The suppression tale makes for a classic lesson about the hazards for news organizations in yielding to government pressure and withholding vital if delicate info, seemingly since of national security implications. When government officials invoke nationwide security, publishing secret material becomes a thorny matter for news outlets.
This short article about the New york city Times and Bay of Pigs reporting is republished here with approval from The Discussion. This content is shared here since the subject might interest Snopes readers; it does not, however, represent the work of Snopes editors or fact-checkers.
Additionally, there is no proof Kennedy knew ahead of time about the Times report published April 7, 1961, a front-page post about intrusion preparations that lies at the heart of the suppression misconception.
Kennedy and British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan were together at the time Kennedy was rumored to have actually called editors at The New York Times.JFK Presidential LibraryWidely known, often retold
Sixty years back, The New York Times is stated to have actually muzzled itself in reporting about prepare for the CIA-backed Bay of Pigs intrusion, making a long lasting specific niche of dishonor in the history of American journalism.
The April 7 post was written by Tad Szulc, a veteran foreign correspondent who reported from Miami that an attack by CIA-trained Cuban rebels impended.
There is no proof that Kennedy or anybody in his administration lobbied or encouraged the Times to hold back or considerably dilute that story, as numerous accounts have declared.
As I talk about in “Getting It Wrong: Debunking the best Myths in American Journalism,” the Times did not suppress reports about the approaching invasion, which was released April 17, 1961, and stopped working to remove Cuban totalitarian Fidel Castro.
Yet when it comes to the Times and the Bay of Pigs, the practical demonstration is not pertinent.
In reality, the Times reports about preparations for the assault were detailed and typically prominently displayed on the front page. Readers might tell what was coming, if not always in particular information.
Had the Times resisted the demands of President John F. Kennedy, had it printed all it knew about the pending invasion of Cuba, the suppression tale goes, the unfortunate attack might have been scrapped and the U.S. spared a diplomacy ordeal.
The Bay of Pigs-New York Times suppression tale has been cited in books, papers, on cable news shows and in other places as a study in self-censorship and its consequences.
Thats because the suppression story is exaggerated. Its a media-driven misconception– one of lots of widely known tales about the news media which, under examination, dissolve as fanciful or incorrect.
Judicious and modest edits
Disagreement emerged amongst Times editors internally about trimming to a single column the heading that accompanied Szulcs story. A headline covering four columns had actually been planned.
Its extremely unlikely that Kennedy made a private appeal to anyone at the Times on April 6, 1961, the day Szulcs dispatch was filed, modified and prepared for publication. White House logs show no telephone calls to Catledge or other senior Times executives on April 6, according to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston.
They reasoned that “impending” was more prediction than truth. The managing editor, Turner Catledge, later on composed that he “was hesitant to specify the CIA when we may not have the ability to record the charge.” The term “United States authorities” was replaced. Both decisions were modest and judicious.
The size of a paper headline generally corresponds to a posts relative significance. A four-column heading would have indicated “a story of remarkable value,” former Times press reporter and editor Harrison E. Salisbury kept in mind in “Without Fear or Favor: The New York Times and Its Times,” an experts account. Four-column display was infrequent, although not unheard of, on the Times front pages of the early 1960s.
” Anti-Castro Units Trained To Fight At Florida Bases,” the headline read.
According to subsequent accounts by senior editors at the Times, references to imminence and the CIA were removed before the short article was published.
Without a referral to the invasions imminence, a four-column heading was hard to justify. Even so, Szulcs lengthy short article got popular placement at the top of the Times front page.
Little opportunity to call
” The federal government in April 1961,” Salisbury wrote, “did not … understand that The Times was going to release the Szulc story although it was aware that The Times and other newsmen were probing in Miami.
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” Most important,” Salisbury included, “The Times had not eliminated Szulcs story … The Times believed it was more vital to publish than to keep. Release it did.”
That left scant chance for him to have called Times executives prior to the newspapers very first edition went to push.
W. Joseph Campbell, Professor of Communication Studies, American University School of Communication
” The first presumption of the [leaders] strategies,” Szulc wrote, “is that an invasion by a freedom army, now in the last stages of training in Central America and in Louisiana, will succeed with the help of an internal uprising in Cuba.”
With that, Szulc broadly explained the goals of an objective that brought 1,400 armed exiles to landing beaches in southwest Cuba.
Their attack was crushed within 3 days.
” The federal government in April 1961,” Salisbury composed, “did not … know that The Times was going to release the Szulc story although it was aware that The Times and other newsmen were probing in Miami.
After publishing Szulcs short article, the Times expanded its reporting about the pending invasion. Its front page of April 9, 1961, for instance, carried a story by Szulc that Cuban exile leaders were trying to reconcile their rivalries while “preparing a thrust” against Castro.
Salisburys “Without Fear or Favor” uses an in-depth discussion about internal deliberations on Szulcs short article and his account is adamant.
One of reporter Tad Szulcs stories for The New York Times prior to the Bay of Pigs invasion.Media Myth Alert, Author providedThe president invested the last half of the afternoon that day playing host to Harold Macmillan, the British prime minister, on a cruise aboard the presidential luxury yacht down the Potomac River. It was nearly 6:30 p.m. when Kennedy returned to the White House.
The run-up to the Bay of Pigs was no one-off story. Indeed, the ongoing nature of the Times pre-invasion protection is nearly never ever noted when the suppression misconception is told.
The term “United States officials” was substituted. The size of a newspaper headline generally corresponds to a short articles relative significance. A four-column headline would have signified “a story of remarkable importance,” former Times press reporter and editor Harrison E. Salisbury kept in mind in “Without Fear or Favor: The New York Times and Its Times,” an insiders account. Four-column screen was irregular, although not unheard of, on the Times front pages of the early 1960s.