Saturday, May 9, 2009

Shuttle Challenger Explodes

On January 28th, 1986, NASA launched the shuttle Challenger, off of the coast of Florida. Within 72 seconds of lift-off, the shuttle exploded above the Atlantic, littering the water with debris from the disaster. All seven of the people on board the shuttle were killed in the explosion.

In the Los Angeles Times, their main article about the explosion of the aircraft was about the debris that stemmed from the disaster. The main source of the article was the United Press, and it was not very long. It discussed the debris that they had found so far in the ocean, and the fact that there were no conclusions that were drawn yet about what could have gone wrong with the spacecraft. It also warned the public to leave the debris alone, and let the experts deal with it. The quotes in the article were from official members of NASA and the Kennedy Space Center, as well as from a member of the Coast Guard.

The New York Times took a different approach. This paper chose to outline the many things that could have caused the explosion in the spacecraft. Not only do they outline all of the various physical problems that could have gone wrong, but they also describe the chemicals inside the chamber on the side of the shuttle, and what malfunctions could have caused the liquid nitrogen and the liquid oxygen to mix and create a bomb. The writer then goes on to suggest sabotage by a worker, and explains the security regarding the rocket. The source of this article was not stated, and there were absolutely no quotes in the entire article. With so much scientific information, it seems that there should have been more concrete sources, but it was just basically lacking proof that any of the concepts were true. 

However, the Washington Post used a very credible source - NASA itself. The Post chose to publish an article that was the direct statement that the assistant administrator made regarding the explosion. This seems, to me, to be the best way to handle the situation. The other two articles were based on speculation, but this was based on all of the facts available to the public, and the press, at the time, straight from the mouth of the NASA administrator. It seems impossible to have found a more constructive source, or a better way to frame the story.

In the 1980’s, literary writing was mixing with journalism to form the way of entertaining the reader along with informing them. Although this had started a great number of years before, writers were still using this as a way of trying to gain readership. I think that the New York Times was attempting to use this approach, to entertain the reader with all of the many things that could have happened. They used this speculation to appeal to those reading the article because they did not have many concrete facts to use. The same cannot be said for the other articles though.

 This story could be compared with the explosion of the shuttle Columbia back in February of 2003. Although the mission had already been completed, and the explosion occurred during re-entry into the atmosphere, the coverage was very similar to that of the shuttle Challenger. Seven people lost their lives, and the debris was littered across the land. Speculation occured then as well, until they pinpointed what it was that had caused the explosion and the break-up of the vessel.

NASA Hunts Debris, Tells Beachcombers 'Hands Off' 

Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File); Jan 29, 1986; ProQuest Historical Newspapers Los Angeles Times (1881 - 1986) pg. 1

How Could It Happen? Fuel Tank Leak Feared 


New York Times (1857-Current file); Jan 29, 1986; ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005) pg. A1

NASA Official's Statement 

The Washington Post  (1974-Current file); Jan 29, 1986; ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877 - 1992) pg. A6

Hitler launches Kristallnacht

The night that Hitler launched Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, was on the evening of November 9th, 1938. The following morning of the tenth led to many newspaper articles about the events of the night before. Kristallnacht was a night of anti-Jewish violence in Germany, brought on with the assassination of a German diplomat, Ernst vom Rath, by a young Jewish man in France.

The news coverage of this story in the Los Angeles Times on the morning of the tenth was very similar to that of the story in the Washington Post on the same morning. Both of these papers gave the background about the killing of the diplomat, then outlined the government’s warning message to the Jews and the occurrences of the previous night - the burning of the synagogues and the destruction of Jewish businesses. The article in the Washington Post went on to describe the precautions France was taking to make sure the anti-Jewish arguments did not get out of hand. But other than this basic information, these two newspapers did not have much detailed information included in their articles. The only visible sources they had were demonstrated by quotes in which German officials sent out warnings to Jewish citizens, and at the beginning of the article, where it stated that they were coming from the United Press.

The coverage in the New York Times was a lot more detailed. The entire first page of the article went into detail on the ages, clothes and mannerisms of the young men doing most of the vandalizing in Berlin. The New York Times described the types of places that were broken into, the names of the street corners where the shops were, and the crowds in the streets that were watching all of this occur. The details they were able to list were kind of astounding to me, seeing as they had no more proof of sources than the articles in the Washington Post or the Los Angeles Times. Their source of information was the Associated Press, and their quotes were, too, from the German officials. They also included a quote from the murderer of vom Rath, Herschel Grynszpan, which was a nice touch. The only real difference I noticed regarding the sources in the New York Times was that the writer stated, “The writer observed three cases of looting...”, showing that someone had observed it first-hand.

One thing that I noticed about all three of these articles was that none of them included the use of the word ‘Kristallnacht’.

I think that the lack of information in the first two articles stems from the fact that World War II was about to explode in Europe, but the US was still so far removed from it at this point that they were not able to experience what was going on firsthand. The articles had to be written mostly from information they were told by others. Also, I believe that some of the newspapers at this time were censoring things so as not to alarm the public. Regardless, the information that the public was finding out was not necessarily the whole story, but the newspapers did not have entire control over that fact.


Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File); Nov 10, 1938; ProQuest Historical Newspapers Los Angeles Times (1881 - 1986) pg. 1

Nazis Burn Synagogue As Rath Dies 

By the United Press. 

The Washington Post  (1877-1954); Nov 10, 1938; ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877 - 1992) pg. 7


Wireless to THE NEW YORK TIMES. 

New York Times (1857-Current file); Nov 10, 1938; ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005) pg. 1

Friday, May 8, 2009

Technological Innovations Claim Lives of Many

So here’s a story that was happening all over, but under-reported outside the work of photographers such as Lewis Hine and Jacob Riis. These photographers documented the dangerous conditions faced by factory workers and masses of immigrants who owed their arrival in overcrowded city tenements to the virtues of mass transportation.
Other technological innovations included electricity, which was a commodity still in the process of research and development at the turn of the century.

My first story involves the sad fate of an Edison Power company lineman who was burnt to a crisp from 4500 volts while working one day (Chronicle, 1902). No doubt it was an incident like this that spurred Edison to advertise the dangers of electricity with displays of animal electrocutions.

