thumbnail of On the Media; 1994-09-25; Haiti, the Press and U.S. Policy; Part 2; Science Reporting
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<v Speaker>At first glance, press coverage of the invasion or occupation or perhaps <v Speaker>policing of Haiti was not only a picture perfect military effort, but a huge <v Speaker>media success. After all, there were no press tools and no censorship. <v Speaker>Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw were there in bush jackets to greet our troops together with <v Speaker>scores of other journalists. <v Speaker>But with a closer look at the press role than Haiti appears murkier. <v Speaker>Did the government, by deftly controlling information, use the press for its own <v Speaker>purposes, just as it did in the Iraqi war? <v Speaker>Is the apparent open flow of information about military operations misleading? <v Speaker>And what, if anything, can the press do about it? <v Speaker>Haiti, the press and U.S. policy. <v Speaker>We'll look into that on this hour of on the media right after this news. <v Speaker>So stay tuned. <v Laura Knoy>From National Public Radio News in Washington, I'm Laura Knoy. <v Laura Knoy>U.S. Marines killed 10 armed Haitians in a firefight outside a police station in northern <v Laura Knoy>Haiti late last night. One American translator was slightly wounded.
<v Laura Knoy>The military says the Haitians started shooting at the Marines and the troops fired back. <v Laura Knoy>Five people are now being held for questioning. <v Laura Knoy>NPR's Sunni Khalid is in Cape Haitian, where the incident took place. <v Laura Knoy>He says the Marines have surrounded the police headquarters now and are trying to secure <v Laura Knoy>the building. <v Sunni Khalid>They have taken up space in the other room, a couple of platoons which have been <v Sunni Khalid>right outside the Haitian police headquarters. <v Sunni Khalid>And they have not been able to determine if there was anyone still holed up inside <v Sunni Khalid>the headquarters. They basically cordon the area off, and they were gonna try to rush the <v Sunni Khalid>building. They were just shining light into the building, trying to determine if anyone <v Sunni Khalid>else was still there. It was also a lieutenant who was a liason between <v Sunni Khalid>the marines and the police and they were trying to get him to sort of try to persuade <v Sunni Khalid>people to come out. That the United States. <v Sunni Khalid>Was not at war with the Haitian government, or the defacto government. <v Sunni Khalid>And if you're trying to get these people out of there. <v Laura Knoy>NPR's Sunni Khalid in Cape Haitien. <v Laura Knoy>Meanwhile, in Washington, Senator Sam Nunn has reacted to last night's shootout. <v Laura Knoy>Nunn was part of a three man delegation that brokered the agreement in Haiti that led to
<v Laura Knoy>the US intervention, he said. Unfortunately, the attack against American forces <v Laura Knoy>is no surprise. <v Sam Nunn>Was the first bad incident we've had involving directly American troops. <v Sam Nunn>But it won't be the last, I'm sure. <v Sam Nunn>When you have thousands of American troops there and you have a lot of people who are <v Sam Nunn>still armed, you're going to have some incidents like this is remarkable. <v Sam Nunn>We haven't had more. <v Laura Knoy>This week, Congress is expected to consider putting a deadline on U.S. <v Laura Knoy>involvement in Haiti. Nunn said lawmakers probably will approve some type of limit. <v Sam Nunn>The majority, the Senate will insist on setting a date certain. <v Sam Nunn>And again, I hope we'll have some flexibility in it so our military people will be able <v Sam Nunn>to feel that the country's behind them, that's very important as they carry out that <v Sam Nunn>mission they are. <v Laura Knoy>Georgia Senator Sam Nunn, he spoke on NBC's Meet the Press. <v Laura Knoy>150 Jordanian police left their country today for Haiti. <v Laura Knoy>King Hussein gave the man a farewell ceremony at the airport. <v Laura Knoy>He said they'll help maintain peace and security in Haiti and train the local police. <v Laura Knoy>Hussein added that Jordan ranks fifth in the world in contributing personnel to
<v Laura Knoy>international operations. <v Laura Knoy>The U.S. government reportedly plans to monitor the nation's airports for anyone carrying <v Laura Knoy>a bubonic plague in from India. <v Laura Knoy>The sickness has killed more than 50 people in the Indian city of sarod. <v Laura Knoy>Today's New York Times says U.S. health. U.S. <v Laura Knoy>health officials want to make sure the plague doesn't spread here. <v Laura Knoy>The paper says people coming from the Sirat area will still be allowed in, but they'll be <v Laura Knoy>told to call a doctor if they start feeling sick. <v Laura Knoy>The Sierra Club may soon announce a series of spending cuts and layoffs because it's <v Laura Knoy>running out of money. The club is one of the nation's biggest environmental <v Laura Knoy>organizations. The board of directors is expected to decide this weekend where to cut <v Laura Knoy>first. This is NPR. <v Richard Hake>This is WNYC. It's 11:04, 69 degrees. <v Richard Hake>It's cloudy in New York City. Good morning. <v Richard Hake>I'm Richard Hake. President Clinton arrived here in New York City early this morning. <v Richard Hake>He's scheduled to address the General Assembly of the United Nations tomorrow. <v Richard Hake>WNYC will carry his speech live. <v Richard Hake>That's a 11:00 tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, he will meet with local and world leaders <v Richard Hake>today. Mayor Giuliani will meet with him at the Waldorf this afternoon.
