Thursday, December 19, 2013

If You Believe the Goverment, ‘You’re Stupid’

Jon Schwarz
Consortium News
Everyone who watched John Miller’s “60 Minutes” segment on the NSA should follow it up with this story involving Morley Safer — who, at 82 years old, is still a correspondent at “60 Minutes”:Longtime CBS News correspondent Morley Safer
In August, 1965 Safer appeared in what became one of most famous TV segments of the Vietnam War, showing U.S. troops setting fire to all the huts in a Vietnamese village with Zippo lighters and flamethrowers.

A year later in 1966, Safer wrote an article about what he’d seen firsthand during a visit to Vietnam by Arthur Sylvester, then Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs (i.e., the head of Pentagon PR). Sylvester met with reporters for U.S. news outlets at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon:

There was general opening banter, which Sylvester quickly brushed aside. He seemed anxious to take a stand — to say something that would jar us. He said:

“I can’t understand how you fellows can write what you do while American boys are dying out here,” he began. Then he went on to the effect that American correspondents had a patriotic duty to disseminate only information that made the United States look good.

A network television correspondent said, “Surely, Arthur, you don’t expect the American press to be the handmaidens of government.”

“That’s exactly what I expect,” came the reply.

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