The most famous animal to meet such an end was Topsy the Killer Elephant. In 1903 Topsy was slated for death after having killed at least three circus hands in separate incidents (NYT,1903). After electrodes were attached to her legs, it took 10 seconds for the animal to die.

In the blurry photo above, plumes of smoke can be seen rising around the rigid legs of the dying elephant.

One need only look at today's mounds of discarded, outdated computers to see that the practice of rushing an undeveloped new technology to the consumer is still very much with us:

Photo Courtesy of:

These mounds of cast-off products are leaching toxic chemicals and compounds into the environment if they're not being melted down by underpaid workers in unsafe working conditions. We must all be aware of such dangers and guard against becoming victims of unsafe products.


ANOTHER VICTIM OF THE LIVE WIRE :While on Duty Lineman Barns Meets Electric Death. (1902, July 10). San Francisco Chronicle (1869-Current File),5. Retrieved May 8, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The San Francisco Chronicle (1865-1922) database. (Document ID: 1245629482).&

CONEY ELEPHANT KILLED :Topsy Overcome with Cyanide of Potassium and Electricity. She Was Adam Forepaugh's "Original Baby Elephant" Twenty-eight Years Ago -- Her Keeper, "Whitey," Would Not See Her Die.. (1903, January 5). New York Times (1857-Current file),p. 1. Retrieved May 8, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005) database. (Document ID: 101963986).

Press Lets 9/11 Confusion Prevail

By Aaron Salazar
It is imperative to examine the press coverage of the September 11 attacks because they are the most current examples of the government’s power to abuse the public, and their employment of the media to escalate the budgets of the military.
Like when Hitler intentionally burned down his parliament, and blamed it on his enemies to have them exterminated, and yield public support for legislation to further his power, the United States government allowed and assisted in the attacks of September 11. I’ve seen the movies and websites that critically investigate the events, and pry open the contradictory crevasses of the “official” report. There are so many holes in the government’s explanation it is infuriating. What’s worse is the government refuses to answer questions from first-hand witnesses, whose stories tell something completely different. This is the most flagrant display of wickedness I’ve been alive during. The most frustrating part of it is that the press repeats its hegemonic course or coverage. The government’s explanation and interpretation of the attacks are what are solidified into the minds of the people through television, and the timid press is bullied into complying with the president and defense department, or else be casted as unpatriotic and conspirator theorists. The essence of this event exposes the press as again acting as war crier and war arbiter.
The cover on The New York Times’ September 12, 2001 edition is a troubling sight and brutal reminder. Across the top, just beneath the paper’s name, big, bold letters proclaim “U.S. Attacked.” Beneath that another headlines cries “Hijacked Jets Destroy Twin Towers and Hit Pentagon in Day of Terror.” This article goes on to display the scene of that morning. The author, N.R. Kleinfield, flexes of capacity of hyperbole, and digs deep into his bag of diction and wrenches out words like “inexpressible, incomprehensible, and unthinkable” to describe the scene. The rest of the articles on the front cover are basically expressions of confusion.
Another top-page article is titled “President Vows to Exact Punishment for Evil.” Even though the title sounds like the president has a good idea of the perpetrators, the article articulates the opposite. After a brief summary of the disaster and a stream of abject adjectives, R.W. Apple writes, “…security officials earnestly debate the possibility of a congressional declaration of war—but against precisely whom…?” It’s like The Times is just waiting for the government to explain what happened and why, without initiating independent investigation or postulating alternative reasons. Even in times of national disarray, the press is to be a governmental watchdog, not an insipid lapdog constantly seeking approval from a master.
I still shutter when imagining the horror on 9/11. The papers did substantially well in depicting a “hellish” scene. Reporters’ jobs are not to just write elegantly about a horrific event though. Their job is to pry, and risk being labeled unpatriotic in the pursuit of truth. Look at what the poor questioning of 9/11 has led to: an unfounded, murderous occupation of Iraq.

Press Supports Tonkin Resolution

It is abhorrent that only the passage of time reveals true, or dare I say truer, explanations of history. This is how history has played out. Only the witnesses of historical events know the unabridged facts. Sadly, witnesses’ accounts are mostly overlooked, and it is the perspectives of the powerful that impinge on the record, leaving a limited view for future onlookers.

A prevalent examples of this moral abatement is the manipulation of facts that pose as acts of war and result in U.S. retaliation. In the 20th century, a big vehicle for disseminating the government’s call to conflict has been the press. The press, even though professes objectivity, receives information from “official” sources and government agents, making their reports favorable for the government’s actions. An example would be the press coverage of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution of 1964, which gave President Johnson power to increase military attacks in Vietnam and result in the loss of more than 58,000 American lives and an unknown body count of Vietnamese civilians.

On August 2, 1964 a U.S. navy vessel reported undertaking enemy fire from North Vietnamese torpedo-boats. The U.S. was perturbed because we were in international waters and abiding by U.N. laws. Two days later the ships were attacked again. Reported were two boats damaged and two sunk. On August 5, the Wall Street Journal, on page one in Vol. CLXIV No.26, reported President Johnson ordered a “limited” airstrike over North Vietnamese bases. The Journal writes, “This Government is united in determination to take all necessary measures in support of freedom and peace in Southeast Asia.” The report also mentions Johnson’s request to Congress for permission to deploy more military might to Vietnam. Johnson is quoted, ‘“our response, for the present, will be limited and fitting.”’ The papers failed to report though that the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gave the president the power to send as many troops as he wants, and for as long as he obliges.

The resolution was signed into law on August 7. On August 7, 1964 the Los Angeles Times reported, buried between headlines on page two, “Senate, House to Back Action by President.” The article reads how “overwhelmingly” the legislature has endorsed the resolution. Two opposing voices are acknowledge, but immediately after that paragraph, Sen. Frank Church’s responds to those two dissenters by being quoted as saying “there is a time to question policy and ‘“there is a time to rally around the flag.’’’ One dissenter is quoted. Sen. Morse is quoted: ‘“The United States has been a provocateur in Southeast Asia…Both sides have provoked this war. There’s only one place to take it, and that’s to the conference table.”’ Morse’s remarks are then refuted by the chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Wheeler and Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, J. Fulbright. The press favorably communicates the resolution to the public. One counter argument is heard, but overall the article leans toward the government’s sentiment.

