Wednesday, May 13, 2009

All I Know Is What I See In The News

On November 2, 1987, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev told a group of his countrymen, "We are moving toward a new world, the world of communism." He added, "We shall never turn off that road."

In the United States, NBC News reported Mr. Gorbachev "concluded that the Soviet Union was moving toward a new world." The vast majority of Americans did not hear the whole quote, nor were they given any hint of Mr. Gorbachev's support for the longtime Soviet goal of a new world of communism.

Was the reporting simply inaccurate? Was there not time to air the whole statement? Did NBC's Moscow correspondent misunderstand and thus misrepresent what Mr. Gorbachev said? Or, as some critics charge, did NBC edit Mr. Gorbachev's remarks to improve his image in the eyes of Americans?

How can you, reading and listening to the news media, know what to believe about the issues of the day? You need to know, after all, what's going on in the world and how to respond. How can you judge what news sources tell you?

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