WGBH Journal; Media Ethics: Foreign Affairs Report
I would suggest that the real problem is the real ethical problem in foreign coverage lies in something much simpler and that is the cheap shot. The easy acceptance of cliche views of foreign persons and foreign systems foreign establishment is the short cuts in perspective that result from that. I would say Ask For instance how ethical is a reporter who knows that his publisher and his editor and probably a fair amount of a number of his readers are anti PLO or anti Mrs Gandhi or anti Mrs. Mao chunking or are easily anti white Afrikaners or anti Baader-Meinhof gang or anti I end they are even anti the present military government in Chile and they simply supply their publishers editors and readers pre-conceptions with a little bit more confirmation. With every dispatch they file how ethical is that reporter. I'm not suggesting that the reporter has to learn to love all of these various villains but he certainly he or she certainly ought to be finding out what makes them tick. If he doesn't how is going to understand them how is he going to be able to file an accurate report and accurate analysis explaining to his readers back home what's happened or what's likely to happen next. And all of these cases such journalists remind me of the student who was conservative at home and liberal with his college friends and when he was alone he was just confused. It seems to me that we have notable examples of both pro and con in the foreign field today. The good in the bad in this ethical field. George Weller now retired correspondent for The Chicago Daily News once said that when he first went out to cover Europe in the Middle East that most newspapers felt that a correspondent had to be in the area he was covering. And he had to know every layer of that society peeling it back like layers of onion skin. But the fashion in recent years has been to establish centralized bureaus. I recall covering a first Communist Party conference that was open to the Western press in Romania and finding that to Time magazine correspondence had flown in for the opening day where they covered the drama of the collision between Mr. Brezhnev and Mr. Dunk's upping the most superficial terms then flew back to their bureau and bought go to Germany where they were at that time 33 correspondents stabled and left the coverage of the rest of the conference including a great many nuances of behavior to a stringer. Elizabeth pond to cover for the magazine that kind of centralisation certainly doesn't fit my idea of ethical coverage of world affairs. Bill were they at the table here certainly strikes me as an example of someone who did go that extra step in his now celebrated I'm sure he's tired of hearing about it. A flight to China his trip to China in the days when the United States had followed along years of an open door policy with a closed mind policy on China. I should say I'm presuming too much of my time here but in passing since I've mentioned Elizabeth pond that on the monitor we have discovered and I suspect other papers feel the same way that women not only make good foreign corresponds than experience foreign correspondents. The coverage we had in Moscow from Charlotte Sokolsky in my mind was superior to anything that her male colleagues on my paper were doing in other capitals or her male colleagues from other papers in Moscow were doing. I think the same can be said of June Goodwin's current coverage from South Africa. How ethical to take a second example our foreign correspondents is a foreign correspondent who lands in a distant capital and sees only the US embassy staff and members of the local English speaking ghetto as sources a correspondent really have to dig digging deeper than that or he's only going to reaffirm his preconceptions. That kind of Correspondent fits the classic definition of a tourist as someone who travels to see things that are different and then complains because they are the same as they were back home. Finally how ethical or accurate is an editor who orders or selects only stories that fit preconceived patterns. Romanians are exemplary because they are independent of Moscow but East Germans are easy to slam because they aren't black Africans are all either noble freedom fighters and they want one hand or their leaders can't run a country and are corrupt. Another cliche. The Japanese are in Skloot are inscrutable. I find many Japanese are far more Western and direct than one would expect Cambodians are lazy Lotus Eaters yesterday in the sixties and suddenly they become a vast puppet show in which everybody is marching and change. Italy is on the brink of collapse perennially Denmark is nothing but one vast live show. Ireland is a land rife with religious rigidity. Now obviously there were some there's some basis for some of these cliches. But to continue to perpetuate them beyond whatever percentage of ring of reality they represented is foolish journalism in the long run and only confuses ones readers. Now these are only some quick examples the kind of problem that seems to me to exist. It's one of intellectual laziness rather than ethical corruption abroad. The Dutch historian Peter Gale wrote a remarkable study of a whole generation of reporters a book called Napoleon for and against. In it he documented how no reporter or historian associated with the Napoleonic era was able to write objective Lee because each was firmly committed for or against. With the passage of time passions died and objectivity began to emerge in the writing of history of that period. In theory the remoteness of distance is supposed to do for journalism what remoteness and time did for those historians later historians of the Napoleonic period distance from home should aid objectivity. The reporter who goes abroad is not enmeshed in causes and personalities he doesn't have a whole lifetime of fixed ideas to carry around with them he starts fresh in many cases. He's got that advantage over the person who cover city hall or who covers Washington. What we need to make sure of it seems to me is that in practice he and his editors take advantage of that situation not to move to the next analyst.
He is the director of the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government. Across the river at MIT.
Thank you very much. I'm not sure I'm that heavy on this panel but since I've spent most of my career in politics and as a government official and I've neither taught journalism nor ever served as a journalist I'm certainly a candidate for that role.
I have served on the other side and I can remember one time trying to get a an airplane at the Tokyo airport after having made a trip to Tokyo for the United States government and having attended a Geisha party with Henry Kissinger the night before. And one of my friends I was not the geisha I was part of part of the Kissinger an entourage and a friend of mine named Crocker snow from whom you will hear next. I was out on the tarmac with me. Dodging jet streams here and there desperately trying to get some sort of word of how Kissinger had behaved the night before from his press loving aide Jonathan Moore he did not violate any ethical standards in his approach to me. I did not violate any ethical standards in the information which I didn't have to give him and wouldn't have given him if I had.
That may give you a little hint as to the fact that I've been involved in the subject we've discussed today although not in them or not in the most attractive of the two roles.
I will speak somewhat more broadly being being an amateur. Let me start off by by by just a couple of assumptions that I bring to the subject. First of all I think that the press is no less nor any more ethical than any other institution. Secondly I tend to think that good reporting tends to be good ethics. That is that professional quality in news reporting tends to include high ethical standards implicitly. And thirdly I believe that there are a lot of very sensitive complex ethical problems in Journalism which tend to become pounded in international reporting or reporting about foreign policy and national security even from this country.
For instance the whole question of sources their identification the use of them being used by them if you are a journalist tends to be more complex. In the international scene than it is in purely domestic journalism. The shallowness to reporting the real processes and complexity of government and policy abroad doing so in depth and not superficially and just in terms of personality conflicts is more challenging in international reporting. The the questions of relationships of the journalist to government officials and government policy in terms both of loyalty being a good citizen. In terms of the country that you're a citizen of. And in terms of role it is staying a journalist and not intern not not becoming interested in the policy developments themselves is a tougher those those various relationships are tougher to resolve in their reporting of world affairs than they are in the reporting of domestic affairs in my view.