Cuban Crisis News Blockade

Cuban Missile Crisis
At Left: Fidel Castro meets
Nikita Kruschev, 1960.

The Cuban Crisis, or Cuban Missile Crisis, as it was known in the United States, is arguably the biggest story of our times—both in terms of its long-playing nature and the unique manner it was released (or not) by U.S. press sources.

The story of the U.S. embargo on trade with Cuba did not begin with the 1962 “October Crisis,” as it was known in Cuba. The 1962 military standoff over Cuba was really between the U.S. and the USSR, and began months—if not years—before, as evidenced by a Washington Post release from November of 1961 which promotes the idea of a trade embargo against Cuba. The brief two paragraphs sum up the point of the conflict—private property expropriated by Castro’s communist regime…(Reuters, 1961).

From the journalistic point of view, the most noteworthy part of this political spectacle was the U.S. government-mandated news blackout in the months prior to, during, and after the actual "missile crisis" of October 1962. This blackout is evidenced in the Washington Post’s archives, where no Cuba-related news appears between March, 1962 and August, 1963. Then-press secretary to the White House Pierre Salinger recalls that the missile-sightings were only reported in Britain (293) and that this highly controlled release of the news was necessary for the interests of the United States.

The blight of the trade embargo has cast its shadow over generations of Cubans and U.S. citizens in the years since the crisis. A scenario in which human lives are subjugated to the interests of would-be traders in sugar, rum and cigars hardly seems laughable, yet it seems absurd to many that the embargo still lumbers on long after it may (or not) have had any substantial effect on the Cuban economy.

The foreshadowing of the 1961 pro-embargo Post releases, along with the fact that the story and photos of the Soviet “weaponry” were only released in Britain leave the question of the extent to which elements of this historic narrative may be fabrications… Stories that are selectively disseminated in this way lose their credibility and take on aspects of propaganda.

Maybe the New Yorker summed the situation up best in publishing an embargo-related story called Mutually Assured Stupidity (1994) and, as one independent blogger suggested, the blockade stays in effect mainly because “we have hated them so long, we have forgotten the reasons,” (Leler, 2009) and are afraid to lower the guard for fear of the unknown…

Or, in light of the government-mandated news blocks on the story, there could be reasons that no one mentions. In all the reading and searching I did for this topic, no one suggested that Cubans may be better off without the U.S. presence there. By many accounts, pre-Castro Havana was, to many visitors, little more than one big brothel. In view of accounts like those, perhaps the trade embargo and travel restrictions were the best things that ever happened to Cuba…


Briton Suggests Cuba Embargo. (1961, November 9). The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973),p. A18. Retrieved May 8, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877 - 1992) database. (Document ID: 161674762).

164 Violations Of Cuba Embargo. (1963, August 30). The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973),p. A1. Retrieved May 8, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877 - 1992) database. (Document ID: 163709452).

Leler, William. End the Embargo of Cuba. Accessed May 8, 2009.

Salinger, Pierre. With Kennedy. New York: Doubleday, 1966.

The Science of Dreams

Sigmund Freud is considered to be one of the major intellectual figures of the 20th century.  His theory and development of psychoanalysis – a form of psychotherapy used by some qualified psychotherapists to help treat mild to moderate continuous life issues by using information, supplied by the patient, of their conscious and unconscious thought process.  The unconscious thought process is evaluated by the patient re-telling their dreams to the psychotherapist.  This is how the psychotherapist is able to determine the patient’s habitual thought process and in turn, assist the patient with solving their own issues by understanding how their brain works. 


When Freud’s dream analysis, psychoanalysis, reached the United States, German scientists and students had already began interpreting dreams and practicing his approaches at treating patients with his new dream theory.  In an article published on June 1, 1913 in The New York Times titled “A DREAM SCIENCE: Prof. Freud’s Ingenious System of “Psychoanalysis”” the piece address the key finding of Freud’s Dream Analysis:


“Prof. Freud’s teachings may be summed up as follows: In a dream the scenes which we remember, with their grotesque figures and actions and their curious emotional coloring, are called the “manifest content.”  The manifest content is usually strange to us and cannot be intelligibly connected with our waking experience.  Behind these appearances, however, is the “latent content” – the underlying thought of the dream – the impulses and ideas contributing to dorm it, of which underlying though the remembered dream is a distorted, fictitious, or, one might almost say, dramatic representation.  The dream is a group or series of significant symbols.  Its interpretation is like that of a dumb-show or a charade. It is a matter of finding the meaning: which lurks behind, actuated, and explains these strange appearances.  When this meaning is found the dream is no longer unintelligible. No matter how apparently disconnected and absurd a dream may be, it has nevertheless a real meaning and value, and is connected and systematic when traced in full.  The underlying though off every dream is the same - an ungratified wish.  It is this thought which the dreamer the dreamer symbolizes and expresses. In children, this is frank and open; but in adults it is veiled and hidden in a mass of symbolism and dream-imagery, which it is the task of the dream interpreter to explore and explain.”


The article itself is, in actuality, soliciting the translated version of Freud’s book.  Dr. Brills is credited later in the article for his excellent translation and embodiment of Prof. Freud himself.  This article is the first of many about Freud and his concepts which show the early interest we humans had, and still have, of wanting to figure ourselves out.  Freud’s dream analysis was a monumental achievement in the field of psychology and for the behavioral science world as a whole.  I think this piece does a wonderful job at addressing how important and applicable Freud’s theory is, although it lacks information on some of the other psychological fields that were being developed at the time.  Towards the end of the piece, the author does note the opposing works and view points of other top scientists in the field of psychology, such as Carl Jung and Dr. Morton Prince, and I think this piece could have benefited by including a brief amount of information on the theories these individuals have worked on, or why they oppose Freud’s concepts.  By doing this, the author could better include other sides of this story.


