Vets Sue over Retracted Gas Story

By Stein, M. L. | Editor & Publisher, September 26, 1998 | Go to article overview

Vets Sue over Retracted Gas Story


Stein, M. L., Editor & Publisher


Eleven Vietnam war veterans have sued Time Inc. and Cable News Network for libel and invasion of privacy over a June TV report, echoed in Time magazine, saying U.S. soldiers used nerve gas in an operation against defectors in Laos.

Filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, the complaint charges Time and CNN with intentionally distorting the facts and sensationalizing its reporting in the program called Valley of Death. Both news organizations have retracted the story, and CNN fired producers April Oliver and Jack Smith and reprimanded CNN correspondent Peter Arnett, who narrated the broadcast and shared a byline in Time.

In an 82-page complaint, former Air Force, Army and Marine Corps officers and enlisted men said the reports were false about the use of sarin, a deadly nerve gas, and wrongly accused troops of killing women and children. Former Air Force Major Art Bishop, who piloted the plane that dropped gas canisters in the so-called Operation Tailwind, has said the substance was tear gas, and told CNN so. …

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