"Freedom of the Press" Is a Phrase That Sounds Well. but in the World of George W Bush and Enron, Freedom Is Not Meant to Be That Free. (Columns)

By Pilger, John | New Statesman (1996), July 15, 2002 | Go to article overview

"Freedom of the Press" Is a Phrase That Sounds Well. but in the World of George W Bush and Enron, Freedom Is Not Meant to Be That Free. (Columns)


Pilger, John, New Statesman (1996)


On 4 July, the front page of the Daily Mirror was as powerful as any I have known, a tabloid at its best. George W Bush was flanked by a row of Stars and Stripes, chin up, eyes misted. "Mourn on the Fourth of July," said the banner headline. Above him were the words: "George W Bush's policy of bomb first and find out later has killed double the number of civilians who died on 11 September. The USA is now the world's leading rogue state."

The next day, Tom Shrager, a fund manager with the American investment company, Tweedy Browne, phoned Philip Graf, the chief executive of Trinity Mirror, to complain about the front page and the accompanying article, which I wrote. He reportedly "did not threaten" to sell his company's 4 per cent share of Trinity Mirror and "began by stating that he respected the concept of freedom of the press."

The United States has the freest press in the world. Under the constitution, journalists can push beyond limits of free speech accepted in this country. It is a freedom that lies fallow. Even Watergate, the Arc de Triomphe of modern journalism, was not quite as it seemed. Among the 1,500 journalists who were covering" Washington at the start of the scandal, only two of the least experienced reporters, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, sustained any curiosity about the Watergate burglary that led to the fall of Richard Nixon.

Seymour Hersh, America's great maverick reporter, believes that, contrary to the myth of a fearless adversary press, "the press did an awful lot to bring us Watergate". He contends that some of the most serious crimes of the Nixon/Kissinger years -- the secret bombing of Cambodia in 1969, widespread domestic spying, and the assault on the Chilean government of Salvador Allende -- were not disclosed until after Nixon was elected for a second term in 1972, even though journalists knew about them.

This was equally true of the "Iran-Contra" scandals during the years of Ronald Reagan, whose terrorism in Central America, especially against the government of Nicaragua, was ignored by many leading American journalists, who knew about the secret deals. I remember reading at the time an interview with Walter Guzzardi, the editor of Fortune magazine, who poured scorn on the notion of American journalism as a "fourth estate" steadfastly independent of government. Far from being a liberal redoubt, he said, more than three-quarters of the press had always endorsed the Republican Party. "The flow of news in America is essentially benign," he wrote. "The press has become a tremendous -- and often unappreciated -- force for legitimising governments, institutions and free enterprise."

In the US these days, as in Britain, genuine investigative reporting, which is costly, time-consuming and often politically unpalatable, is rare. It is unlikely that Woodward and Bernstein would be encouraged to follow the presidential scent today. Presidents are protected; Clinton was pursued by the media for salacious reasons and has since been reinvented as "misunderstood".

The same protection has been afforded the unelected George W Bush. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

"Freedom of the Press" Is a Phrase That Sounds Well. but in the World of George W Bush and Enron, Freedom Is Not Meant to Be That Free. (Columns)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.