Stephen Kinzer

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Stephen Kinzer
Stephen Kinzer, American author, journalist and academic.jpg
Born (1951-08-04) August 4, 1951 (age 68)
Known forAmerican author

Stephen Kinzer (born August 4, 1951) is an American author, journalist and academic. A former New York Times correspondent, he has published several books, and currently writes for several newspapers and news agencies.

<i>The New York Times</i> Daily broadsheet newspaper based in New York City

The New York Times is an American newspaper based in New York City with worldwide influence and readership. Founded in 1851, the paper has won 127 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper. The Times is ranked 18th in the world by circulation and 3rd in the U.S.


Reporting career

During the 1980s, Kinzer covered revolutions and social upheaval in Central America, and wrote his first book, Bitter Fruit, about military coups and destabilization in Guatemala during the 1950s. In 1990, The New York Times appointed Kinzer to head its Berlin bureau, [1] from which he covered Eastern and Central Europe as they emerged from Soviet bloc. Kinzer was the New York Times chief in the newly established bureau in Istanbul (Turkey) from 1996 to 2000. [1]

Guatemala Republic in Central America

Guatemala, officially the Republic of Guatemala, is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, Belize and the Caribbean to the northeast, Honduras to the east, El Salvador to the southeast and the Pacific Ocean to the south. With an estimated population of around 16.6 million, it is the most populated country in Central America. Guatemala is a representative democracy; its capital and largest city is Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción, also known as Guatemala City.

Berlin Capital of Germany

Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,748,148 (2018) inhabitants make it the second most populous city proper of the European Union after London. The city is one of Germany's 16 federal states. It is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg, and contiguous with Potsdam, Brandenburg's capital. The two cities are at the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region, which is, with about six million inhabitants and an area of more than 30,000 km², Germany's third-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions.

Eastern Bloc 20th-century group of socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe

The Eastern Bloc was the group of communist states of Central and Eastern Europe, East Asia, and Southeast Asia under the hegemony of the Soviet Union (USSR) during the Cold War (1947–1991) in opposition to the capitalist Western Bloc. Generally, in Western Europe the term Eastern Bloc referred to the USSR and its East European satellite states in the Comecon ; in Asia, the Soviet Bloc comprised the Mongolian People's Republic, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the Lao People's Democratic Republic and the People's Republic of Kampuchea, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and the People's Republic of China. In the Americas, the Communist Bloc included the Caribbean Republic of Cuba, since 1961.

Upon returning to the United States, Kinzer became the newspaper's culture correspondent, based in Chicago, as well as teaching at Northwestern University. [1] Kinzer then took up residence in Boston and began teaching journalism and United States foreign policy at Boston University. He has written several non-fiction books about Turkey, Central America, Iran, the US overthrow of foreign governments from the late 19th century to the present, as well as Rwanda's recovery from genocide.

Northwestern University Private research university in Illinois, United States

Northwestern University is a private research university based in Evanston, Illinois, United States, with other campuses located in Chicago and Doha, Qatar, and academic programs and facilities in Miami, Florida; Washington, D.C.; and San Francisco, California. Along with its selective undergraduate programs, Northwestern is known for its Kellogg School of Management, Pritzker School of Law, Feinberg School of Medicine, Bienen School of Music, Medill School of Journalism, and McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Boston University private research university in Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Boston University (BU) is a private research university in Boston, Massachusetts. The university is nonsectarian, but has been historically affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

Rwanda Country in Africa

Rwanda, officially the Republic of Rwanda, is a country in Central and East Africa and one of the smallest countries on the African mainland. Located a few degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rwanda is in the African Great Lakes region and is highly elevated; its geography is dominated by mountains in the west and savanna to the east, with numerous lakes throughout the country. The climate is temperate to subtropical, with two rainy seasons and two dry seasons each year.

Kinzer also contributes columns to The New York Review of Books , [2] The Guardian , [3] and The Boston Globe . [4] He is a Senior Fellow in International and Public Affairs at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. [5]

<i>The New York Review of Books</i> Magazine

The New York Review of Books is a semi-monthly magazine with articles on literature, culture, economics, science and current affairs. Published in New York City, it is inspired by the idea that the discussion of important books is an indispensable literary activity. Esquire called it "the premier literary-intellectual magazine in the English language." In 1970 writer Tom Wolfe described it as "the chief theoretical organ of Radical chic".

