the Vietnam War, said that the true motto of the New York Times should be "All the news that fits," this book is your vindication. Friel (Hegemony of Realist Ideology) and Falk (Unlocking the Middle East) have produced a meticulously researched and damning indictment of biases in the venerable paper's reportage related to U.S. military operations in Iraq and Vietnam and proxy incursions into Venezuela and Nicaragua. As the authors state in their introduction, "It is our judgment that the United States government has repeatedly violated international law with respect to its war-making over the past half-century." For each of these questionable entanglements, the paper has engaged in a "persistent refusal to consider international law arguments opposing recourse to war and [a] disturbing editorial policy" that precluded-and continues to preclude-considering various ramifications of our foreign policy. Despite its depth of research, this book is accessible to general as well as academic readers. Indeed, the current state of affairs expands the importance of the book far beyond the domain of journalists.-Ari Sigal, Catawba Valley Community Coll., Hickory, NC Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781844675838
Publisher:
Verso Books
Publication date:
03/26/2007
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.16(h) x 0.92(d)

What People are Saying About This

Noam Chomsky
[S]hould be read and pondered carefully, and taken as a call for action by concerned citizens.

Meet the Author

Richard Falk was Professor of International Law Emeritus at Princeton University and since 2002 is Visiting Professor of Global Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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