Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ $5.29 shipping
+ Free Shipping
The Record of the Paper: How the New York Times Misreports US Foreign Policy Hardcover – November 17, 2004
The Amazon Book Review
Book recommendations, author interviews, editors' picks, and more. Read it now
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
You WILL see a pattern of a co-opted agenda at the New York Times foreign policy desk, but the book refuses to go the extra mile and portray the deeper journalistic and personal conflicts of the offending reporters.
While the book avoids mudslinging about the Times' new questionable real estate acquistions, it also avoids impugning the paper too much. For example, where the author could have and SHOULD have come down hard on the felonious misinformation of Mr. Chalabi, it did not. When it could have covered the greater implications of Iraq or Vietnam and cleared up chronic misconceptions about both conflicts, it failed to and only waved the ideologies of the authors.
If you're a straight shooter, you probably won't like the almost childish way that the authors try to suddenly hammer their point in half a page after subtly pushing it, as if they were unsure of their work. Also, the book's starting point that the New York Times has committed egregious errors while admitting that only the Times is targeted because of its stature in the nation and in the hearts of the authors makes them sound like fans who have been betrayed than sophisticated experts.
All in all, the research itself is among the most extensive on the technical level and will be referenced for years if not decades by ideologues and political analysts alike. The chapter about the recent events in Venezuela is an astounding touch and is actually the highlight of effective research and the government's doublethink tendencies. If you're remotely interested in world events, journalism, or just truth as a whole, try to read at least half of this book. It may take some time, but you'll like it.
The authors show how the Times has consistently echoed the US government. For example, it ignored the 1954 Geneva peace accords, reported as fact President Johnson's lies about Vietnamese aggression in the Tonkin Gulf in 1964, backed the illegal US interference in Nicaragua, misreported the 1986 World Court's condemnation of this interference, and denied the US role in the coup attempts against Venezuela's elected President.
Recently, the Times endorsed the illegal Bush/Blair aggression against Iraq, a violation of the UN Charter, which prohibits the use of force. In its 70 editorials on Iraq between 11 September 2001 and 21 March 2003, it never mentioned the UN Charter or international law.
The Times presented Iraqi possession of WMD as fact, ignoring the IAEA's 60 reports showing it had destroyed Iraq's nuclear programme. The Times also ignored the UNMOVIC and IAEA reports that they had inspected eight of the nine suspected WMD sites listed in Blair's September 2002 dossier, and found no evidence of WMD. The Times failed to note that possession of WMD, even if proven, is not a casus belli.
The illegal invasion of Iraq led inevitably to all the other illegalities, the illegal occupation, the killing of more than 100,000 civilians, the illegal detention of 40,000 Iraqis, the systematic abuse and atrocities, the destruction of 70% of Fallujah's homes.
The authors point out that torture thrives where detainees are illegally held in secret without charge or trial, that is, kidnapped. This crime by the US and British leaders led inevitably to breaches of the US Constitution, which forbids cruel and unusual punishment, and of the Geneva Conventions and the 1984 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
I don't know how likely the Times is to change its reporting to include international law, as Friel and Falk request, and so it is important for people to read this book, so that if they are being misinformed about vital issues, at leas they will know it what ways the information is skewed. The book also explains international law in a way that is clear and easy to understand.
Top international reviews
The authors review NYT reporting over a period of 50 years but by specific events: Iraq, the short-lived overthrow of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Nicaragua & Vietnam. Too often the NYT is seen to more or less re-state the US government view and at times, to me, the standard of reporting and the lack of proper investigation or of even basic, healthy scepticism is frankly shameful. I was staggered to learn that in the course of seventy editorials on the subject of Iraq between September 2001 and March 2003, there was no mention of international law or the UN Charter. With regard to Venezuela, the NYT referred to the removal of Chavez, a democratically elected leader, by a short-lived coup, stating ".... Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator...", without a hint of irony. Worse still, in relation to Iraq, one experienced, Pulitzer-prize winning NYT journalist seems to have been wholly dependent on information from Ahmed Chalabi, a dissident Iraqi, but there doesn't seem to have been any thought that he might not be a reliable source.
There is a particularly good section dealing with Nicaragua, especially in relation to the case against the US lodged in the International Court of Justice. The NYT reported that the court was "hostile forum" which issued "hostile judgments" against the US. The forensic analysis of the actual court decision gives the lie to this.
Although I suspect that the book will carry a much greater punch in the USA than it does in the UK, it demonstrates very clearly the dangers of an unquestioning press. Perhaps the newspaper also reflects a kind of American nationalism, whereby many Americans seem unable to accept that their government ever acts other than in pursuit of good or in an honourable cause. This might explain why the NYT does not appear to have changed its approach over such a long period. Ultimately such attitudes have serious consequences: to quote the authors, "The New York Times did the people of the United States no favor by ignoring international law in its coverage of the US invasion of Iraq. From a national-interest perspective, ignoring international law on the conduct of US foreign policy in our view undermines the national security of the United States."