<v Richard Hake>And when the president visits, we usually experience some gridlock. <v Richard Hake>Watch for frozen zones around the Waldorf and the United Nations. <v Richard Hake>Other world leaders will be here as well. <v Richard Hake>Russian President Boris Yeltsin is scheduled to arrive later this afternoon. <v Richard Hake>Governor Cuomo and his Republican challenger, George Pataki, spoke at a Long Island rally <v Richard Hake>yesterday. They didn't actually meet. <v Richard Hake>Pataki gave his address after the governor left. <v Richard Hake>Cuomo was on the offensive yesterday, attacking Pataki of raising taxes and keeping <v Richard Hake>nothing in the legislature. Also speaking, but later on was former presidential candidate <v Richard Hake>Ross Perot. He didn't endorse either of the two. <v Richard Hake>Police are puzzled as to why no one has placed a missing persons report on that woman <v Richard Hake>who was found dead in the West Village. <v Richard Hake>Police say she was a jogger in great physical shape who wore expensive running shoes and <v Richard Hake>clothing. This according to The New York Times, her body was found on Tuesday. <v Richard Hake>She had been raped and strangled. Police are asking anyone with information to call 800 <v Richard Hake>577 TIPS. <v Richard Hake>Former vise presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro. <v Richard Hake>Former Congresswoman Bella Abzug and talk show host Oprah Winfrey are among the new
<v Richard Hake>inductees to the National Women's Hall of Fame. <v Richard Hake>That's in Seneca Falls, New York. Abzug told the event that someday women <v Richard Hake>will be recognized for their efforts and won't need such awards. <v Richard Hake>The NBA says that it's premature to consider a management lockout. <v Richard Hake>Players have been without a contract since the end of last summer's playoffs. <v Richard Hake>In sports, the Chicago Bears take on the Jets tonight, pre-season hockey. <v Richard Hake>The islanders play Florida and the Devils on the ice with Hartford. <v Richard Hake>We'll have cloudy skies today. Chance of showers late tonight. <v Richard Hake>Sixty nine degrees right now. This is WNYC at 11 06. <v Speaker>It was like no military invasion, probably ever a week or so before the invasion <v Speaker>of Haiti was to take place. Anyone watching CNN or the other television networks, <v Speaker>including most especially the generals in Haiti, could get a detailed briefing on what <v Speaker>was coming down, including a detailed account of strategy. <v Speaker>What targets were to be hit, in what sequence, and even the names of units to be
<v Speaker>parachuting in or storming the beaches. <v Speaker>It was, of course, a calculated tactic to intimidate and scare the generals. <v Speaker>And it apparently worked. <v Speaker>But upon reflection, the implications of such a maneuver can make one slightly ill. <v Speaker>What if, for instance, the Haitian generals had not blinked in the Haitian army? <v Speaker>Mottley, though it might be. <v Speaker>Was waiting and ready for our troops when they landed. <v Speaker>Surely some people, Americans and Haitians, would have died because of the lack <v Speaker>of surprise? Our purpose, though, is not to debate military tactics, but to think hard <v Speaker>about the role of the press in this situation. <v Speaker>In a very real sense. The government used the press in the Gulf War, the government <v Speaker>controlled information by limiting press access, and the result was that the American <v Speaker>public saw few of those disturbing pictures of dead American soldiers that might <v Speaker>have eroded support for the war. <v Speaker>This time, the government's objective was different. <v Speaker>So instead of limiting information, they flooded the press with information, and the <v Speaker>result was the same flow of information largely controlled by the government.
<v Speaker>Then, to add insult to injury, after releasing the information it wanted released. <v Speaker>The government tried to broker a deal with news organizations on the eve of the invasion, <v Speaker>which would have in effect shifted back to Gulf War rules. <v Speaker>The press didn't go for that deal, but what would have happened had there been an <v Speaker>invasion or what will happen if things get bad over there is another matter. <v Speaker>What does Haiti have to teach us about how the press and the government work when war is <v Speaker>afoot? Are we're getting a true picture of what is happening in Haiti. <v Speaker>We have an array of informed sources to discuss Haiti and the press. <v Speaker>First is John R. MacArthur. He's the publisher of Harper's Magazine and author of <v Speaker>Second Front Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War. <v Speaker>Rick, welcome. <v John R. MacArthur>Hi. <v Speaker>Also joining us is Bernard Gwerksman, foreign editor of The New York Times, which has <v Speaker>been the source of many of the most revealing articles about what's been going on in <v Speaker>Haiti and the White House during this past week. <v Speaker>Bernie is always we're very glad to have you. <v Bernand Gwerksman>Thank you. Good to be here. <v Speaker>And Jean Jean-Pierre also joins us. <v Speaker>He's a freelance reporter who spent most of his life in Port-Au-Prince.
<v Speaker>He reports for the Caribbean News Agency and Radio for Peace International. <v Speaker>He also co-wrote with James Ridgeway this week's week's Village Voice cover <v Speaker>story about Haiti entitled Will ask Will Aristide Play the U.S. <v Speaker>Game? Welcome, Jean. <v Jean Jean-Pierre>It's my pleasure, sir. <v Speaker>And we're also happy to have Amy Wilentz, author of The Rainy Season Haiti Since <v Speaker>Duvalier. she is a freelance journalist whose profile of Jean Bertrand Aristide <v Speaker>appeared in the most recent Time magazine. <v Speaker>Amy, we're very glad to have you, too. <v Amy Wilentz>Hi. Thanks. <v Speaker>Bernie Gwerksman, you are a veteran of many campaigns. <v Speaker>Have you ever before seen the details of an invasion offered in advance to the press? <v Speaker>And what should the press do in a situation when clearly it was news, but also <v Speaker>clearly it was a calculated effort by the government to use the press? <v Speaker>Well, there were two things. One, the fact you're right in the sense that it was very <v Speaker>easy to get information this time on the tactics they planned. <v Speaker>We didn't know for sure when the invasion would begin, which was, of
<v Speaker>course, a a major factor, although we knew deep within a few days if <v Speaker>in fact the Carter deal hadn't worked out. <v Speaker>We'd also made this somewhat different from the Persian Gulf, which is the most recent <v Speaker>occasion you mentioned was this time we had reporters on the ground <v Speaker>in Haiti for some time before the invasion <v Speaker>would have taken place. Whereas in Iraq, I think news organizations <v Speaker>were either largely nervous about having people in Iraq or the Iraqis <v Speaker>kicked us out. So when the war started in Iraq, only CNN <v Speaker>to my memory, was actually in Iraq and rather limited to Baghdad, <v Speaker>whereas our correspondents have been there. <v Speaker>And many of them have been there for many different trips at times and <v Speaker>can move around the country. <v Speaker>Well, let me ask you, as foreign editor of The Times, does it make you uncomfortable when <v Speaker>you find yourself sort of this is an instrument of foreign policy in a situation like <v Speaker>this?
