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The Record of the Paper: The New York Times on US Foreign Policy and International Law,1954-2004 Hardcover – 28 Oct 2004

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Verso Books; First Printing edition (28 Oct. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844670198
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844670192
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,958,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Howard Friel is founder and president of Differentiated Information, Inc., an information services company (, and is the author of Dogs of War: The Wall Street Journal and the Right-Wing Campaign Against International Law, 2005. Richard Falk was the Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law and Practice at Princeton University, and since 2002 has been Visiting Professor of Global Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His most recent books include Unlocking the Middle East and The Great Terror War.

About the Author

"There could hardly be a more critical issue today that whether the world will be governed by the rule of law or the unilateral resort to force. This closely argued and penetrating study reviews half a century of increasing contempt for law and preference for force from a dual perspective: US Government policy, and 'journalistic malfeasance with far-reaching implications for constitutionalism in the United States and the rule of law for our country and the world' - no exaggeration, as the authors demonstrate in meticulous detail. The Record of the Paper should be read and pondered carefully, and taken as a call for action by concerned citizens. - Noam Chomsky "Friel and Falk provide a thorough and convincing analysis of how the New York Times advocated for the Iraq invasion, avoiding dissenting views, ignored global opinion and established fact, and dismissed the relevance of international law. Perhaps most importantly, this book frames the shameful coverage of Iraq within the culture of the New York Times, with its consistent endorsement of US foreign policy from Vietnam to Nicaragua, Venezuela to Iraq. Read this book and join the fight for an independent media." - Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marand TOP 100 REVIEWER on 25 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The New York Times has a reputation in the US for high quality reporting. A recent survey indicated that 40% of people surveyed believed the NYT had a liberal bias. The paper's motto is "all the news that's fit to print". This book is a rebuttal of these views. It is important to note that NYT editorial content is carried by local/regional newspapers across the US and therefore reaches millions of people for whom this is probably their only source of foreign affairs reporting.

The authors review NYT reporting over a period of 50 years but by specific events: Iraq, the short-lived overthrow of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Nicaragua & Vietnam. Too often the NYT is seen to more or less re-state the US government view and at times, to me, the standard of reporting and the lack of proper investigation or of even basic, healthy scepticism is frankly shameful. I was staggered to learn that in the course of seventy editorials on the subject of Iraq between September 2001 and March 2003, there was no mention of international law or the UN Charter. With regard to Venezuela, the NYT referred to the removal of Chavez, a democratically elected leader, by a short-lived coup, stating ".... Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator...", without a hint of irony. Worse still, in relation to Iraq, one experienced, Pulitzer-prize winning NYT journalist seems to have been wholly dependent on information from Ahmed Chalabi, a dissident Iraqi, but there doesn't seem to have been any thought that he might not be a reliable source.

There is a particularly good section dealing with Nicaragua, especially in relation to the case against the US lodged in the International Court of Justice.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Outstanding study of how US foreign policy is reported 28 Jan. 2005
By William Podmore - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The New York Times has for the last 50 years refused to consider international law as relevant to US foreign policy. This outstanding book shows how this failure has distorted the Times' news and views and led to regular acceptance of the US state's deceptions.

The authors show how the Times has consistently echoed the US government. For example, it ignored the 1954 Geneva peace accords, reported as fact President Johnson's lies about Vietnamese aggression in the Tonkin Gulf in 1964, backed the illegal US interference in Nicaragua, misreported the 1986 World Court's condemnation of this interference, and denied the US role in the coup attempts against Venezuela's elected President.

Recently, the Times endorsed the illegal Bush/Blair aggression against Iraq, a violation of the UN Charter, which prohibits the use of force. In its 70 editorials on Iraq between 11 September 2001 and 21 March 2003, it never mentioned the UN Charter or international law.