All these areas are tougher because at least there are two governments or two cultures you're dealing with rather than one. And to some extent one of them or more is going to be more alien to you than your own.
There's a greater opportunity for us to be seduced by the glamour of the situation. There's more opportunity to misinterpret because you're crossing the lines of education and language and culture and policy and there are those national security and classification restraints that I hope will spend some time talking about today.
I have questions in my mind addressing this as to how much a white person from an industrialized society can really understand and know about foreign cultures without it being in danger of super superimposing his own her own values and experience on them. Are they democratic enough these foreign governments for instance.
I think that there's that I got questions about the foreign correspondent being more vulnerable to being set up work or sure raided by sources in a foreign environment the stories of the foreign correspondents being taken down the street and some Cypriot town because there's going to be some trouble and a little bit of money is passed and there's a lot of explosions and a lot of fire going on and some screaming and yelling and some little bit of violence and this is reported in the foreign correspondent finds out that since he's new to the scene it takes him a while to find out that every new foreign correspondent gets to that that area.
And during that that period in his Cypriot history is introduced in the same way with the same exchange of money that's a little bit that example is a little bit cute for my taste but it is not something which is going to happen if you're reporting on Boston you've been brought up in Boston.
I have questions in my mind about being manipulated by our own government to play an active role either as a communicator of U.S. government policy this is in the case of an American being a foreign correspondent serving as a foreign correspondent in another country reporting back to an American a media organization. I have worries about that person being manipulated by our government to play a direct role as a communicator of policy or a pressure in policy making.
I'd like to make two specific comments one the temptation of a journalist to play a more direct an activist role in the area of foreign policy and then I want to close with a brief comment on that whole question of national security and the excuse of national security to not report certain kinds of information and certain kinds of news. I think that an international or foreign policy reporting there is a greater temptation where there can be great of temptations of journalists to play a.
Direct activist impacting the role and international policy and politics as distinct from the role the strict role of reporter to indeed confuse the role of reporter and policy maker.
And this of course when it happens involves crucial ethical issues relating to really a fundamental conflict of interest. Examples which come to mind.
A reporter writing for an American newspaper who is stationed in South Korea and is has gotten suffused with the notion of what a terrible fellow the park is and to his journalism instead of a relentless tenacious dispassionate rendering of what he perceives to be the facts and the truth creeps in a desire to play a major role in getting park overthrown.
I think that's a phenomenon that has to be guarded against more international reporting than domestic reporting although not having served as US as a reporter on urban affairs I don't know whether that's overcome some reporters who burst into it may have worked in Chicago over the past several years.
I think that there are there are examples of national reporters correspondents who are covering around allies in the Middle East who may run the risk of being too pro-Israeli. This being not just a distant international issue but an issue which is already a whole question of issues a complex of issues which involves very strong feelings and very strong populations in the United States in our own political system. How does the reporter with SQL view on the Middle East crisis. Be sure to resist the temptation of letting those views become a factor in the actual political controversy.
That kind of a role I would submit really has nothing to do with the First Amendment at all in fact it might undermine the first amendment if it is not resisted. I I think that there's a danger there is a greater danger in international reporting in making a morality play out of everything. And I'm thinking back to 1964 when there was a tremendous amount of press reporting going on about how terribly the Buddhists were being treated in Vietnam and they were being treated terribly.
But the real impulse the real motivation there was not the Buddhists it was strong feelings about anti ZM. And now that Sam is gone the Buddhists are being treated just as badly as ever.
And there's no published city there's there are there is relatively little publicity about what's happening to the Buddhists.
Now I want to make clear that we tend in this in this society that I I recognize that we tend in the society to to adulate our precious principles our media leaders and we tend to make folk heroes out of them.
And it is a genuinely difficult thing not to get caught up in events.
As distinct from objective reporting of events I don't I don't speak with I don't mean to speak with any arrogance or with any insensitive criticism what I'm trying to do here is to identify ethical dangers or ethical threats in reporting which I tend to think are more complex and more powerful in the international arena than they are in the domestic area.
As I as I indicated a brief comment on national security.
And I'm talking about the argument that certain new should not be reported because of national security considerations.
I think it is very important both to be alert to national security requirements in reporting of foreign or defense matters and to where.
Of the excuse or the rationalization of national security as a constraint against free reporting. And I want to just give one example of what I mean by that. When I was with the Justice Department during the period before the Sedin night massacre there was a great deal of back and forth in the press in the Congress but particularly between the White House and the Justice Department including both Attorney General Richardson and special prosecutor Archibald Cox as to how far the pressure should go or how far the effort should go on the part of the Justice Department and the special prosecutor to press the White House for tapes.
Other kinds of records which related to Watergate.
And we began to press in the areas which the White House claimed were very dangerous by virtue of requirements of national security.
And I can remember that when the White House was attempting to resist the efforts of the special prosecutor to get certain materials.
Three examples were given us in great confidence at that time which was supposed to dissuade us from pushing particularly hard for more information from the White House which could be used in the investigation of war in the national security area.
One was that it would be such pressure and such successful efforts to get additional information from the White House would reveal the fact that the J C.S. the Joint Chiefs of Staff were spying on Henry Kissinger in the National Security Council apparatus within the state within the White House.
Another reason given for refusing to give national security related information to the special prosecutor was that to give to him to allow him access to certain records and files would blow the cover of a KGB agent that the CIA was using who is located in New York. Another reason given was that we had to watch out or we would reveal the identity of an Indian cabinet member who had been on the US intelligence payroll for many years.
We looked at these reasons and we looked at these arguments rather and I felt just just giving you my own personal opinion that neither individually nor as a group.
Did they offer an adequate reason for us not to press forward for more information. I thought that the national security constraint was being used improperly and that it had to be for. But I never thought that any of those issues individually or that the general argument being made with the White House was something that should just be overlooked.
I thought that it had to be studied. Very carefully.
And that by studying it carefully and measuring one set of requirements of another we could come up with a right answer. I've given you my right answer but I've been might have been careful to point out that I.
I think that the we had to go through the process of examination that's really all I'm saying. The best way to resolve ethical issues is not by a set of arbitrary rules of conduct but by a good instinct to recognise ethical dilemmas when they exist and the discipline to handle them.