<v Speaker>No. I mean, the alternative, I suppose, is not to say anything. <v Speaker>No, I think in this case, the US government wanted it known it was ready <v Speaker>to invade if if they couldn't get what they wanted. <v Speaker>And it seemed rather interesting charting the whole <v Speaker>PR campaign as was going up. <v Speaker>We, of course, kept saying this was part of a PR campaign <v Speaker>to intimidate the Haitian government where we were caught by <v Speaker>surprise. As was most people, was the last minute decision <v Speaker>by President Couldn't to enlist or to accept the services <v Speaker>of former President Carter on a mission which achieved <v Speaker>probably only about half of what the US really wanted at the time. <v Speaker>I want to ask you, Rick MacArthur, before we get into the details of <v Speaker>what happened and so forth. Give us some perspective on the openness <v Speaker>of the government in the Gulf War, Panama, Grenada, compared
<v Speaker>with with what's going on in Haiti now. <v Speaker>How do you sort of do that? <v Speaker>Oh, well, public public relations objectives not withstanding, <v Speaker>this is a vastly better situation and it's being much better covered by the <v Speaker>daily papers and the networks provides reasons, as Mr. Gordon <v Speaker>pointed out, that had reporters there for months and months or if not years. <v Speaker>And they know the territory and they know how to talk to in the Clinton administration <v Speaker>couldn't have imposed the kind of censorship that was imposed <v Speaker>in the Gulf War. They just would have been impractical. <v Speaker>One thing it's not mentioned, though, is that technically the agreement <v Speaker>between the major news organizations, including The New York Times and the Pentagon, <v Speaker>which established pool coverage, still exists. <v Speaker>That still is the rule of the day, order of the day if there is combat. <v Speaker>So had there been an invasion, the Pentagon and the government could have had would've <v Speaker>had the option of activating these national media pools or this national media pool,
<v Speaker>which is carefully circum circumscribed. <v Speaker>However, since you had reporters all over Port-Au-Prince, there's just no point. <v Speaker>In fact, can I interrupt, really? <v Speaker>My understanding the negotiations on this were handled by the Washington <v Speaker>bureau. But it was passed on to me is that the Pentagon did have a pool <v Speaker>ready. And but it but they did say that anybody <v Speaker>already there would have freedom of movement and that the Pentagon would not try to <v Speaker>censor, have censorship or limit access, as they did in the <v Speaker>in Saudi Arabia at the time of the Persian Gulf War. <v Speaker>I'm sure they did say that they're being but they're being practical in <v Speaker>every case. If they had the choice, they'd rather not have reporters crawling around <v Speaker>seeing things that the military doesn't want them to see. <v Speaker>So, Amy Wilentz why did Haiti not <v Speaker>throw journalists out? I mean, I think that for four months <v Speaker>now, we've been seeing these photographs.
<v Speaker>Night after night of bodies sort of piled up in the streets and left to decompose because <v Speaker>people were afraid to even touch them. <v Speaker>Those were certainly important in creating the atmosphere that is brought <v Speaker>brought us to where we are today. Why did the Haitian government not try to put <v Speaker>some controls on them? <v Speaker>Well, I think the Haitian general generals have gotten the feeling that they could <v Speaker>do basically what they wanted from the three years of vacillation of American foreign <v Speaker>policy. And they were just seeing how far they could up the ante before anything would <v Speaker>happen. They felt that they could do all this with impunity. <v Speaker>So they really weren't threatened by the by the journalists there. <v Speaker>And in fact, the the way the invasion didn't go down and the way it became <v Speaker>a friendly, a permissive entry may show to some extent that they <v Speaker>were right, that they could do what they want and they still wouldn't be invaded. <v Speaker>In fact, I think that what happened was instead of fearing the invasion <v Speaker>when they met with President Carter, they understood that President Clinton was so <v Speaker>worried about doing an invasion for political reasons that, in fact, the generals had the
<v Speaker>upper hand. And that's why they got so much of what they wanted out of the Carter <v Speaker>mission. <v Speaker>Well, I mean, their upper hand was, I would think, tempered by the idea that these planes <v Speaker>were in the air and on their way. <v Speaker>You would think so, but I'm not sure it was. If you look at the details of the agreement. <v Speaker>But another thing I wanted to say is you ask whether the press <v Speaker>was uncomfortable to be put in the position of an instrument of foreign policy. <v Speaker>But the press in Haiti, at least the mainstream media, is so frequently an instrument <v Speaker>of U.S. foreign policy that for it to become one during a time of war, it's not at all <v Speaker>that surprising. And so much of what it what guides <v Speaker>press coverage of Haiti is foreign policy coming from the State <v Speaker>Department. <v Speaker>Bernie Weintraub, you covered the State Department or any. <v Speaker>It hurts when I beg your pardon burning. You covered the State Department for many years. <v Speaker>How do you how do you view what Amy just said? <v Speaker>I'd have to hear. <v Speaker>I think she and I have had this discussion we've had. <v Speaker>I think so. But I'd
<v Speaker>have to have the specifics, because clearly part of the job of <v Speaker>the Washington correspondents of any news organization is to report <v Speaker>what the government says and more importantly, what the government's doing. <v Speaker>That's part of what they're paid to do. <v Speaker>That whether, in fact, we are then becoming the handmaidens of American <v Speaker>policy is somewhat debatable. I think the overall coverage of the incidents <v Speaker>from our point of view has been fairly critical. <v Speaker>And this interested me. <v Speaker>I don't know if what you're talking about in, say, the coverage of Aristide himself. <v Speaker>Aristide has come across in the media, has a not <v Speaker>to touch fellow, I suppose. <v Speaker>And I think this may be disturbing to some people who are in <v Speaker>fact, I'm not talking about Washington correspondent sometime-, our correspondent in <v Speaker>Port-Au-Prince. And I agree with Mr. Quinten that the coverage this time around <v Speaker>has been very impartial. And there have been a lot of reporters who eye on the Haiti beat <v Speaker>down in Haiti. And I think they've brought a fresh eye to what sometimes they can