The New York Times had another piece about Freud’s theories, not entirely based upon his discovery and development of psychoanalysis, but about the unconscious motives and actions humans perform on a daily basis.  Titled, “WHAT CAUSES SLIPS OF THE TOUNGE? WHY DO WE FORGET? Prof. Sigmund Freud, the Noted Viennese Psychologist, Has Interesting Theories About the Unconscious Motives in Our Everyday Activities,” which was published on October 18, 1914.  Within the piece, it is said that forgetfulness and “slips of the tongue” are all intentional acts of our unconscious thinking.


I believe that both of these pieces are milestones in the importance of how American people are ever intrigued by our own beings.  I think these two pieces in particular highlight the endeavor that the world of psychology has ventured over centuries in order to get us to the knowledge and science we have today about mental health and the treatment for those handicapped by their own minds. 


I liked that the second piece was more of an informational feature piece – sort of a ‘how to guide’ for discovering thoughts and actions of your unconscious process.  As a psychology minor myself, I am always fascinated in reading materials such as these.  I think the author framed the story appropriately and kept the information at a tangible level for the rest of the population to read and understand, with out it getting to far in to technical writing.  I think the author was best able to achieve this by supplying examples of the unconscious behaviors he was addressing – such as being at a dinner party and having a guest make a remark about the stingy spread accidently, simply by saying meal, rather than deal with the thought that this was actually an intentional act of this persons unconscious thinking.


(I’ll spare this post an example since I have far exceeded the word count already).  

Ford Fuels Economy

With Ford’s creation of the assembly line in the early 20th century came several advances not only for the company, but for society and the U.S. economy as well. 


In October of 1925, Ford Motor Company’s manufactured output reached an all-time company high at 8,150 new cars produced in a single day – less than 60 days after they discontinued their former body style of their passenger cars, with the improved style in production at all of their assembly plants nationwide. 


An article published in The New York Times on October 25, 1925 titled, “8,165 FORD OUTPUT IN DAY SETS RECORD; 8,500 IS PREDICTED” addressed the company’s accomplishment when they published the released statement from Ford Motor Co:


“The former type of passenger cars went out of production in August, during which month 4,616 passenger cars were produced…

…Output of the improved cars increased rapidly and for the week ending September 19, the production total showed 22,376 cars and trucks…

…Since that time, output has been growing steadily.  During the last few weeks, the company has been shipping through its branches to dealers more than 7,000 cars and trucks a day, the shipments increasing to the record reached Friday, October 16, when 8,165 cars and trucks were produced.”


This accomplishment was short-lived for the Company as they already had bigger goals in mind:


“This output will be increased to 8,500 a day by the end of the month. Production for October will run close to 200,000, a new high record.  These figures assure the public that cars will be forthcoming in such large quantities from now on that deliveries can be made to customers without any great delay.”


Several ‘perks’ can be generated from the results of this feat.  Not only is one of the largest American companies increasing their product supply and fulfilling the demand of the consumers at a more desirable rate, which, in turn, produces much larger revenue for the Company.  But with a higher demand and the need for larger quantities of its product, Ford Motor Company expansions and new jobs become available to hundreds of American citizens.


“Aside from the engineering work, the task of producing the improved cars involved, in part, the preparation of tools for 8,291 new operations necessitating more than 3,000,000 hours of work by expert toolmakers, complete changes of whole departments, the installation of 1,074 new machines in the Highland Park and River Rouge plants and in other manufacturing units, the designing and making of 903 new and different small tools totaling 75,800 pieces and the educating of thousands of men in making new automobile parts.  The increase in production, together with constantly expanding activities, has brought employment in the Ford organization in the United States to a new high figure.  At present, the number of those employed exceeds 173,000.”


Ford has been a strong and reliable automobile manufacturing company for several years, as proven today with their grounded standings in today’s economy and marketplace while their competitors are driving themselves in to the ground.  With their creation of the assembly line at the start of the 20th century and their impressive manufactured output records as shown in this story, Ford Motor Company has been an industry icon for over a century as evident in this article. 


However, I would have appreciated to see more statistical information on Ford’s manufacturing rates and employment rates.  The entire article was a press release statement from Ford Motor Company themselves.  There is an obvious lack of reporting and fact gathering which could have made this piece more effective.  I would have preferred to see more commentary from either a factory worker, or even a direct quote from a Ford Motor Company executive.  I don’t see a need for this story to have two sides, as it’s simply honoring an achievement, but the lack-luster effort of the writer is clear in that the entire piece, with the exception of the first two grafs, is a diret statement from the Company themselves.   

Mao & Communist China

The People’s Republic of China (PRC), established on October 1, 1949 with Mao Tse-tung a chairman, emerged as the political party for Communist China after more than two decades of civil war. Mao’s grassroots ideology and class analysis became popular and his anti-capitalist propaganda spread like wildfire through the hearts and minds of the Chinese masses. In the articles I examined, much of the coverage focused on China’s war strategies against the Japanese and the threat that China’s nationalist movement had on influencing other parts of Asia and the damage it had on relationships with the United States and other European nations.

In a Los Angeles Times article entitled, “Problems in Indonesia Disturb Peace of World,” the writer(s) Polyzoides discusses the heightened danger that Asia wielded on European countries such as Britain and Holland.

“This is only a sample of what the Allies are confronted with in Asia and it constitutes only one angle of the difficulties with which the United States is confronted in many a quarter of the globe,” Polyzoides said.

In a New York Times article entitled, “Communist Leader Confers in Hankow,” a wireless piece, Mao’s discussion of the Red Army is highlighted.

“[Mao] is joining discussions…on the role of Communist civil and military leaders in the Central Government and on the general problem of Chinese tactics against Japanese troops in North China areas.”

In another Los Angeles article entitled, “British Papers Hit U.S. China Policy,” the fear of a relationship strain between Chin and its “Anglo-American partnership” is evidently the angle of this story.

Each article I read had very few sources cited, and if there any, they were official sources, such as government officials.

