You can go back through history and find plenty of examples of reporters putting their heads in the sand or wearing blinders when it comes to various atrocities around the world. Even worse, many have been fooled by out and out propaganda by brutal regimes or helped mask their crimes with their misleading coverage.
Apologist for Stalin, British reporter Walter Duranty managed to win America’s most coveted award for journalism, the Pulitzer prize, for his coverage of Soviet life in the 1930’s.
A Duranty memoirist described a discussion between Moscow correspondents on how to get out the story about the Stalin-made Russian famine. Ralph Barnes, a New York Herald Tribune reporter, asked Duranty what he was going to write. Duranty replied:
Nothing. What are a few million dead Russians in a situation like this? Quite unimportant. This is just an incident in the sweeping historical changes here. I think the entire matter is exaggerated.
And this was at a time when peasants in Ukraine were dying of starvation at the rate of 25,000 a day.
More recently, NBC’s Lester Holt was fooled by North Korean propagandists — giving a glowing report from a ski resort from North Korea’s Masikryong ski resort that looked to be bustling when it was widely known to actually be a ghost town.
For Holt’s late January 2018 broadcast, the North Korean government brought in skiers — wearing identical outfits — and staged the scene, something Holt did not appear to realize.
Whether they are complicit in the cover up like Duranty or duped liked Holt — we must remember to look beyond the surface of reporting that flies in the face of everything we know to be true of dictatorships. Venezuela is another great example or tragedy that’s been masked by underreporting.
What say you SOFREP?