<v Speaker>sort of cynical post where you go funds from embassy official at the embassy <v Speaker>official and from approved embassy source to approved embassy site. <v Speaker>I'm not just talking about The New York Times, obviously, but the networks and also <v Speaker>the other major papers. And I think it's a problem in a place like anywhere. <v Speaker>Often the reporters don't speak the language of the people on the street and even <v Speaker>of many of the officials, France, I think it becomes a problem and they get directed <v Speaker>toward more American minded people and they end up reporting American policy. <v Speaker>I don't think that happened during this particular episode on either Zamfir. <v Speaker>How do you as a Haitian, how do you how would you rate the coverage? <v Speaker>Well, I'd like to two to agree with with Amy. <v Speaker>In fact, I do my personal experience. <v Speaker>I can give you two examples. <v Speaker>The first one is about Guantanamo. <v Speaker>I've been covering Guantanamo for the past three months. <v Speaker>And the two months ago there were the first <v Speaker>riot which took place was not known by the men press
<v Speaker>the mainstream media for a good three days. <v Speaker>Although the following day through my contacts on the camp, <v Speaker>I was aware of the riot and I called it a riot <v Speaker>because there were 65 people who were injured, at least half <v Speaker>of which needed- required hospi- hospitalization <v Speaker>of there were over 25 people incarcerated. <v Speaker>And I called personally, I call the Associated Press <v Speaker>National Public Radio. The New York Times I, there is a gentleman <v Speaker>whos an editor for, foreign editor is not Mr. GOZMAN, with whom <v Speaker>I've been to 10 good relations for a while. <v Speaker>Everybody told me wow that sounds like a very good story. <v Speaker>A little sweet for my correspondents in Washington. <v Speaker>What do we got? Two days later was exactly almost <v Speaker>ad verbatim the of the reports
<v Speaker>that that came out of the Pentagon, for example, the riot was changed <v Speaker>to a minor melee uh. <v Speaker>People were incarcerated. And I know there were there are <v Speaker>still cages, eight by 9, 6 foot steel- steel cages <v Speaker>in which they are they are they incarcerated Haitians who were <v Speaker>part of that riot. <v Speaker>The Pentagon called that been isolated. <v Speaker>And that's exactly what I read in the paper. <v Speaker>For example, the people were complaining that they were giving him rice and beans three <v Speaker>times daily. <v Speaker>The Pentagon said, well, they've got three meals and everybody <v Speaker>repeated exactly the same terms. <v Speaker>So I do agree and I could add another example is <v Speaker>this, that the mob violence. <v Speaker>And and it does something to most Haitian has a straddle <v Speaker>connotation. It's sort of to us concern
<v Speaker>conjures up the the idea of of the common people. <v Speaker>Of course, this is perhaps the classic definition of it. <v Speaker>But when this in my violence in Haiti versus police violence, <v Speaker>when we know, according to Human Rights Watch and many other rights organization, <v Speaker>the police themselves are a bunch of <v Speaker>it's a gang of criminals which fall basically under the definition of mob. <v Speaker>But when we hear mob violence, we clearly know they are <v Speaker>referring to the partisan of President Aristide. <v Speaker>Those, those are poor people, those masses. <v Speaker>And it bothers most of us. <v Speaker>And I could go on and on and on. <v Speaker>We're going to take a break. And when we come back, we're going to talk about how you <v Speaker>tried to penetrate the veil in a situation where it was a great deal of <v Speaker>emotional and political partisanship on all sides and where the military <v Speaker>especially is involved. And we would very much like to have your calls. <v Speaker>2 1 2 2 6 7 9 6 9 2.
<v Speaker>2 1 2 2 6 7 WNYC. <v Speaker>We'll be back right after this. <v Speaker>This is Larry Josephson. Next time on Bridges, I'll talk with conservative <v Speaker>David Frum. He's the author of Dead Right. <v Speaker>A new book, As Tough on Conservatives as it is on Liberals. <v Speaker>Frum believes conservatives had a mandate to cut big government but failed to deliver <v Speaker>when they were in office. That's David Frum. <v Speaker>Next time on Bridges, a liberal conservative dialog with Larry Josephson <v Speaker>Sunday night at 8:00 on WNYC. <v Speaker>A.M.A. 20, mostly cloudy skies this Sunday. <v Speaker>Temperature's around seventy five degrees tonight. <v Speaker>It'll be cloudy with a 40 percent chance of light rain late tonight. <v Speaker>Lows around 65. More rain expected tomorrow. <v Speaker>Sixty nine degrees and cloudy right now. <v Speaker>This is WNYC New York Public Radio.
<v Speaker>We're back with ON THE MEDIA. I'm Alex Jones and we're talking about Haiti in the press <v Speaker>with Rick MacArthur, publisher of Harper's Magazine, author of Second Front Censorship <v Speaker>and Propaganda in the Gulf War. Bernie Gwerksman, foreign editor of The New York Times. <v Speaker>Jean Jean-pierre freelance reporter for the Caribbean News Agency and others. <v Speaker>And Amy Willets, author of The Rainy Season Haiti Since Duvalier and a freelance <v Speaker>journalist whose stuff appears from Time to Time in Time and other other publications, <v Speaker>Bernie Gwerksman. But let me ask you before we move on, right before the break, <v Speaker>Jean Jean-Pierre was mentioning especially an item in that <v Speaker>had to do with whether it was a riot or something else that was occurring in at <v Speaker>Guantanamo Bay. What are the access problems there and how does one <v Speaker>try to get reliable, dispassionate information about what's going on <v Speaker>in a situation like that? <v Speaker>Guantanamo is a tough place to cover because journalists are not <v Speaker>allowed to stay there very long.