The need not to be pompous or or or. Self perceiving as pure but to challenge and cross-examined. Your behavior on these issues as you go along.
Thank you very much.
The next speaker is Caracas know of the Boston Globe. I've been seeing his byline for years I'm a native of Boston but this is the first time I've laid eyes on him. Marcus No.
Excuse me I'd I think I'd prefer to do it to some degree react to what's already been said and my comments will therefore be a little perhaps a little more disjointed than than those you've heard already. I also wanted to get the record straight the reason I was pumping Jonathan Moore so hard on the tarmac of Tokyo Airport about Henry get Kissinger is geisha party is because I was there and he wasn't. I want to find out why I wasn't never told on that story.
And I do not like to say at the outset I do not have any strong disagreements with anything I've heard yet. I do feel that one proposition that perhaps ethical considerations are less and less paramount and less serious as a foreign correspondent based on my experience I don't think is the case. And I think there's a simple reason why. One is as a foreign correspondent more distant from the Home Office from command and control structures so to speak than one is as a Washington correspondent nor in operating in Boston or New York or something. You are therefore less accountable and there is considerably less competition. In most cases on the stories you write and therefore I think the temptation as a writing journalist to sensationalize a little too strong but embellished stories that you may write to not let the facts stand in the way of a good story can be greater. Several have mentioned the problem of the use of cliches this is is one aspect of that. I want to say that at the outset I think another difficulty and I choose to define the word ethics in the broadest possible terms but I think the real difficulty on the part of four current foreign correspondents is the danger of going native and the danger of becoming missionaries or indeed special pleaders for the governments upon whom they report. This is not so much the case of somebody that's living for two or two and a half years in a particular locale. It's much more the case for someone who is the next thing to an expatriate in a place like Tokyo or Tel Aviv or wherever. And I think I think this is a is a problem that both readers and journalists should be aware of. I'd like to talk about 3 0 4 0 1 in terms of reactions to what Jonathan just said I think the point that he made that the danger of a foreign correspondent becoming more involved in the events of the day and the events that he's reporting on I think that's a very valid point. He he mentioned the glamour he mentioned the inaccessibility and I think all of these things do come to bear. I mentioned already and I'd like to restate the fact that there are West checks and balances on a foreign correspondent typically you might be reporting on a story where there is only one or two if that competitor is reporting on the same story. Your editor does not have the luxury of being able to in many cases of being able to compare what you have written with what anyone else has written. And as a result somebody who is prone to overstatement or prone to.
Subtle advocacy journalism is a much less easily call for that.
I'd like to mention three specific things in see if they can shed some light on the subject. Several people have mentioned the CIA and I'd like to tackle that a little bit head on. I think everyone's aware that in the last several weeks Bernstein has written an article which is the most exhaustive investigation so far of the role that the CIA has played in using foreign correspondents and having some foreign correspondents on their payroll. This is ranged everywhere from C.L. Salzberg or of the times who it seems clear now put an article in The New York Times a column in The New York Times under his name that was written by hunt.
I was about to what I think is much more commonly the case of freelancers who are less financially secure overseas than most full time correspondents for a paper like the monitor to freelancers who are taking or have taken assignments from the CIA.
I know this just a couple of things I'd like to say about this whole subject and I'm sure a lot of you will have questions about it.
First thing is that the practice of a foreign correspondent exchanging information with someone he suspects to be a CIA agent is not uncommon and I don't think should be our job overseas is to.
Get as much information we can talk to as many different people with the information as as is possible and in most cases the job of I believe CIA agents and I know foreign diplomats and American diplomats overseas is essentially the same. They are reporting to different audiences but often about the same events they are cooperating and collecting information just as we are.
And I see nothing particularly wrong with if you think somebody who rarely would admit it but you can pretty strongly suspect after a period of time is the CIA agent in finding out what he knows about a subject that you may be interested in.
I think it's commonly done and I I. And I think it is perfectly valid. I make a very great distinction however in the cases of apparently from reading Bernstein a relatively common cases of foreign correspondents accepting assignments and ultimately accepting money but accepting assignments from somebody of the CIA that they may have befriended to use their own resources to find out information and then pass it on. I think that's ethically and in every other respect a totally different thing. But well let me point out a case of Vietnam. I think it's fair to conclude that those reporters who were analytically the most accurate during the period from 1966 67 68 69 on Vietnam were those who were had some access to CIA judgments on that matter and their judgments was somehow reflected occasionally in their copy when they when they felt these judgments were valid. I want to point out to those who haven't read the Pentagon Papers very carefully that if if you do so you will find that by and large the CIA judgments about and recommendations on the pursuit of policy in Vietnam were 100 times more sound than were the straight Pentagon judgments.
Difference of opinion between the American Embassy and the CIA in Vietnam had reached the point by 19 73 and I speaking from direct knowledge and experience now that at the time that the Paris Peace Accords the secret talks that Kissinger had were suddenly exposed publicly just before the election I guess.
Yeah it was it was in 73 just before the election at that time the CIA station chief at that time in Saigon felt so strongly that the American Embassy was putting out the wrong poop and was indirectly therefore misleading the American public that he called a the next thing to a press conference for the American correspondents who were reporting on the war.
And I mean that the normal pattern is that correspondents would have access and conversation with various members of the embassy from time to time. And at that time Graham Martin was controlling what was said by the embassy so severely and the CIA folks were so concerned about the implications of that that they felt compelled to. Just as I say call the next thing to a press conference to say this is the way we see it. Now the fact is they saw it more accurately the fact is that any reporter who is making responsible his responsible best effort to portray what was really going on was doing himself a disservice if he did not attend or benefit from that briefing.
I cannot speak from direct experience about any other parts of the world although I've been in many but I assume that it's a fairly common practice for resident foreign correspondents to know who the CIA station chiefs are and to exchange information with them on occasion. I hope I have made myself clear on what I think is not legitimate and what I think is.
Two of the points I'd like to make. One is there is a danger due to culture cultural differences cultural constraints everything else I think there is a great danger in overseas reporting and becoming in sort of a war on subtle fashion and advocate. Journalist and I'd like to be fairly specific about this. One thing I've already mentioned is the danger of going native. But it's it's much more complicated than that during the.
Early 1970s in Tokyo there were six or eight correspondents from major American newspapers and I happen to be one of them. It was a big pond. We've already heard about it was another dick our friends from the New York Times was one Don Obrador from The Washington Post.
Sam Jamieson from the Los Angeles Times generally speaking the coverage of South Korea at that time was initiated by the correspondents based in Tokyo.
