The Unknown: The Purple Line.
  The story about the U.S. Military using nerve gas on its own, of course, turned out to be probably not true. Ted Turner was practically weeping on TV, with serious remorse. A bunch of people got fired but Peter Arnett—you remember him as our man in Baghdad during the Persian Gulf War—did not. I guess the story was lacking verification, and some of the accounts were proved false. Do you think the U.S. Military would ever do something like that? Of course not. Things like the Tuskegee experiments, sure, but not like that. Stuff like the MK Ultra experiments in which the CIA and Army dosed uninformed (usually black) GI’s with acid and then terrorized them to see whether LSD could be used as a truth serum/counterintelligence tool. That kind of thing rarely goes on in the U.S. Military. Except accidentally. From time to time. Like when they had soldiers rushing towards the atomic blasts in the Nevada desert. Those soldiers volunteered, by the way. They didn’t defect.

One additional irony here, looking back, is that this story’s dismissal came hot on the heels of a Cincinnati Enquirer journalism fiasco. In a weird case of what seems to be almost clearly Big Business (Enquirer) bending to the whim and wishes of Even Bigger Business (Chiquita), Enquirer publishers, who had seemingly, for the first time in the 3 years Scott and Dirk had lived in Cinci, developed a little backbone and gone after locally based company Chiquita for its labor practices in its Third World fiefdoms, disclaimed the entire story on the basis of the fact that some of the evidence the lead reporter used (company voice mail) was illegally obtained. Not that what was said on those tapes was necessarily untrue, but Chiquita is a friend of the Enquirer, people know people in Cincinnati, so a decision was made not only to disclaim the story On The Front Page Three Times@!*! but also to pay the Banana Titan $10 Million. This was all without any litigation. This was just friends greasing friends. Do you know how many copies of The Unknown ten million dollars will buy? A lot.
Audio Button
Bad Press
Read 10/23/98
at The University of Cincinnati
246K RealAudio Clip

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