<v Speaker>In other words, what's what's happened is the Pentagon allows <v Speaker>visits by journalists on a daily basis almost. <v Speaker>You have to make a reservation and you fly down on a on <v Speaker>a chartered plane from Palm Beach and you can spend <v Speaker>the day there. I may be wrong and some of the details. <v Speaker>And then you can do whatever reporting you can do and then you'll have to fly <v Speaker>out. <v Speaker>Well do you remember this particular story? <v Speaker>No, I don't know. It may have happened while I was on vacation, but there <v Speaker>have been a number of stories I I remember more clearly, <v Speaker>riots or whatever you call them, involving Cubans, not so much the Haitians. <v Speaker>But I'm willing to to accept the version <v Speaker>we heard on the air. What I suspect happened was we just couldn't accept one <v Speaker>person's call and we had to check it out. <v Speaker>And that's what happened. <v Speaker>But the problem with that, if I may interrupt here, is, though, what happens is one turns
<v Speaker>to then the authority and the authority tells you what they <v Speaker>believe happened. But of course, they're deeply implicated in the story. <v Speaker>And of course, at Guantanamo, it's very difficult to get the real information and one <v Speaker>tends to rely on the authority. <v Speaker>And that is a problem. I think one thing that also happens is the I <v Speaker>think this has happened. I'm not sure, but this is the sense I got from the Aristide <v Speaker>government. At one point after the Governor's Island agreements were signed, the <v Speaker>U.S. government let it be known that Aristide had agreed to a fairly wide and sweeping <v Speaker>amnesty. Now, the entire time the U.S. <v Speaker>government was telling this to the media, including me, the Aristide <v Speaker>government saying we never agreed to it, we never agreed to it. <v Speaker>They're they're pushing us into this by telling the media we agreed to it. <v Speaker>Now I report it because I've known a lot of the people in that government for a long <v Speaker>time. I reported their side of it, although I wondered who was telling me the truth. <v Speaker>But that side of the story never got reported in the mainstream media because it was <v Speaker>assumed that the president of a foreign country was lying, that all his people were
<v Speaker>lying, and that the US government was telling the truth. <v Speaker>In fact, if you allow me, I covered the Governor's Island for the <v Speaker>United Nations radio, and I had followed the story <v Speaker>from the very, very beginning. <v Speaker>President Aristide did sign an amnesty. <v Speaker>Right. But according to Article 147 of the Constitution, he kept it is <v Speaker>he's authorized to sign only a political one, which he did. <v Speaker>And the military in Haiti said he said, no, <v Speaker>that's not enough. We want a broad amnesty which will covered <v Speaker>even the attachés, the people while we've been raping 13 year <v Speaker>old girls. <v Speaker>And that is something that I think the press has failed to <v Speaker>report, that the amnesty was signed. <v Speaker>Now they're asking for a general amnesty, which will of <v Speaker>which will definitely prevent third parties from <v Speaker>suing the oppressors, even in a civil court.
<v Speaker>Speaking of the voice of authority, I was just wondering, did anyone check out <v Speaker>President Clinton's statement that the military in Haiti was killing orphan <v Speaker>orphans? <v Speaker>Well, for your children, the story came from The New York Times. <v Speaker>Bernard, you. <v Speaker>Well, this is it. He was quoting almost verbatim from a <v Speaker>story that Rick Bragg did based on some interviews in <v Speaker>Port au Prince. I will, first of all, say, you know, I assume <v Speaker>the facts in there were correct. <v Speaker>I've I've heard since some people say that that these <v Speaker>were not orphans who are getting killed. <v Speaker>Other people have been denying that. <v Speaker>I'd be curious to hear what our experts. <v Speaker>I would just like to say about that story that that is exactly the kind of story, the <v Speaker>story about the military killing orphans, whether or not it actually happens. <v Speaker>That's exactly the kind of story that when. <v Speaker>The military is in favor with the United States government. <v Speaker>And we turn to the State Department to hear what they say about that, and they said the <v Speaker>military is not killing our offense. And that story doesn't go in the paper.
<v Speaker>But when the military government is in disfavor with the State Department, that story <v Speaker>goes in the paper. <v Speaker>Well, I think well, I mean, I know, you know, Howard French has been writing <v Speaker>about human rights violations in Haiti. <v Speaker>And he was also reporting that the embassy was trying to deny that we had <v Speaker>a lot of problems earlier in the year with at the time <v Speaker>here. Right at the time, the State Department was trying to make a deal <v Speaker>with the government. Much earlier on, they were trying to protect them against <v Speaker>charges. We we did not agree with the state and we tried to do our own reporting. <v Speaker>This story by Bragg, I don't think had much to do with anything except that <v Speaker>he's been he's been reporting it very well for the last two months on <v Speaker>human rights situation. What did he do? <v Speaker>Well, this highlights is the very great difficulty in getting information <v Speaker>that isn't filtered through some sort of some sort of foreign policy. <v Speaker>Well, you know, probably the biggest problem we have in reporting in Haiti, oddly enough,
<v Speaker>is the difficulty of getting to any of the people in the military leadership <v Speaker>services, except for Dan Rather. <v Speaker>I don't know anybody who's talked to General, as Peter Jennings <v Speaker>did also. Did he at one point? I mean, obviously, they were they accept TV. <v Speaker>The the writing press is treated. <v Speaker>There were other stations this day in contempt by the by the whatever <v Speaker>leadership there is. So. <v Speaker>Well, not yet. I'm sorry to cut you off, but there is an element that <v Speaker>is been missing and a lot of the reporting on Haiti are <v Speaker>out French whose was a friend of mine. <v Speaker>Although we we didn't start our friendship on a very good note. <v Speaker>It was exactly what a story on The New York Times. <v Speaker>What I respected. And that's why I missed reading his stories in Haiti. <v Speaker>Whether you want agrees with him or not, he respected the Asian people. <v Speaker>We try to learn to understand the culture. <v Speaker>You learn Creole. And I think that plays a very important role in
<v Speaker>understanding Haiti and Amy. <v Speaker>Amy, before she wrote the book, she spent a lot of time in Haiti <v Speaker>and you could understand 80 from reading books <v Speaker>at any university here. You have to go. <v Speaker>You have to to feel the culture. <v Speaker>It is it is unique. We're not unique people, but the culture. <v Speaker>It's a confluence of so many cultures. <v Speaker>And and you have to have a feel for it. <v Speaker>And I can tell you that David French did because he spend the <v Speaker>time to to understand and learn. <v Speaker>I'm not sure about that. <v Speaker>I see all sorts of examples in the foreign press. <v Speaker>But in fact, I'm looking at a story right now from The London Spectator, which told <v Speaker>me something I hadn't read anywhere in the American papers, that <v Speaker>in the invasion of 1915, Franklin Roosevelt claimed <v Speaker>credit for having rewritten the Haitian constitution to permit <v Speaker>foreign ownership of property in Haiti.