This group of people that I mentioned would generally speaking in addition to the wire services were reporters and the news magazine people were generally speaking you were getting your information about Korea from this group.
This is somewhat complicated social adequate but I hope I can make it clear. Most of us living in Tokyo and I certainly count myself as part of that. I felt very comfortable in Japan felt very comfortable with the Japanese but on occasion just had to get out. There is a certain constraint of population pressures of the press club system whole combination of factors which after a while get you down there. The first point is that most of us went because it was part of our area of responsibility with South Korea. South Koreans as a people are ever so much more blunt are ever so much more direct in dealing with correspondents and reporters and in their normal social behavior than are the Japanese. The it it's my contention and I've talked to all of my colleagues pretty much about this and I think reluctantly we all kind of agree that a certain dynamic in a certain process began to take place in this time that affected our reporting about Korea and this process was that we would be in Japan for six or eight weeks at a time we'd begin to feel stir crazy and restless we'd decide upon a trip to Korea. This was out of time when the Koreans saw the end of our involvement in Vietnam. President Park was beginning to tighten up severely on his repressive politics there. We would travel from a country where the people were relatively indirect and hard to elicit information from and therefore often difficult to report about accurately. To a country and where they had absolute political freedom or the next thing to it to a country where the people were much more direct were much easier to communicate with were much more refreshing for us to deal with where they had less political freedom. And my my contention after all my contention today which I did not realize at the time is that this contrast. In a subliminal way began to affect our reporting that there was a certain self-righteous sanctimonious tone about our reporting about events in Korea that was conditioned by our relief at being with people we could deal with more easily and our horror that these same people didn't have the same kind of political freedom that the AI ones next door did have. I'm not sure if I made that clear and if I haven't you can ask me about it the question period but.
I think to some degree American reporting was was influenced by this dynamic that I'm talking about and to some degree this is affected American policy about South Korea because there wasn't a lot of reporting about South Korea. The message got us stablished of this very tough or oppressive regime. And frankly with the benefit of hindsight I think Ober established in addition of that it's fair to say that we tended to rely for sources in Korea on Christian elements who spoke English many of whom had studied in environments like this one because they were the easiest for us to communicate with. Quite naturally these were the very Koreans who were the most alienated by the kind of politics that pock was pushing. But I'm not at all sure today that they were very representative. One reason I say this is if you travel back to Korea today despite everything you read about it there is distinctly more prosperity for more of the people today than there was five or six years ago. And there's just simply no question about that in my mind. And until recently I doubt very many of you reading the newspapers had that impression.
The last point I'd like to make is one of the ethical complications for a foreign correspondent my opinion is that as one of the others has already mentioned you are dealing often not just with one government but with two.
Any sense that a reporter has to be extremely wary of being used by government officials if your are leaked information your first in Washington your first thought is why is this guy trying to float a trial balloon is he trying to interfere with a policy decision that is in the making what what are the considerations this concern is compound it by the fact that you're getting information from two or more government people as a foreign correspondent. I can be somewhat specific about this. In 1972 was the year of the reversion of Okinawa to full Japanese control and I was writing the story as were all of my colleagues whom I mentioned. I began to stumble one of the fact that a unexceptional was being made in the treaty for a radio station to continue American radio station to continue to operate in Okinawa religious radio station that happen to be headquartered in Whittier California a home town that should be familiar to you and I began to piece this together the American Embassy was very reluctant to tell me anything. All my confidential and otherwise sources didn't want to go near the story the Japanese foreign ministry as when I began to find out who the proper names and numbers are were we're delighted to tell me all they knew and it was quite apparent that I had walked into the middle of what was a raging diplomatic argument. The Japanese were highly offended by this and the Americans were. I think the problem probably privately were offended but were doing what they had been told to do from superiors to their own. And I found myself on occasion getting information about this that from the Japanese that I thought. That it took me awhile to realize was being overstated was being overblown in order that it would come back in my dispatches and in and elsewhere to change the negotiations then going on. I won't go into that in any more detail but I think you can see the kind of complication I'm talking about. One final episode I'd like to mention which was very vivid in my mind is is this on one of these years when I was in Tokyo those the then assistant secretary of defense a fellow called William Clements made a quick trip to Korea. It was his first trip to Korea and toured the DMZ area the 38 parallel and so forth. After three days he came back through Tokyo and called a press conference for American reporters only at the American embassy. We all showed up. I have already stated that we generally had Korea as part of our area of responsibility. We generally had a fair degree of knowledge about events in Korea and would get information from North and South Koreans in Tokyo from the American embassy and from the Japanese constantly to keep ourselves abreast if we were not then traveling to Korea. Comments came back and called this briefing and stated announced that he had perceived new and threatening military moves by the North Koreans near the 38 parallel. And this here is an official American stating what was a very newsworthy thing. It was quite clear to all of us our eyebrows all went up. We all exchange notes. None of us had heard word one about this from any of the multitude of sources that we had on Korea and with a little bit more soul searching we suddenly realized that the congressional appropriations for military aid to South Korea were coming up in two days. You can understand the problem however. Here is a accredited American official of a certain rank and standing saying something publicly which you can pretty well know to be phony do you. Can you play God and simply disregard that distant as you are. What do you tell your editor about the play and treatment of the story that that sort of thing. I think we all handled the story differently but it's a concrete example of how one can be used. Either an American or a foreign official and the kind of things one has to be wary about I think virtually all of us concluded that we could not cavalierly disregard what he said. Right wrong or indifferent it was a newsworthy thing. In my case I wrote the story and put a note on the bottom of it saying that I thought it was funny as hell and to write an editorial the same day I think and gone over to offer his case. He perhaps did it a little more gracefully he wrote the lead saying Clement said this in his second paragraph was that the statement came two days before congressional appropriations. But it's the kind of thing that one has to be constantly wary of in the kind of ethical consideration that I assume to be the subject of this panel.
Before opening it up for cross panel discussion I've been taking notes on some of the points made and I just forgot to down a few items that I'd like to call to your attention. The first one just illustrates the tremendous power of the press in molding the emotions or shaping the emotions of the public has nothing to do with foreign coverage but it gives you an idea of what can be done when a wire service or newspaper or broadcasting outlet wants to arouse the emotions of the people of this country. Sometime within the last 10 years is that some I think Midwestern hospital. A little girl. I don't remember whether she was often or what he'd been picked up somewhere but she was hospitalized and was simply not responding to treatment in the sense of not relating to anybody totally non-communicative not saying anything to the doctor the nurses obviously terrified from whatever past had been. A local newspaper reported this in some small communities in the Midwest. And you know API UPI picked it up gave a national play and within about three or four days that hospital had to add four people on its staff to handle the 40000 letters and packages of gifts to the poor and that little girl to hospital.
