AUTHORKeever, Beverly Deepe
TITLENews Zero: The New York Times and the Bomb
PUBLISHERCommon Courage Press
CITYMonroe, ME
DATE PUBLISHED2004
ISBN1-56751-282-8


The author Beverly Keever, a professor of journalism and former journalist, presents a case against the New York Times for its collusion with the U.S. government in concealing the harmful effects of atomic bomb production, testing, and use from the public – both the immediate radiation associated with nuclear detonations and long term consequences known to the government. Part 1 examines articles from 1945 to 1962, and mainly uses Times reporter William Laurence as an example. While the fact that Laurence was on the payroll of the government's Manhattan Project while writing a ten-part series about it (for which he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1946) has been previously reported, Keever details the relationship. She argues that it established a pattern where the Times downplayed or ignored radiation dangers, particularly in its coverage of weapons testing in the Pacific from 1946 to 1962 as well as in articles about American Indian country and nuclear weapons facilities up to 2004. This poor performance by the nation's newspaper of record helped keep the public in the dark about radiation damage to Pacific islanders and others. In her conclusion, Keever summarizes how the Times actions throughout the period violated the major principles of responsible journalism and she proposes eight recommendations to avoid gaps in future coverage of controversial topics. Appendix tables list detailed information on U.S. nuclear tests. Her book is a well-documented and valuable addition to books such as Jonathan Weisgall's Operation Crossroads: The Atomic Tests at Bikini Atoll (1994), although it could have used better editing to eliminate repetition.


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