<v Speaker>Paul Farmer wrote that already. <v Speaker>Right. And then Glass reviews that book in the Times Literary Supplement. <v Speaker>Now, I can't claim to read every story in the Times. <v Speaker>Obviously, I didn't read Eric Schmidt piece on the on the orphan killings. <v Speaker>And I and I can't say I've read every daily newspaper report on Haiti in the last <v Speaker>couple of weeks, but I haven't seen that anywhere. <v Speaker>I'm curious to know what everybody thinks about the historical the perspective <v Speaker>of the media coverage. That's a shocking and fascinating fact. <v Speaker>Bernie, has the times given much attention to historical context? <v Speaker>You know, in the past, of course, we did. In fact, the Sunday week in review piece, which <v Speaker>I can I can't can remember every detail by Alain Savino on <v Speaker>the previous occupation and at some point probably will do. <v Speaker>In fact, I've asked for a longer piece going over the history of the 1915 <v Speaker>events. <v Speaker>Are you familiar with that particular piece of Asia? <v Speaker>Fascinating. It is. Let's get our listeners in on this conversation. <v Speaker>Jackie in New Jersey, hello.
<v Speaker>I think an excellent program. Good morning. <v Speaker>Good morning. I do this on many parts of the globe, including Northern Ireland, which has <v Speaker>been misreported until you go over and really learn the truth. <v Speaker>And as a writer, I have done that. However, we are in Haiti and I have two quick <v Speaker>questions. During the Bush administration, the CIA put <v Speaker>out all sorts of data that Aristide was not stable, that he was <v Speaker>all kinds of derogatory terms were used in terms of describing the man. <v Speaker>And now we hear that those reports from the CIA were all contrived. <v Speaker>And now we hear that he was elected by 70 percent of the people and that he is an <v Speaker>honorable man and he wishes to go back and try to help his people. <v Speaker>Have your guest this morning studied the two. <v Speaker>Different reports on Aristide. <v Speaker>And my last question is, Amy, are you related to Warren? <v Speaker>Do you go to your uncle? <v Speaker>You can take both of those quotes. <v Speaker>I worked for him. <v Speaker>Well, yeah, of course, I.
<v Speaker>I've written a lot about President Aristide's on highly aware and have been aware all <v Speaker>down the line about these two different points of view on him. <v Speaker>Especially if you would address the damaging each about the necklacing. <v Speaker>Oh, okay. The CIA report, of course, was not entirely about the necklacing speech, <v Speaker>but was about his psychological problems also. <v Speaker>And most most of the content of these CIA briefings to Congress have <v Speaker>been discredited. And the Clinton administration distanced itself from that report <v Speaker>almost immediately. The necklace in question is a sort of separate question. <v Speaker>There were also a lot of attacks right after Aristide was overthrown on the human rights <v Speaker>record of Aristide's seven months. <v Speaker>And most of the stuff was generated in a sort of PR campaign <v Speaker>by Aristide enemies in Haiti. But that doesn't mean none of it was true. <v Speaker>And there was a speech he gave on the day before he was ousted <v Speaker>in which he seemed to wink at, as people say, the practice of necklacing. <v Speaker>He called the necklace in Creole.
<v Speaker>He called the necklace and the Constitution at the same time, a beautiful instrument that <v Speaker>smells sweet. And so he is able to say, and quite rightly, I've examined the speech <v Speaker>and seen the videotape that he was talking about the constitution. <v Speaker>But I think it's clear and maybe I would agree with me, maybe not that he was <v Speaker>speaking of the necklace as well. <v Speaker>I agree. You know, President Aristide speaks in a lot of metaphors. <v Speaker>He imageries and analogies. <v Speaker>But you never said necklacing. You see articles, 291 smells <v Speaker>good. And that is one of the problems that I have. <v Speaker>Also, whenever they are quoting him and whether on television <v Speaker>you will see three dots before I smell good because they <v Speaker>take out the subject because it will have to be explained to the people. <v Speaker>What I was a metaphore and we know that's where he met because he never used the word <v Speaker>necklacing. And I would say quickly also the context <v Speaker>within which he he made that speech. <v Speaker>Everybody, even those of us live here in the United States knew there was a coup
<v Speaker>underway. And in the past, for example, <v Speaker>the Duvalier if there was any Villeda, any rumor of a coup, he would line <v Speaker>up officers and shoot them. <v Speaker>Aristide didn't do that because he wanted to abide by the Constitution. <v Speaker>What he did was this famous speech just to to <v Speaker>at least used to rally the people around him and to warn <v Speaker>the military that he had the people he had. <v Speaker>Exactly. And that turned out to be the speech that I think four wishes <v Speaker>feel pain. <v Speaker>Jacki, if I can just if I can just add some background on this to this <v Speaker>question. Sure. The fact is, a year ago, there certainly <v Speaker>was a strong feeling within the Pentagon in particular that Aristide <v Speaker>was not a very stable fellow. <v Speaker>And the CIA analysis, which was leaked in the first <v Speaker>place, I think both people, Senator Helms and his supporters on <v Speaker>the Hill, was believed by a number
<v Speaker>of high officials in the Pentagon and played a fact, <v Speaker>I think, in the complete disinterest or uninterested <v Speaker>in doing much to enforce the governor's island agreement when <v Speaker>when the Harwin was turned away. <v Speaker>The Pentagon certainly was in no mood to intervene by force <v Speaker>at that point. <v Speaker>I said that it is not because of the CIA report, of course, that the Pentagon and many <v Speaker>other institutions in the United States were not too happy about the idea of us <v Speaker>reinstating Aristide. But it was an habitual state of mind with the Americans not to want <v Speaker>to reinstate a left wing anti-American leader who preached socialism. <v Speaker>Well, yes. But let let me explain, though, Amy. <v Speaker>Sometimes when Americans hear entire American, I think it's entirely <v Speaker>know American policy. And in Haiti, all do. <v Speaker>This report was bought by by many, including the <v Speaker>Miami Herald. They're still they are still using it to this date. <v Speaker>Jacki, thank you very much for your call. We appreciate it.
