Our embarrassing, servile media: Does the New York Times just print everything the government tells it?
The paper of record is carrying Washington’s water in its Ukraine reporting — all too believing, once again
As the crisis in Ukraine lurches on, and as a media war is ever more prominent a feature of it, I think it is time to tell a story. Some readers will know it; those who do not should. Our media war is waged for hearts and minds, as they often are, but not those of Ukrainians. Nobody cares what they think or what befalls them. Your eyes, ears and brains, readers, are the battlefields.
This is the story of Sydney Gruson, a long-serving and celebrated New York Times correspondent. I consider it essential to be aware of the history embedded in the tale so you know what you are being served when you read the Times’ coverage of Ukraine and Russia and, not least, the institutional habits of those doing the serving.
Gruson joined the Times in London during World War II and went on to numerous postwar assignments in Europe and elsewhere. Here we zero in on his coverage of Guatemala in the early 1950s, as the Dulles brothers—John Foster at State, Allen at the CIA—prepared for and then executed the coup that brought down Jacobo Arbenz, the elected president, in June 1954.