The coverage of the articles I examined reflects the profession at the time. The Cold War started around the 1940s and continued well into the 1990s. It is likely that the journalists of the time were heavily dazed by the Cold War, just as many ordinary citizens were. During this time, it seems that the government’s call for national security was an important priority that journalists steadfastly grasped. “Throughout this period, the conflict was expressed through military coalitions, espionage, weapons development, invasions, propaganda, and competitive technological development, which included the space race. The conflict included costly defense spending, a massive conventional and nuclear arms race, and numerous proxy wars; the two superpowers never fought one another directly.”


Problems in Indonesia Disturb Peace of World:British and Dutch Face Issues Arising From Latest Nationalist Movements
POLYZOIDES. Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File). Los Angeles, Calif.:Oct 29, 1945. p. 8 (1 pp.)

COMMUNIST LEADER CONFERS IN HANKOW:Mao Tse-tang, Head of Former Chinese Soviet, Discusses Role of Reds in Regime
Wireless to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.:Jan 8, 1938. p. 6 (1 pp.)

British Papers Hit U.S. China Policy:Fears Set Forth About Strain on Anglo-American Partnership
Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File). Los Angeles, Calif.:Jan 3, 1950. p. 4 (1 pp.)

President Kennedy Assassinated

The death of a current president or honorable figure in society has always greatly affected the American public throughout history. Like President Lincoln’s assassination in the late 19th century, the public was shocked and in dismay after hearing news of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas, Texas on November 22 1963. Many of the early newspapers covered the sadness that swept the nation after they had heard the shocking news and were eager to find the person suspected of the crime. The Los Angeles Times article “Johnson Takes Oath: Dallas Assassin Kills President” published photos of crowds in awe with captions describing “shock and sorrow women gather to watch televised news of President Kennedy’s assassination before the window of a downtown shop. Their faces reflect the shock and sorrow expressed by Los Angeles millions when they heard of loss of the nation’s president under historically tragic circumstances”. The New York Times later published an article, “Leftist Accused”, explaining that a man by the name of Harry Oswald was suspected as President Kennedy’s assassin after a scuffle between an officer in a theater a while after, later accusing him of the crime. The article then claims that he had shot the president from a building saying “The police said at least six witnesses placed Oswald in the building at the time of the assassination.” However, they do not explicitly say who those six witnesses were. Later, the New York Times reports and conversation with Captain Fritz, when “asked whether Oswald had been linked with the assassination, the officer replied: he doesn’t admit it- we have some more work to do on that case” as if already committing him of the crime. In the time when objectivity in journalism was questioned and critics claiming it was distorted, journalists tried hard to get the facts and report the truth as much as they could, or sometimes as much they were provided by other news sources and officials. But there’s no question that the news media made use of the publics reaction by making articles of sorrow around the nation. Were newspapers trying to make sales by publishing headlines and articles the nation could relate to and sensationalizing the situation? It might have been hard enough for the public to take in with all the constant coverage. Take for instance the attack on the twin towers in New York City on September 11 2001, many news media early on covered how people were reacting by showing people weeping hysterically while playing the incident on a loop at first. Later on, they would provide as much information as they were given regarding who was involved, why it happened and so forth. President Kennedy’s assassination was hard for the nation to take in, as seen with articles claiming he was a Great President, and no one could argue that the nation was not affected by losing a young leader many believed in. For journalism at the time, skepticism and objectivity on who killed the president was very important. By putting clues, eyewitness reports, and official reports together, journalists were somehow able to find the person responsible for John F. Kennedy’s death.


By TOM WICKER Special to The New York Times. . "Gov. Connally Shot; Mrs. Kennedy Safe :President Is Struck Down by a Rifle Shot From Building on Motorcade Route-- Johnson, Riding Behind, Is Unhurt Suspect Captured After Scuffle Priests Administer Last Rites Johnson Embraces Mrs. Kennedy Resuscitation Attempted In Operating Room 40 Minutes Kennedys Hailed at Breakfast Approaching 3-Street Underpass Rumors Spread at Trade Mart Mrs. Kennedy's Reaction Eyewitness Describes Shooting Tour by Mrs. Kennedy Unusual. " New York Times (1857-Current file) [New York, N.Y.] 23 Nov. 1963,1.

By GLADWIN HILL Special to The New York Times. . "LEFTIST ACCUSED :Figure in a Pro-Castro Group Is Charged-- Policeman Slain Worked in Warehouse Leftist Charged With Murder in Assasination of Kennedy and Policeman's Death PRISONER LINKED TO CASTRO GROUP He Is Subdued in Theater --Ex-Marine Defected to Soviet and Returned Appears in Line-Up State Has Jurisdiction. " New York Times (1857-Current file) [New York, N.Y.] 23 Nov. 1963,1. ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005). ProQuest. SFSU, San Francisco, CA. May. 2009

"JOHNSON TAKES OATH :Dallas Assassin Kills President. " Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif.] 23 Nov. 1963,1-2. ProQuest Historical Newspapers Los Angeles Times (1881 - 1986). ProQuest. SFSU, San Francisco, CA. May. 2009

The Great War Finally Over

As the American nation was head deep in a bloody world war in the early 20th century, the idea of a final end brought many Americans overwhelming relief that life will once again be at peace. When the war finally ended in November 11 1918, the early news coverage joined in the celebration and provided the public with needed information on the resolution of the war. The San Francisco Chronicle published an article with a huge bold headline saying “Great War Over” and describes San Francisco shouting in joy. As the associated press provided the great news to the nation, the article described “It was just like New Years eve. Everybody was happy. Old men and young women and young women and old men marched side by side.” The New York Times article “War Ends at 6 O’clock” declared the official surrender of the German army saying the “State department announced at 2:45 O’clock this morning that Germany had signed.. the announce was made verbally by an official of the state department.. Immediate retirement of the German military forces from France, Belgium and Alsace-Lorraine”. During a time when journalists and the public questioned the democratic market, objectivity had become important in the news media and American journalism. The victory made the nation come together and give people hope that American life will become better, and the newspapers cashed in with this great news. Most of the American papers at the time made use of people’s reaction and human emotion early on when the public heard of the news by showing photos of celebration in cities throughout the nation. While much news coverage did explain the details of the resolution and Germanys surrender, the news media was eager to get America’s side of the story. While there still was coverage on the other side of the end, Germany’s recovery as well as the other European countries, the American papers provided more stories of their perspective and their total victory. The San Francisco Chronicles article made such lines including “The associated press flashed the news that the greatest war of history has ended in the greatest victory for democracy and humanity of all time”. Another New York Times article “Nation Rejoices at War’s End” also tagged along with phrases like “What was true of New York was true of the nation. Throughout the country there were joyous celebrations of the signing of the armistice.” Sure it is okay to celebrate and rejoice but the limited perspectives these particular papers gave people not only strengthened America’s pride as a nation but also excluded the overall sense of humanity and the actual destruction of the war and what our nation actually did to other countries and lives in the war effort. Rather than using Germany’s reaction, these early papers often used American reactions to tell the story. Much like today’s news regarding the war in Iraq, a large amount of people came together in an effort to win another war and the news was quick to strengthen that thought that America will win. Some may say this type of coverage is propaganda to make America look like the best, and others may argue it is natural to do so in your own country. But journalism must be cautious and remember the idea of objectivity and cover all sides of the actual story.