<v Speaker>I want to I want to shift gears for just a moment and ask you, Bernie Grossman, to talk <v Speaker>about the differences, if you perceive them, between the the Clinton <v Speaker>administration and the Reagan Bush administrations as far as their dealings <v Speaker>with the press in a situation like this, especially in light of the sort of <v Speaker>pre-invasion meeting to set down ground rules for what was going to go down in in <v Speaker>what everyone thought was going to be an invasion. <v Speaker>Well, you know, every everything is different. <v Speaker>The in the Reagan administration, probably the most egregious <v Speaker>attack. It was the Grenada invasion, which <v Speaker>was a complete was this wasn't a complete surprise, <v Speaker>but it wasn't until like the day before it happened that people really realized that <v Speaker>something was up and there and there was only a small pool. <v Speaker>Plus whatever correspondents happened to be near the scene. <v Speaker>I mean, we I think we had a couple of reporters arriving at about the same time
<v Speaker>the invasion did the the Persian Gulf we knew was gonna happen. <v Speaker>And that was a I think the Persian Gulf will go down as a unique situation <v Speaker>in which you had is about a six month build up, followed <v Speaker>by several months. Cup was a two or three month. <v Speaker>I can remember now one month of heavy bombing, all from Saudi <v Speaker>Arabia country, which felt very uneasy with western press there <v Speaker>at the time in particular. <v Speaker>And the Pentagon was in no mood to <v Speaker>push the Saudis very far. <v Speaker>And then we had only a three day ground invasion of Iraq itself. <v Speaker>So if it had been a longer war, I'm sure things might have <v Speaker>improved a bit as far as the press was concerned. <v Speaker>But the fact is, it really was a very strange situation where a couple <v Speaker>of hundred thousand troops, lots and lots of reporters <v Speaker>with really time on their hands for a very long time and a very frustrating
<v Speaker>operation. The thing in Haiti is, of course, you know, <v Speaker>it's like the mouse that roared. Even if there had been an invasion, there wouldn't have <v Speaker>been, you know, as far as direct army to army contact, that would <v Speaker>have been over probably in a day or so. <v Speaker>But. And we could have done what we wanted to do. <v Speaker>The problem in Haiti is not the initial landing, but it's going to be the next <v Speaker>months. How the whole thing works out, how the political <v Speaker>thing straightens, what Aristide actually did. <v Speaker>What did the government seek in terms of controls and and, <v Speaker>you know, cooperation from the press on them on the immediate eve, on Haiti and Haiti, on <v Speaker>Haiti, as I understand it, the most interesting thing was their request of <v Speaker>the networks not to report until the planes were just about <v Speaker>there, the departure of the paratroopers from North Carolina. <v Speaker>That was the only request that I know of. <v Speaker>Of course, we weren't involved in that. The problem
<v Speaker>and the networks, I think, agree to that, right? <v Speaker>Yes, I understand. <v Speaker>But wasn't there in a group, wasn't there didn't they seek, for instance, that the <v Speaker>reporters stay in hotels or stay in areas for a period of time? <v Speaker>There's a little there's a little. <v Speaker>I'm not trying to be fair here in Haiti. <v Speaker>Of course, a number of the reporters were staying at a couple of hotels. <v Speaker>Our reporters are mostly in a hotel called the Montana and the American <v Speaker>Embassy in one of the briefings before the planned invasion, <v Speaker>told reporters that one of the first objectives of the Marines when they land <v Speaker>will be to secure the hotels, i.e., protect the reporters <v Speaker>inside against any reprisals. <v Speaker>The reporters interpreted that not wrongly, I suppose, as possible <v Speaker>sealing off of the hotels in name, and they complained they didn't need such protections. <v Speaker>They were afraid that they wouldn't be able to come and go freely and do <v Speaker>their job. The Pentagon claimed that that was not the intention that people
<v Speaker>would be free to come and go when we raised it with them at as it turned out. <v Speaker>The whole thing didn't matter. <v Speaker>We're talking about Haiti in the press. We're going to take a break. <v Speaker>And when we get back, we'll be taking more phone calls. <v Speaker>And we'd like to hear from you. 1 2 2 6 7 9 6 9 2. <v Speaker>That's 2 1 2 2 6 7 WNYC. <v Speaker>We'll be back right after this. <v Speaker>Join Garrison Keillor in Albuquerque, New Mexico this week and find out how the town got <v Speaker>its name, Garrison's musical guests include the Red Clay Ramblers and singer songwriter <v Speaker>Iris DEMENT. The guy's All-Star shoe band does great Western swing music, too, <v Speaker>with Danny Levon and Andy Stein on Twin Fiddles and Lucky Oceans on steel guitar. <v Speaker>Great music and the news from Lake Wobegon too a very young companion this week <v Speaker>from the Great Southwest. <v Speaker>Sunday afternoon at 2:00 on WNYC a.m. <v Speaker>8:20, this is on the media on WNYC. <v Speaker>President Clinton is scheduled to address the General Assembly of the United Nations <v Speaker>tomorrow morning at 11:00. WNYC will broadcast the speech live on A.M.A.