Just one wire service story had stirred up the emotions of the country. And what a little referred to this tremendous power of the press depending on how a story is played. I would strongly recommend any of the journalism students that they go to the library you know Boston Public Library all are moved and look up in the July August one thousand twenty thousand nine hundred twenty issues of The New Republic magazine.
A series by Walter Lippmann his wife Lippman and Giles Mertz on how the New York Times it covered the first two years of the Russian Revolution from November 1979 to November 1900. It's a fascinating story and I'm not sure there's been all that much improvement in many organs press organs in the intervening half century. I remember his saying documenting that on 91 different occasions during that two year period the New York Times had reported you to the to my use of the Russian Revolution or its near demise 91 times which was almost an average of twice a week. And if you. There was another little episode which he didn't report but I know to be true about that same time around one thousand twenty a Lennon met once with one of them on one occasion. Want to caging with us correspondents in Moscow and he joked with them about how many times they had a report of his death. And if you go up to nine thousand forty nine after the Chinese revolution one thousand fifty nine after the Cuban revolution you'll find endless occasions where the US press picked up rumors from exiles whether they were exiles in the Soviet Union from China or Cuba in Miami and reported the death of Chairman Mao. Report of the death of Fidel Castro. It was endless It just went on and on and on. And of course this had a impact on the psyche of the country.
It connotes turmoil it can you know its discontent and it connotes the imminent overthrow of these allegedly unpopular new regimes. The in turn to rousing the U.S. public going back to that little story the girl how they can be aroused in good ways or bad ways. I think this shows up very clearly in terms of the atrocities in countries which are in disfavor in Washington whether it's South Korea or Chile. I mean in favor I don't mean disfavor but South Korea Chile Philippines Indonesia. We know from respectable sources such as Amnesty International about the torture we dozed on in many of these right wing governments that have close ties with the United States. If similar torture were going on in countries out of favor with Washington. You can be sure that the US press would be a rousing the emotions of the people of this country who I think if you took any kind of poll would condemn taught your per say irregardless of who does it it's a reprehensible thing no matter who does it whether it's the great inquisitorial or a modern dictator or the Grand Inquisitor. My point is that a many foreign correspondents and many edits is the people who write the editorials in this country and the people who decide how the news is to be played. Have a them versus us psychology and if it's them the regimes out of favor with official Washington they get treated a certain way. If they do certain allegedly bad things if it's us in terns of western alliances U.S. alliances abroad if if it's a country that we're supposed to like then the same thing done by them. While I may be factually reported as Lippman pointed out in the series of articles in The New Republic. Are reported so under played that they these stories did not arouse the moral indignation of the people of this country. And there's a long history of this which can be documented decade after decade. And I my really maintain that it doesn't really change that much. There's a lot more sophistication I think in coverage of world affairs. But in terms of shaping the political attitudes and emotions of the people this country I don't really see that much change since that really remarkable series by Lipman and his wife and child murders. What is it 60 odd years ago. The somebody I can't remember with William Appleman Williams or somebody once said that the truth in the great American newspaper lies shimmering under a veil. And this is a very accurate perception.
I remember C.L. Salzberg that somewhere around nine hundred fifty six of fifty seven in one line in one of his columns in The New York Times referring to U-2 flights over the Soviet Union it was not designed believe me to rouse the American public to the serious diplomatic and even military implications of such a spy plane infringing on the sovereignty to sovereign territory of another great power.
And I remember discussing that one even you briefly would majority Monday after one of his lectures at Harvard he was lecturing then while he was Dean now and at Blackburn College 1058 were speaking I referred to this in a talk and afterwards at a little reception one professor who I didn't think was being insincere I just thought he was naive. I came up to me and talking about the U-2 to flight I guess I hadn't cited Sulzberger as my source. I hadn't cited the authority. Came up to me and said he just didn't believe what I had said because quote Our government doesn't do such things unquote. Those were his exact words.
Two years later the story the U-2 incident broke and in the first couple of days after coup show of made the allegation about the U-2 flight before telling all the facts. The US press except at the State Department and White House deny all of it by Eisenhower and John Foster Dulles along with Secretary of State. At that point I guess you have probably heard it and then Crew shove after leading the State Department White House and the US press into a trap revealed that indeed he had the Russian military had shot down the U-2 plane the pilot Gary Powers was alive and in prison in the Soviet Union. One thousand miles inside the territory. The line had been for those first couple days with the press watching that line that the plane had been on our weather reconnaissance flight and what not and must a strayed accident over the border for a few miles and so forth and then demolished that alibi.
And Gary polished surface and of course he would prove to have been a CIA agent and the press book and the White House looked very sick for quite some time. If that had been a reversed situation. Believe me if you had not had them versus us psychology prevailing in the coverage of the U-2 incident you wouldn't have had the press sucked into the State Department alibi which proved to be totally false. The other thing since corpus no mention cells Berger and the fact that he's now been exposed as having let the CIA write a column for him. I think there's an element beyond ethics. It's not as important as fixed but it's just plain stupidity. And that goes back to something that Leon Trotsky once said namely that agents intelligence agents are always invariably uncovered. Now why anybody in this day and age thinks that he can via can act as a you know de facto as a CIA agent in a journalistic capacity and not ultimately be exposed. I don't know. I can understand that psychology. The facts are very clear historically that if you play that role you're eventually going to be uncovered embarrassed and possibly jailed or whatever as a consequence. Why Salzberg it with his sophisticated intelligence and his great knowledge of history and whatnot would think that eventually that fact would not be uncovered is beyond my comprehension. Little episode that I'm sure most people in this country never heard about in the years leading up to the overthrow of bin teacher in Cuba. Need the date. The crucial date the turnover date was January 1st 1959. All kinds of BS still taught here and wholesale murder of opponents and brutalities indescribable were going on in Cuba 90 miles from the Florida coast. There was an Associated Press bureau there.
It was a New York Times correspondent who'd been there many years she succeeded a husband after he died. The people united states were getting very very little of the true broad picture of what was going on and of the imminent overthrow of of Battista and some of you may know that on the very day that a few hours before Fidel Castro's guerrillas entered Havana to take over the government a few all before Battista and his top echelon managed to catch flights out to exile abroad with a bag full filled with the Cuban Treasury literally a few hours before Associated Press from Havana filed a dispatch a very famous dispatch saying that the guerillas had been totally routed by the Cuban army and that the Castro rebellion was out and then it had been defeated.