By The Associated Press.. . "WAR ENDS AT 6 O'CLOCK THIS MORNING :The State Department in Washington Made the Announcement at 2:45 o'clock. ARMISTICE WAS SIGNED IN FRANCE AT MIDNIGHT Terms include Withdrawal from Alsace-Lorraine, Disarming and Demobilization of Army and Navy, and Occupation of Strategic Naval and Military Points.. " New York Times (1857-Current file) [New York, N.Y.] 11 Nov. 1918,1. ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005). ProQuest. SFSU, San Francisco, CA. May. 2009

"NATION REJOICES AT WAR'S END; CITY IS JUBILANT :All America, With Pealing Bells and Parades, Celebrates Germany's Defeat. SHUT COURTS AND SCHOOLS Exchanges and Offices Close and Workers by Thousands Acclaim Victory. CITY IS ABLAZE AT NIGHT Salvation Army Holds Solemn Service at Library Steps--Mayor LeadsCity Employes' Demonstration. NATION REJOICES AT WAR'S END Sirens Carry the News. Schools and Offices Closed. Mayor Heads Municipal Parade. Judge Lets Prisoners Go. Service by Salvation Army.. " New York Times (1857-Current file) [New York, N.Y.] 12 Nov. 1918,1-2. ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005). ProQuest. SFSU, San Francisco, CA. May. 2009

"GREAT WAR OVER :CITY SHOUTS ITS JOY IN WELCOME TO PEACE NEWS Bells, Bonfires, Horns and Whistles Acclaim Victory of Heroic Troops of Free Nations ASSOCIATED PRESS GIVES WORD OF WAR'S ENDING Civic Center Is Thronged by Cheering Hosts Who March by Thousands in Great Peace Parade. " San Francisco Chronicle (1869-Current File) [San Francisco, Calif.] 11 Nov. 1918,1-2. ProQuest Historical Newspapers The San Francisco Chronicle (1865-1922). ProQuest. SFSU, San Francisco, CA. May. 2009

The Berlin Wall:

The Washington Post heralded the fall of the Berlin Wall as “the most stunning step since World War II toward ending the East-West division of Europe.” The momentous event occurred November 10, 1989 when a top East German official, faced with political crises, granted free travel to its citizens. One story from The Washington Post and another from USA Today, are two of many that appeared on the front page of many publications’ final edition for that day. These two stories contrast significantly, particularly in regards to their content. It should be noted however that although both stories appeared on each publications’ front page, they strongly differ in length, the Post piece running 1,651 words and USA Today’s piece only 312 words. The piece published by the Post is their only one regarding the wall, whereas USA Today featured many short articles on the issue.

Sources for USA Today’s article consist mainly of U.S. political officials stating their reaction to the news of the wall. The Washington Post also lists several top U.S. officials, but also includes quotes from West Berlin’s mayor, East Germans, Berliners, and several media correspondents. The reason for such great disparity is the content within the Post piece covers more than that of USA Today.

USA Today begins with a somber tone, by mentioning candles and wooden crosses that stand in remembrance of those who attempted to escape to West Berlin, instead of focusing on the joyous celebration as The Washington Post does. USA Today then segues into the highlights of the day, mainly listing the reactions of several U.S. officials. The Washington Post instead begins by stating East Germany’s decision allowing the unregulated traffic of its citizens to West Germany. The article continues with a brief history of the two Germanys, facts regarding the wall and short anecdotes of celebration in Berlin accompanied by quotes from East Germans. A noteworthy element of the Post piece, although not uncommon, is its reference (within the article) to other related stories featured elsewhere in the paper.

The Washington Post segues into a discussion of East German political infrastructure. The Post mentions a conference to be held in a then nearing December, where the communist government would consider a series of proposals and demands made by the party. Also mentioned was the resignation of the 44-member cabinet from the People’s Chamber legislature, paving the way for new governance. The Washington Post concludes with that although travel may have been significantly deregulated, the East German leader, Egon Krenz stands in opposition to free elections as he says he believes that free elections have always existed.

The Clinton Impeachment:

William Clinton was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice December 20, 1998. The story appeared on front pages throughout the nation in most publications’ final editions that day. The Washington Post and The New York Times both featured this story on their front page each varying in length, 3,145 words and 1,978 words respectively. Both articles clearly stated the results of then Republican-led House decision on enacting the first article of impeachment: 228 to 206.

Although a minuscule difference, The Washington Post lists the time of the House’s decision at 1:25 p.m., whereas The New York Times gives the time as 1:22 p.m. Otherwise, the facts given throughout each article are consistent. Each publication touch on Clinton’s affairs with Monica Lewinsky and make evident that he is the second president in national history to be impeached, the first being Andrew Johnson. One difference worth pointing out is The New York Times comparisons between this impeachment and the near impeachment of past President Nixon.