The Times presented Iraqi possession of WMD as fact, ignoring the IAEA's 60 reports showing it had destroyed Iraq's nuclear programme. The Times also ignored the UNMOVIC and IAEA reports that they had inspected eight of the nine suspected WMD sites listed in Blair's September 2002 dossier, and found no evidence of WMD. The Times failed to note that possession of WMD, even if proven, is not a casus belli.

The illegal invasion of Iraq led inevitably to all the other illegalities, the illegal occupation, the killing of more than 100,000 civilians, the illegal detention of 40,000 Iraqis, the systematic abuse and atrocities, the destruction of 70% of Fallujah's homes.

The authors point out that torture thrives where detainees are illegally held in secret without charge or trial, that is, kidnapped. This crime by the US and British leaders led inevitably to breaches of the US Constitution, which forbids cruel and unusual punishment, and of the Geneva Conventions and the 1984 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
27 of 35 people found the following review helpful
who watches the watchmen 30 Nov. 2004
By B. Liang - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In the mainstream newsmedia, the New York Times serves an important watchdog public-intellectual role. Unfortunately, it has not maintained these standards--not now, and not for several decades, it would seem.

Mr. Falk and Friel have written a very timely rebuttal to "all the news that's fit to print"--read it now, and you'll understand how the news and political machines are not so different from one another.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A good and thorough inspection lacking in muscle and sophistication 19 Aug. 2005
By David Liao - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book begins from a very demure and subdued persepective then slowly lashes out with the meticulous research on the part of the authors.

You WILL see a pattern of a co-opted agenda at the New York Times foreign policy desk, but the book refuses to go the extra mile and portray the deeper journalistic and personal conflicts of the offending reporters.

While the book avoids mudslinging about the Times' new questionable real estate acquistions, it also avoids impugning the paper too much. For example, where the author could have and SHOULD have come down hard on the felonious misinformation of Mr. Chalabi, it did not. When it could have covered the greater implications of Iraq or Vietnam and cleared up chronic misconceptions about both conflicts, it failed to and only waved the ideologies of the authors.

If you're a straight shooter, you probably won't like the almost childish way that the authors try to suddenly hammer their point in half a page after subtly pushing it, as if they were unsure of their work. Also, the book's starting point that the New York Times has committed egregious errors while admitting that only the Times is targeted because of its stature in the nation and in the hearts of the authors makes them sound like fans who have been betrayed than sophisticated experts.

All in all, the research itself is among the most extensive on the technical level and will be referenced for years if not decades by ideologues and political analysts alike. The chapter about the recent events in Venezuela is an astounding touch and is actually the highlight of effective research and the government's doublethink tendencies. If you're remotely interested in world events, journalism, or just truth as a whole, try to read at least half of this book. It may take some time, but you'll like it.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A very important book. 7 Jun. 2005
By Dorian Zeller - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I've always tended to trust the New York Times, and I know many other people have as well. It's just always been around, giving us "all the news that's fit to print". It's reliable. But that's why The Record of the Paper is so important. Everyone takes the Times' trustworthiness for granted, but it isn't as trustworthy as we think it is.

I don't know how likely the Times is to change its reporting to include international law, as Friel and Falk request, and so it is important for people to read this book, so that if they are being misinformed about vital issues, at leas they will know it what ways the information is skewed. The book also explains international law in a way that is clear and easy to understand.
18 of 27 people found the following review helpful
liberal media? 29 Nov. 2004
By Jack Roberts - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book. In America, we seem to be dependant on the liberal media, but how do we know that we are getting the whole story? How do we know whether or not they are telling us what we want to hear in order to sell their medium; their product. The New York Times is one of the most highly acclaimed and popularly read newspapers in America. "The Record of the Paper" proposes the idea and the evidence as to why even The New York Times is not exempt from capitalizing off of half the story, or "liberal" propaganda, or hype meant to distract the trusting masses from reality and truth. Intellegently written, "The Record of the Paper" is a book I highly recommend.
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