And of course for the next week or so every paper in the country would have carried this totally false and erroneous AP dispatch had a lot of explaining to do to their readers about the Welsh to put it mildly the lack of information and the lack of insight by the Associated Press bureau in Havana. About four or five months after that takeover by the Castro government his brother Fidel's brother Raul the minister of defense sent an invitation to the U.S. missionaries who were still in Cuba and to some of their allied church Cuban churchmen.
Another which churchmen in Cuba that they were working with to meet with him and know there was some trepidation in the intervening days with what this was all about why was the Cuban minister of defense in effect summoning the U.S. missionaries in the Cuban churchmen to meet with him. And it turned out that rogue Castro wanted to thank the U.S. missionaries for their contribution through missionary magazine published in the United States for the stories they had sent out about the torture and the other beast Yalit he said were going on in Cuba. In other words you had a handful of U.S. missionaries who in these poorly read. A low secure lation missionary magazine publisher United States were trying desperately to communicate with American people and tell us what was going on and it was a terrible commentary that he you had Associated Press with access to hundreds of millions of people around the world who had a bureau they're not telling us what's going on. You had a handful of missionaries trying to tell probably to at best a couple hundred thousand faithful readers of missionary magazines what was going on.
And of course the press in this country did not pick up what was republished in those missionary magazines as easily could have just some of my thoughts about the ethics of coverage of world affairs is Iraq.
I could go on and on based on in part on some of my own experiences but I think it's turn Time now for some discussion. Earl Phil do you want to open up with any questions to your comrades on this.
I don't know about questions. One thing that Crocker said to me in fact I think I'd feel even more strongly than he does about it and that is how you define press relations of the CIA I think any correspondent who did not make a fairly regular habit of it. Interviewing and asking questions of whomever he suspected to be the local CIA man would be remiss in his duties just as he would be remiss if he did not.
In my mind if he did not question any legitimate source and as I say indicated earlier getting away from the American ghetto as well as spies and diplomats and journalists are in somewhat the same business except that we unfortunately have to publish every day Hertha spies are rarely published in the diplomats in a white paper every 20 years. I don't agree for a moment that they should play footsie But if a journalist is to be as I like to think of a journalist as a dated a historian to be objective he's got to take advantage of every source he can lay his hands on and then use his own judgment which is presumably improved through the years by mistakes made as to how accurate his sources are. But one of his first ports of call ought to be other people who are also trying to puzzle out what's happening and report on it. As long as he treats their viewers with the proper amount of skepticism he's perfectly safe.
I find myself not only in sufficient agreement with him I find myself not only sufficiently in agreement with my colleagues in the panel not to have to comment further on what they've said but I've also been educated by what they've said I might just return to one theme which is what I would call games of the press and government play a cracker was talking about being in Tokyo going to South Korea. Some of the ethical problems and even professional problems not that the two can be that easily separated which confronted him in that role. I was working in the State Department as at a mid mid level and working on Asian policy.
And one of the things that we used to do the mid-level types when we were unsuccessful in getting our views about policy and about facts in terms of developments abroad up to our superiors was to talk with foreign correspondents off the record or on background with the hope that they would get our perceptions and our policy wishes. Not only in the newspaper but back to their own governments because we felt in some respects I think correctly that foreign correspondents in the United States were reporting directly to their own governments as well as to their own editors and in their own newspapers.
And I just give this is an example there's a great deal of game playing between members of the government and members of the press.
At home and abroad all the time and it is sometimes true that not only are governments or representatives of governments government officials whatever level it is not only true that there are sometimes trying to get the media to serve their own official purposes.
But that that effort sometimes falls into the interest of the journalist. Perhaps on a short term basis rather than a long term basis.
But but there's a lot of collusion that goes on to use a very rough word.
And the collaboration or the manipulation is not only in one direction it is often mutual. We see this all the time in press reporting press protection and perhaps distorted reporting using sources which in the government which have a major stake in the kind of public reporting that goes on.
But the source is not revealed because the journalist doesn't want the source to be blown and the source is. Advocacy is sometimes amplified by the journalist. In order to keep that source alive and not have it shut off or go to another journalist I think this is very natural. I mean I hate to say and I hate to sound cynical and many of you in the audience let alone on this panel know more about this dynamic than I do.
But this is what I was trying to talk about earlier when I said at the governments when I said that other considerations out there may be compounded they may be more special and more particular for journalists and journalists in foreign affairs than other walks of life but basically the ethical problems are the same and the human behavior is not that much different. And as as someone who has relied upon the press for reporting the truth and as someone who has attempted to manipulate the press to report what I perceive to be the truth or the best policy course I just want to eliminate that a little bit further. One other comment Bill and I'll stop. We we've heard some comment on moral indignation one of the things that I as a politician and a government servant have tended to rely on in my work in my career is that the press would be morally indignant when other act or as in policy and politics were either not courageous enough to or were professionally constrained from being adequately morally indignant about moral indignation.
A great resource contains a danger and that is that the more morally indignant you are the more the less sensitive you may be inclined to be to test. The rightness of your moral indignation to report the objectivity of the people that you are being morally indignant against.
This gets back to the to the comment about self righteousness and sanctimoniousness that Crocker mentioned which sometimes applies to the press. We must be morally indignant but we can't let that get in the way of being very sensitive to what at the call dilemmas we ourselves face in our professions.
Just one quick very quick comment.
Jonathan said before he mentioned the the the maro indignation of approach to he used another phrase at that point but he brought up the other morality play attached to the coverage of the Buddhists in Vietnam in one thousand sixty four in that era as compared to what's happening to them today I think it should be self-evident to everyone I'm sure it is the Jonathan that one reason it's not so fully covered today is that there aren't any Americans there.
And I mean that's a self-evident statement but if you wonder about the distinction between reporting of events in countries that are that one has access to Lord and often and. Socialist versus non socialist countries one of the important distinctions you have to bear in mind is the degree of freedom of access or anything else that a correspondent has. The other point related to that it's not apropos of anything but I just want to make to get it out on the table. I have as I'm sure everyone else here has travelled in socialist countries and reported from them. And one of the special problems you have there is that the working assumption of the officials in those countries is that you because of the way their press operates is that you are indeed an agent of your government. And that's a suspicion they have or a predilection that they have that I have found impossible to overcome.