From a stylistic standpoint, the two pieces strongly deviate. The article from The New York Times is a very fact of the matter piece, telling the facts as they are and making nothing more of what the impeachment really was. The Washington Post however, seems to tell the story rather theatrically. Through their word-choice The Post gives a dramatic edge to the story, making the information more interesting to the reader. As an example The Washington Post wrote:

“At 1:25 p.m. on a day of constitutional drama and personal trauma, the Republican –led House voted 228 to 206 largely along party lines to approve the first article of impeachment accusing the Democratic president of perjury before a grand jury.”

Opposed to a similar sentence written by The New York Times:

“At 1:22 P.M., the House of Representatives approved, 228 to 206, the first article of impeachment, accusing Mr. Clinton of perjury for misleading a Federal grand jury last Aug. 17 about the nature of his relationship with a White House intern, Monica S. Lewinsky.”

The Post and Times pieces are clear to state the time, vote totals and reasons for Clinton’s impeachment, however unlike the Times, the Post uses words such as drama, trauma and accusing to accentuate its sentences. In this way, The Washington Post’s writing-style makes the piece significantly more interesting to read than The New York Times’ version.

Another difference between stories, are the sources each provide. The Washington Post states each source’s party affiliation and features primarily republicans from both the House and Senate whereas The New York Times offers a wider array of both democrats and republicans in both the House and Senate and does not mention party ties.

America's Great Invention

“It is a harnessing of the basic power of the universe,” said President Harry S. Truman in “outmost solemnity,” referring in an official announcement to the atomic bomb that was dropped on the city of Hiroshima, Japan, just hours earlier. As was reported in a New York Times article entitled “Our Answer To Japan” on August 7, 1945, this attack was “what every military man has dreamed of, what Hitler frantically searched for to the last, what thousands of scientists worked in a mad race in the rival laboratories—the decisive ‘secret weapon,’ the magic key to victory (…).” Indeed, the ‘key to victory’ in World War II had been found by the Americans. The fact that we “beat” the Germans and the British to building this destructive bomb, and dropped it on a “major army base” in Japan, was hailed by the government and the press as the decisive factor that brought a speedy end to the war. Unfortunately, this “victory” was deliberately emphasized and glorified by American newspapers all around the nation as a scientific breakthrough, and thus related to the American public in a positive light—but in actually, the public was left in the dark about Hiroshima for many years to come.

When considering the immediate impact, as well as the painful aftermath of the atomic bomb, it is hard to believe that the American press, which has always prided itself as a free and unpartisan institution, did not question the information that they were fed by the government. Based on the information that was printed in many reputable newspapers at the time, notably the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, the American public was force-fed all that they were supposed to believe about the attack—that it was a fair and justified response to Pearl Harbor, that only military bases were bombed and not residential areas, and that using the atomic bomb on civilians was the only way to end the war with the “barbarians,” or the Japanese (“Our Answer to Japan”).

What struck me the most about the coverage by the New York Times was the blatant acceptance of statements, and their validity, as they were released by the government. In order to justify its interests and the killing of thousands of civilians, the government knew exactly what to tell the public in order to keep the popular opinion high. The attack on Hiroshima was made out to be a military feat, as President Truman assured the American people that it was “an enemy army base” that immediately went up in an “impenetrable cloud of dust and smoke (“Our Answer to Japan”). Had the press challenged this information, they would have accurately reported that the bomb had mostly destroyed residential areas. However, the most ironic article that was printed in the Times on August 7 was entitled “Heard Round the World.” In this article, the author states that in regards to the “exploitation” of the atomic bomb, all that the American public had to fear was “a totalitarian government, (that) by suppressing information and free discussion, by feeding its own people on a propaganda of lies, will prevent its people from knowing the facts until it is too late, while it plots secretly against the rest of the world.” Ironically, this “secret plotting” is exactly what the United States government did—after all, they certainly did not announce that they would be attacking Japan with a nuclear weapon. On the same day that this article was printed (August 7, 1945), the Times’ Jay Walz reported that the atomic bomb was build in three laboratories around the country and that the employees of the plants did not even know what they were working on, because it was top secret (“Atom Bombs Made in 3 Hidden ‘Cities’”).

While the New York Times printed the technicalities of this great “breakthrough” invention and how it would change the future—Instead of focusing on the immediate effects that radiation could have and how many lives were lost in Japan—the Los Angeles Times did not offer more in-depth coverage of the attack, either. Instead of reporting on the government’s actions, the Los Angeles Times spread propaganda on the morning of the attack (August 6, 1945), reporting that “some Jap spies have been caught re-handed in America. Others have hired people of other nationalities (…) to do their work.” This kind of reporting was clearly an attempt to incite fear and suspicion into the hearts and minds of the American people. By pointing the finger of blame at foreigners, the public was distracted from questioning the actions of their own government.

“Loose Talk Reaches Japs,” Los Angeles Times, 6 August 1945, pg. 1
“New Age Ushered,” New York Times, 7 August 1945, pg. 1
Jay Walz, “Atom Bombs Made in 3 Hidden ‘Cities,’” New York Times, 7 August 1945, pg. 1
“Heard Round the World,” New York Times, 7 August 1945, pg. 22
“Our Answer to Japan,” New York Times, 7 August 1945, pg. 22

A "Mystery Illness" Affects Homosexuals

The early 1980s were years marked by unexplainable deaths and silent suffering that resulted from a mysterious disease, leaving doctors shrugging their shoulders and the mainstream press open to speculation. What is now known as AIDS/HIV, a serious condition that weakens the body’s immune system, was perceived as a certain death sentence in 1981 that seemed to have had infested itself in a particular community—homosexuals. There were a lot of misconceptions, rumors, and stereotypes attached to the epidemic as it was first brought to the public by the mainstream press in 1981. Partly due to lack of knowledge, but also because of sloppy reporting, these false notions have placed an irreversible stigma on the gay community that sadly prevails to this very day.

The disease first was reported on by the media after five young men from Los Angeles came to the attention of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for symptoms that would later mark the onset of AIDS. All of these five men had a past of drug use and homosexual contact. On June 5, 1981, the CDC published a report called “Pneumocystis Pneumonia—Los Angles,” that profiled the men in a publication known as Morbidity and Morality Weekly Report. This report was followed by a wave of mainstream media reports that instilled fear about this deadly disease in the public and coined terms such as “gay cancer.” As Aids was claiming lives and isolating its victims, the mainstream press published articles based on much speculation. Factual errors common as little was known about the disease at the time, and a lot of the articles printed in 1981 had a very moralistic tone that shunned and blamed homosexuality for the sudden outbreak.