<v Speaker>20 with anchored coverage by National Public Radio's Neal CONAN. <v Speaker>And that's tomorrow morning at 11:00 on AM 8:20. <v Speaker>This is WNYC New York Public Radio. <v Speaker>I'm Alex Jones, and we're back with all the media talking about Haiti and the press with <v Speaker>Rick MacArthur, publisher of Harper's Magazine and author of Second Front Censorship and <v Speaker>Propaganda in the Gulf War. Bernie Gwerksman, foreign editor of The New York Times. <v Speaker>Jean Jean-Pierre freelance reporter who reports for the Caribbean News Agency and others. <v Speaker>And Amy Wilkins, author of The Rainy Season Haiti Since Duvalier. <v Speaker>And a freelance journalist whose work appears in many mainstream publications. <v Speaker>Rick MacArthur. <v Speaker>Alex, I just have to interrupt. I should. It's hard to be mean and combative on Sunday <v Speaker>morning. Go ahead. So I couldn't interrupt Mr. Gord's. <v Speaker>But but to make the Gulf War restrictions sound like <v Speaker>some sort of quirk of history. You know, some three day <v Speaker>blip in time is preposterous. <v Speaker>I mean, he knows very well that Grenada was a dress rehearsal for a Panama,
<v Speaker>and Panama was a further refinement of Grenada and an even bigger dress rehearsal <v Speaker>for the Gulf War and the Gulf War. <v Speaker>There was just an astonishing cave-in by The New York Times <v Speaker>and other major newspapers and networks and so on and so forth, which were very carefully <v Speaker>documented in my book about how they let the Pentagon get away <v Speaker>with it. Now, they agreed to these crazy pool regulations which <v Speaker>are still enforced, as I said. The reason we've got great coverage. <v Speaker>And let me just compliment your reporters down there, Mr. Gord's. <v Speaker>Man, John Kintner is one of the best reporters in the country. <v Speaker>Just a fabulous reporter. <v Speaker>And he doesn't have any particular Haitian experience, as far as I know, <v Speaker>when you're permitted to do their job. <v Speaker>They're fine. But institutionally, the Times and the other networks <v Speaker>got pushed around very badly in the Gulf War and throughout the Reagan <v Speaker>administration. The reason that's not happening now is for the very practical reason that <v Speaker>you already had reporters on the ground. <v Speaker>Well, the only point I was making, I don't.
<v Speaker>Do you want to argue that first? <v Speaker>No, no, I don't want to. We don't. I tell you what. <v Speaker>What what Bernie, what I would like for you to address is whether the change in <v Speaker>administration has made a change in the way the government deals with the press <v Speaker>in a situation like this. Do you perceive it that way? <v Speaker>Probably. Probably. I mean, I can't tell because this is such a strange <v Speaker>war. <v Speaker>Well, let me ask you this. If we were at war in a situation like the Gulf again, do you <v Speaker>think that the government would try to put the same restrictions that existed in the Gulf <v Speaker>in the previous? <v Speaker>We'll be very hard pressed to do it. <v Speaker>They might want to, but it would be very difficult because the press really <v Speaker>didn't like the experience in the Gulf War. <v Speaker>Well, some members of the press didn't like it. <v Speaker>Kifner didn't like it. You know, people like the real the great reporters didn't like it, <v Speaker>but a lot of reporters, in fact, the vast majority went along. <v Speaker>So I just that I I know I can't tell you what errors come back to this <v Speaker>in another show again. OK. It's an interesting subject. <v Speaker>It I think I disagree with Mr. McCarthy on some on some philosophic <v Speaker>points, basically coming down to how long the war was in the Persian
On the Media
Haiti, the Press and U.S. Policy
Part 2
Science Reporting
Producing Organization
WNYC (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Episode Description
This is the September 25, 1994 episode of On the Media. The first hour features a panel discussion with Harper's Magazine publisher John R. "Rick" MacArthur; Bernard Gwertzman, foreign editor of the New York Times; Haitian journalist Jean Jean-Pierre; and author Amy Wilentz on the United States occupation of Haiti. The panelists also take calls from listeners. Reporter Carol Anne Clark Kelly reports on the Clinton administration's announcement of a policy shift regarding accepting Haitian refugees seeking asylum in the United States. The second hour features a panel discussion with Dr. Rodney W. Nichols, Dr. Daniel Koshland, Dr. Kevin Davies, and Larry Thompson on science reporting and science journals? representation within the mainstream press.
Series Description
"'On the Media', a live, two-hour interview and call-in program, broadcast on WNYC-AM, New York public radio, provides a distinct public service by examining the new media and their affect on American society. The series explores issues of a free press through discussions with journalists, media executives and media and social critics. "'On the Media' attempts to strengthen our democracy through discussions about the impact the decisions of editors and producers have on elections, legislation, public policy and the shaping of public opinion and attitudes. 'On the Media' also attempts to demystify the news media by explaining how journalists do their jobs, what criteria are used to determine a story's newworthiness [sic], and what controls the news outlets. "Each hour is discrete, with topics focusing on three basic areas: a review of media coverage of one of more current news stories; discussions of on-going issues that challenge journalists and affect the public; and behind-the-scenes information about now news operations-and journalists-work. "Topics have included issues of censorship and self-censorship, how sensationalism in the media detracts from coverage of important issues, discussions of ethics and careerism, women and minorities in the news, environmental reporting, how the health care debate was covered, and First Amendment issues (see enclosed program list). "The Richard Salant Room of the New Caanan, Connecticut, Public Library houses our entire library of tapes for research purposes. The series receives many requests for tapes for journalists, journalism teachers and the general public, and programs have been mentioned in the local and national press. For instance, Jim Gaines, managing editor of 'Time' magazine, participated in a segment,'Louis Farrakhan and the Press: How the News Media Cover a Controversial Organization' (February 13, 1994. [sic] referred to the discussion in an editorial. "Alex S. Jones, author and Pulitzer Prize-winning former media reports for 'The New York Times' is a series host. We are submitting six tapes (2 complete programs and 2 one-hour segments), a sample of letters from journalists, reprints of articles referring to the series, and a list of 1994 topics."--1994 Peabody Awards entry form.
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Producing Organization: WNYC (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
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Chicago: “On the Media; 1994-09-25; Haiti, the Press and U.S. Policy; Part 2; Science Reporting,” 1994-06-19, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 26, 2022,
MLA: “On the Media; 1994-09-25; Haiti, the Press and U.S. Policy; Part 2; Science Reporting.” 1994-06-19. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 26, 2022. <>.
APA: On the Media; 1994-09-25; Haiti, the Press and U.S. Policy; Part 2; Science Reporting. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from