Thursday, November 17, 2005

NYT: "Vietnam Archives Casts a Shadow Across Decades" (Thom Shanker and David Stout)

Spotlight story in the New York Times today is Thom Shanker and David Stout's "Vietnam Archive Casts a Shadow Across Decades" -- which demonstrates, daily paper or not, that it is possible for a historical perspective/subtext to be provided.

A document dump by the National Archives and Records Administration has historians pouring over "50,000 pages of previously classified documents from the Nixon administration that reveals how all of the president's men wrestled with issues that eerily parallel problems facing the Bush administration."

From the documents you learn, among other things, that John R. Brown III and friend of Ted Koppel and war criminal Henry Kissenger grasped the value in press images -- such as the benefits Defense Secretary Melvin R. Laird the "one-time hard liner can earn by playing the dove."

How to manipulate the press? It's all there in the article as Nixon and his cronies wonder how to best spin and what public face to put on. And Shanker and Stout demonstrate that perspective is not a dirty word for a daily paper. It can be provided. Context and perspective (historical) are not necessarily an impossibility due to the natural pressures of putting out a daily paper. The story, as Eli notes, raises the bar for other coverage in the Times.

Providing new details on past events while drawing correlations to today, Thom Shanker and David Stout raise the bar for what's possible in the Times.

Democracy Now! this morning will be addressing, among other topics, Falluja and the use of white phosophorus. (Or white phosophorous -- both spellings are used in print -- depending upon the publication -- to answer Lori's question she e-mailed.)

The e-mail address for this site is (And no, this isn't the last entry this morning.)