Just one to two brief points before we take questions from the audience. All right. The early 1980s I happened to meet a young man I think of last name with mun who had been a draftee serving in U.S. Army in South Korea in the late 50s early 60s and he happened to be a member of Naaman Thomas's Socialist Party and he had known the language and so was able to read the South Korean press. He came back and writ wrote a series of articles in I think the publications of New America published by the Socialist Party and quoted some actually staggering data from South Korean papers themselves about mass starvation in I believe it was the mid to late 1950s in the rural areas of South Korea. In other words information right from the horse's mouth about mass starvation. Among presence in South Korea at the very time that we were being told that thanks to U.S. aid South Korea's economy was taking off and surpassing the North Korean economy. And of course in a free society and all the other parts of the official line I have never yet been able to find out why non of the U.S. correspondents who is Caracas host know says we do based in Tokyo or had Korean responsibilities who were actually stationed in South Korea. They never report it to the best of my knowledge in the mass media this country about that mass starvation by masturbation I mean hundreds of thousands of people whom the South Korean papers themselves admitted had died in these famines in the post-war years. I think a glaring example of the them versus us psychology because they were a part of us we didn't want to embarrass them. Apparently the news never saw the light of day. At least that's my presumption.
And maybe some member the panel can answer this question because I've never figured it out. If a judge a really stern judge in this country who had hidden it he had to be canons of law were to be improperly approached on any case that he was sitting on. I think at the very least he would indignantly tell the person making this improper approach to get lost. At least he would do that if not institute some kind of legal proceedings against that person. I've never been able to figure out why powerful publishes such as the publisher of The New York Times or network executives when they were approached by President Kennedy for example and asked not to tell anything about the preparations for the Bay of Pigs invasion why they don't have the guts to say to the present United States or the secretary of state or anybody else in Washington bug off get lost and then report through that news organ by exactly that. The details of that improper approach. I've never been able to understand that of the anybody at this panel who can answer that.
I'd be interested to hear the answer otherwise I'll take the question because they're involved in commerce instead of just your system.
I don't understand publishers in general but I suspect that you might find some who would say bug off but they're not the ones who are approached.
The big publishers who came there by way of working journalism but publishers who came their way and by the by way of variety or something or unlikely or via the business office. You know I think it would help everyone here.
So we want to repeat the question if you chant one of these subtle measures is what I would call being invited. Yeah yeah you got to get eaten for some reason. It sounds like Mr. Brady When you were writing it I wouldn't bite on there if you file a story which is highly variable there. Do you really think you are right back.
You know the answer is I never I gave up after about 10 years but I never was able to get another visa after the first trip. So possibly that answers your question. I haven't tried for quite some time. But I did write and broadcast certain critical things. But one of that is the reason the reason I don't know want to alternate between adults and students to have a fair amount I would rather not have anybody get up and read a statement that I discriminated.
This is directed mostly me. Statement is designed and built for reporters right around the same line. Yes or no why. If we're to accept that how would you explain to me why you know many people that don't work I really believe that. Read what you say you've already got 40 in one day. Where did that they'd like to read it here.
If I said that I didn't intend to I was talking about the theoretical ideal that a foreign correspondent does not grow up in the culture he goes to cover so he doesn't start out with his parents his school teachers all of the layers of almost built in preconceptions. It's obviously quite possible that in practice. Particularly on a long well-known area of coverage that a correspondent could go out to cover with a great many preconceptions and assure the Middle East fits that as does Moscow in our times. And that is a risk that's got to be dealt with I think it ought to start with the editor who makes the decision to send out for a corresponding ought to make sure that as far as is possible the cobwebs have been cleared out of the brain before sending the man.
That many Americans are really right.
Oh I think there is a danger there. It exists in other areas as well. One of the great work of the Los Angeles Times at one point and they just simply refused to use any stringers because the founded too many staffers were coincidentally working for the information ministry of the country they were covering.
To supplement their income understandable supplementing of a low income. I think there is that danger.
Certainly if you were to take any one of the more predominant ethnic groups in the United States I guess I think Bill would probably agree with me if if you set a an American black to cover the South African story I should think you would want him not to dissipate his passion personally.
First place is an impossibility because I think the treatment would be so bad that it would at this stage it wouldn't be possible to theoretically use an American black to cover the South African story. It would be very difficult for him to disentangle his legitimate emotional feelings and report accurately. Just as it's I think been very difficult for some American reporters to deal with the question the dissidents in Moscow the dissidents are available and make themselves available for understandable reasons. The Soviet bureaucracy is is a monumental wall in many cases. One story is flowing to you the other story you've got to scrabble to get hold of. The temptation is to deal with a story that's flowing to you which has a legitimate emotional pull. And it's fine to deal with it because it is a an important moral question but to deal with it in dispatches that give the impression of the Soviet government going to be overturned next week. It seems to me is to fool your readers.
Before I forget I was asked to make an announcement. Everybody is invited to the reception at 4:30 in the special collections that we've got and the way to get there is to go in the library in the first floor and turn right and take the elevator up to the fifth floor. That's at 4:30. Danny I think you qualify as an adult when you check the DCM and the new info.
First of all I just say this that this whole problem about blacks not to get covered South Africa is a bit I think less less local you know I have been able to do period. Like many others probably because they've been able to get access to the black community and not just one but it's right over flow but like idiology notion somehow I think this is at the heart of some of the. Let's I know your breast doesn't get out of the government if you will of the system and their approach I think the difficulty American workers have a lot of rain. Revolutionary situations where the people trying to create society build themselves because those values you bando write every day in some way disagree with their wrong. It makes it very difficult for us to get objective about revolutions the good news Revolution the Russian Revolution. Today the South Africans I think it so I'd be very careful about this argument that somehow it's all right if we cooperate with the CIA because their information is accurate in the case of yet not in our recent issue of The Journal of communication a former CIA analyst does a whole heap of criticizing internal reporting to get at the center rather side.
Certainly form the basis of some CIA strategy there ignored other things. So if you are talking about basic misreported by the CIA itself agencies plan to make themselves feel good and you'll remember that you and Daniel Ellsberg worked for Lansdale who is the CIA man. Yet not only had a certain bias toward certain policy viewpoint at that time he was in the government he was trying to strengthen those forces that would put some kind of disengagement. That doesn't say that the CIA was either right or what is. I think the distressing is that people with independent bodies of expertise with other outlooks are not sought out. Whether this is the case in South Africa today the liberation movement people most of us probably don't even know existed. There are people involved in trying to sell them or talked about. No experts on Vietnam yet you point is dissenting. Even if they are experts and if they are not to be a lot more right than the government officials about how come you're seldom get an NSA listening. There you go. Why is this just for dance. I hear it already on man's best friend you know right away.