The term “gay cancer” was printed by the New York Times on July 3, 1981, and as a result stigmatized an entire community of homosexual men, and falsely portrayed the nature of the disease. This article was entitled “Rare Cancer Seen in 41 Homosexuals,” and erred in much of its reporting. First of all, the article equated the AIDS virus with Kaposi’s sarcoma, which is a disease in which cancer cells develop in the tissues under the skin or mucous membranes. While Kaposi’s sarcoma can be a condition that results after the immune system is weaken by AIDS, it is not the same thing. Furthermore, the article reported that “doctors said that most cases had involved homosexual men who have had multiple and frequent sexual encounters with different partners, as many as 10 sexual encounters each night up to four times a week.” This in turn stigmatized homosexuals as being promiscuous and insinuated that their “immoral acts” spread the disease. Fear, confusion, and prejudice became a result of this kind of reporting for many years.

AIDS did not have a face until several years later, when actor Rock Hudson died of the disease in 1985. On October 2, 1985, the CBC Radio made a special broadcast in honor of Hudson, who shed light on the disease. The CBC report stated that in coming out to the public as having AIDS, Hudson “opened the public’s eyes to this disease,“ as well as prompting the government in funding AIDS research. There was a lot of coverage on Hudson’s “mystery illness”—however, these later reports were much more factual as more was learned about the disease.

Lawrence K. Altman, “Rare Cancer Seen in 41 Homosexuals,” New York Times, 3 July 1981.
Arthur Hiller, “Rock Hudson Dies of Aids,” CBC Radio Broadcast, 2 October 1985.
National Minority Aids Council, “An Epidemic Begins,”

Deadly AIDS Disease Identified

Aids or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is an incurable disease that breaks down the human immune system causing certain death from even the mildest ills such as the common cold. It was first identified in the United States in 1981 by some gay men. This led to widespread speculation that the disease was cause by homosexuals relations, even being called Gay-Related Immune Deficiency or GRID in the early days of it. The news coverage of the AIDS outbreak essentially brought the effects and truths to the public and it, to no surprise, cause panic and worry throughout the entire world. In a 1981 news article entitled, "Mystery disease kills Homosexuals," it reflects the uncertainty and speculation it caused. For example, "Researchers claim that their findings are 'part of a nationwide epidemic of immunodeficiency among male homosexuals'. Doctors are unsure of the cause of the epidemic which is carried in semen and other body secretions."

Since 1981, new developments, updates, and stories have arisen from once which was known as the "mystery disease" to a worldwide pandemic. In 1982, the year after AIDS was first identified in the United States, a Washington Post article written by Cristine Russell wrote about AIDS being found linked to blood transfusions, while only a year before it was only known to be transferred through sexual contact, mainly between homosexual men. Russell wrote, "The initial outbreak among homosexuals, who now comprise about 75 percent of the total cases, suggested the disease was spread through sexual contact. The new reports add that it may also spread through contaminated blood products."

Throughout the 1980s, AIDS was shaped in the news media in really only two ways. Some articles shaped the story as a catastrophe that would eventually doom the entire planet. In an 1985 Newsweek article entitled '' AIDS: A Growing Pandemic?" the writers documenting a meeting that included representatives from all around searching for answer on combating the virus. They writers wrote, "last week more than 2,000 public-health experts from around the world gathered in Atlanta for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's international symposium on the deadly disease, the largest gathering of its kind ever held. And it became clear that AIDS has become one of the most sinister infectious diseases of this or any other century, threatening the world's general population and assuming the proportions of what epidemiologists call a 'pandemic'."

Other articles shaped the story with a sense of hope or assuring for the public that an answer may soon come. For example in a 1986 New York Times article entitled "Don't Panic, Yet, Over Aids" this particular writer angled the story as something serious, but not entirely hopeless and even encouraged readers to seek awareness and educate themselves on the disease, "Even if AIDS stays confined to the present risk groups, there's a strong case for educating everyone how to guard against the virus - essentially by using condoms and by avoiding anal intercourse and unclean needles. But crash programs can be overzealous, like the swine flu vaccination program against an epidemic that never arrived.With the homosexual community acting to educate and protect itself, the prime target for preventive efforts remains intravenous drug addicts. There is no proof yet that the general public is equally at risk. To prevent further spread of AIDS, the smartest thing to do now is to resist exaggerated fears of heterosexual transmission - and to fund more drug treatment programs."

The coverage AIDS in the 1980s created fear and panic among the public and created many rumors, speculations, and myths to how it started, is transferred, and how it is prevented. It was something that no one was prepared for and the news was a main vehicle to give the world any sort of precautions, updates, treatments, and revelations concerning the disease. The media coverage of the AIDS virus was framed similarly to the recent swine flu pandemic uncovered recently, with several people including journalists not knowing the facts and just reporting on speculation.


1. "Don't Panic, Yet, Over Aids" by a New York Times editorial desk writer, November 7, 1986.,A,H&startDocNo=126&resultsUrlKey=29_T6518404082&cisb=22_T6518417879&treeMax=true&treeWidth=0&csi=6742&docNo=129

2.Newsweek, April 29, 1985, UNITED STATES EDITION, MEDICINE; Pg. 71, 1012 words, MATT CLARK with VINCENT COPPOLA in Atlanta.,A,H&startDocNo=26&resultsUrlKey=29_T6518404082&cisb=22_T6518417879&treeMax=true&treeWidth=0&csi=5774&docNo=47

3.The Washington Post, December 10, 1982, Friday, Final Edition, First Section; A1, 1070 words, By Cristine Russell, Washington Post Staff Writer.,A,H&startDocNo=1&resultsUrlKey=29_T6518404082&cisb=22_T6518417879&treeMax=true&treeWidth=0&csi=8075&docNo=1

4. "Mystery Disease Kills Homosexuals" unknown writer or publisher (1981).