You like to leave are you.
Fair one I would say certainly it's not impossible for someone who is black to other cover South Africa for a Jew is Jewish to cover the Middle East etc. etc..
In fact I've got to stick by what's happened since the motor has two people who are Jewish who cover Israel but they would not cover if they were not willing to interview a Palestinian in the West Bank. They would not cover if they weren't willing to be as objective as they know how and I guess we've had a Moscow correspondent who was Polish American by origin but I'm satisfied about the striving to be objective I don't think anybody can ever reach the Holy Grail.
I would be very worried about any correspondent who either was so strongly pro the system or so strongly anti that he didn't watch out for what was happening.
I think the the question that Bill raised earlier the 111 quotation is a fascinating one it is something is going to perplex journalists forever. How do you detect whether a revolution is succeeding or failing. You better get off your rear that has that motto tattooed on it and get out and see people. But you still do have the problem of making that assessment. Are the dissidents are the revolutionaries going to succeed or not. And that's that's the big risk as to how to report it accurately.
If you're committed to the Scottish separatists or the French Canadian separatists or whatever it is if you have some feeling of commitment you're not going to perceive accurately I don't think. If you have the curiosity to find out what is driving them and to assess as realistically as possible how powerful they are what sort of a hold on the imagination people they have.
Then you're going to succeed and I throw something in here remember Justice Douglas at the height of the McCarthy period said that if a college student went into his or her college library let alone some small town library and asked a librarian What books have you got on revolution. The librarian at that time might be likely to tip off the FBI about this unusual request. The tenor Erin has said. I said before she died that he who understands revolution understands the future. There are history courses there are books on revolution that can help us assess when a revolution is going to succeed and I think a school of public communication in every universe in this country ought to have courses honorable because that's going to be the story of our lives no matter how long and it was live.
Whether we live at the age of 20 whether you live another 80 years or whether the age of whatever you live 60 40 whatever revolution is going to be the story about lies and you damned well better get to understand it. And it's not an insuperable problem to get the intellectual intuitions that tell you when a revolution is on a successful course. Anybody else want to comment on any is point.
I just got one for things I think that first of all there is the danger of the ideological mindset frustrating adequate reporting of a lot of things particularly revolutions. This gets back however to two things one something that I tried to say earlier about the resolution of ethical problems being found to an extent in the achievement of high standards. Journalistic professionalism and it gets back to something else that was said by someone else on the panel about talking about the role of editors the role for instance of Chiefs of correspondents as distinct from the role of individual journalists.
Their professionalism and their ethical sensitivity has got to be demonstrated it seems to me and in very close reading just as Mr. Felder has said and how objective how thorough how much free from either a pro or anti debilitating pro or anti ideology which his journalists his foreign correspondents may have. So I'm just honest going the point again.
The ethical considerations and fractional considerations don't only lie with the journalists they allow they they lie with the people who are assigning and directing the journalists and making decisions about what to print that they write. Back in the bureaucracy of the media organization.
I guess I have one brief comment. I think the question is really unanswerable.
I agree with both comments that have been said and I don't mean to be mean about it.
If the question is simply stated is there an ideological bias on the part of foreign correspondents of course there is an ideological bias and everyone in this room in one direction or another. I disagree with the implication. I think that I heard that again as I made clear at the outset that one is somehow doing oneself an injustice and his readers an injustice to go to the CIA I did not mean to imply that you go only to the CIA I meant to imply that the CIA is one of a multitude of sources and one is irresponsible not to discover what information they have and evaluated independently. But it.
It gets more. Yes of course. And the simple one simple reason why is because I mean there are cultural reasons why I'm sure but one simple reason why is access.
The fact of the matter is that you know there aren't We have a correspondent southern Africa now in South Africa and she can she is talking to many of the black liberation forces.
She sure as hell cannot quote them and her story is the first thing that would happen to those people if they'd be in the jug or they'd be banned. And that's only realism the access that she has to them frankly right now is greater than the access to the government people because of the.
Defensiveness of the South African government about any American correspondent. But I think the answer your question is of course but it's primarily because maybe I don't know one of the major factors is that they're more accessible.
I want to look in that series about the undue intimacy of U.S. correspondents covering the Russian Revolution undue intimacy with Western intelligence agencies. And again I don't think the pictures change that much.
I would like to know in reference to the worsening situation overseas countries are closing its doors to how we approach this and will it be that people will look to the minorities here in the United States ship the people overseas to this foreign correspondent.
As far as access to look closely there are cars flying from Poland.
I like the word.
Let's do a very good.
I wish I wish but I want to dress for I will dress myself to the second question and get back to yours in just a moment and that is it seems quite clear there are several factors one is the great cycles and trends. It is the folk wisdom of our time that Americans are have turned inward and are interested in Home Affairs which is not totally surprising after some disappointments abroad and with a recession which causes people to look at questions such as joblessness. What's happening to cities etc.. I think that as far as print journalism is concerned the tendency to send out fewer foreign correspondents as a matter of economics as well.
There is a general feeling that except for. Smaller chain newspapers suburban newspapers that prosperity has gone away from the larger big city newspapers except for the globe. The Los Angeles Times few other. And that the button has been passed not to a new generation is going to be said to the electronic media and I think that many of them have not yet got had any feeling of responsibility about covering the world except in a kind of jetset dashing hither and yon way.
Wherever the wire services say there's a crisis or whoever won the Pulitzer Prize last year for foreign coverage that's that's the place to go. But I shouldn't come out on the first question because I've talked to a lot of them on the second.
Well I just like to reiterate that point I think it's a horrible tendency and I think the more more people can do to try to reverse reverse this tendency that you just heard about the better right. I am scared to death of the centralization of news coverage of events overseas. And it is a clear and discernible trend. I think the figures are I had occasion to check them I think in one thousand seventy four at the end of the nearly the end of the war in Vietnam. There were something like 11 hundred American citizens accredited to full time accredited to American news organizations overseas and today they were a little over 600. And it's a it's a I think a very very serious sound and negative tendency I like to think that this is beginning to turn around I think the reasons explained where the accurate ones that was a sense of neo isolation there was an economic belt tightening here on all of these things came to indicate to publishers. I believe that the American public was less interested in overseas affairs. Now I'm delighted to report in The Boston Globe. I just be specific for a second.
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