<i>The Guardian</i> British national daily newspaper

The Guardian is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian, and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers The Observer and The Guardian Weekly, the Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group, owned by the Scott Trust. The trust was created in 1936 to "secure the financial and editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity and to safeguard the journalistic freedom and liberal values of the Guardian free from commercial or political interference". The trust was converted into a limited company in 2008, with a constitution written so as to maintain for The Guardian the same protections as were built into the structure of the Scott Trust by its creators. Profits are reinvested in journalism rather than distributed to owners or shareholders.

<i>The Boston Globe</i> newspaper

The Boston Globe is an American daily newspaper founded and based in Boston, Massachusetts, since its creation by Charles H. Taylor in 1872. The newspaper has won a total of 26 Pulitzer Prizes as of 2016, and with a total paid circulation of 245,824 from September 2015 to August 2016, it is the 25th most read newspaper in the United States. The Boston Globe is the oldest and largest daily newspaper in Boston.


Kinzer's reporting on Central America was criticized by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky in their book Manufacturing Consent (1988), which cited Edgar Chamorro ("selected by the CIA as press spokesman for the contras") in his interview by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting describing Kinzer as:

Edward Samuel Herman was an American economist, media scholar and social critic. Often associated with Noam Chomsky, Herman is best known for his media criticism, in particular his propaganda model developed in conjunction with Chomsky. He held an appointment as Professor Emeritus of finance at the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania and a media analyst with a specialty in corporate and regulatory issues as well as political economy. He also taught at Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.

Noam Chomsky American linguist, philosopher and activist

Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, and political activist. Sometimes called "the father of modern linguistics", Chomsky is also a major figure in analytic philosophy and one of the founders of the field of cognitive science. He holds a joint appointment as Institute Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and laureate professor at the University of Arizona, and is the author of more than 100 books on topics such as linguistics, war, politics, and mass media. Ideologically, he aligns with anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism.

<i>Manufacturing Consent</i> book by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media is a 1988 book by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, in which the authors propose that the mass communication media of the U.S. "are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function, by reliance on market forces, internalized assumptions, and self-censorship, and without overt coercion", by means of the propaganda model of communication. The title derives from the phrase "the manufacture of consent," employed in the book Public Opinion (1922), by Walter Lippmann (1889–1974).

like an errand boy, building up those stories that fit in with Reagan's agenda—one day it's the church, the next day it's the Miskitos, then the private sector. In the last two weeks I've seen eight articles by Kinzer that say exactly what the White House wants. Kinzer always raises questions about Sandinista intentions, whether they're truly democratic, and so on. When you analyse his articles you see he's just responding what the White House is saying. [6]

Chomsky later expanded on this in an interview published in the 2002 collection Understanding Power :

one of the things that Edward Herman and I did in Manufacturing Consent was to just look at the sources that reporters go to. In a part that I wrote, I happened to be discussing Central America, so I went through fifty articles by Stephen Kinzer of The New York Times beginning in October 1987, and just asked: whose opinions did he try to get? Well, it turns out that in fifty articles he did not talk to one person in Nicaragua who was pro-Sandinista. Now, there's got to be somebody—you know, Ortega's mother, somebody's got to be pro-Sandinista. Nope, in fact, everybody he quotes is anti-Sandinista. [Daniel Ortega was the Sandinista President.] Well, there are polls, which the Times won't report, and they show that all of the opposition parties in Nicaragua combined had the support of only 9 percent of the population. But they have 100 percent of Stephen Kinzer—everyone he's found supports the opposition parties, 9 percent of the population. That's in fifty articles. [7]

Kinzer has since that time criticized what he regards as an interventionist foreign policy of the United States toward Latin America and more recently the Middle East. [8] In Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change From Hawaii to Iraq, published in 2006, Kinzer critiqued U.S. foreign policy as overly interventionist. [9] In a 2010 interview with Imagineer Magazine, he stated:

The effects of U.S. intervention in Latin America have been overwhelming negative. They have had the effect of reinforcing brutal and unjust social systems and crushing people who are fighting for what we would actually call 'American values.' In many cases, if you take Chile, Guatemala, or Honduras for examples, we actually overthrew governments that had principles similar to ours and replaced those democratic, quasi-democratic, or nationalist leaders with people who detest everything the United States stands for. [10]

In his 2008 book A Thousand Hills: Rwanda's Rebirth and the Man who Dreamed It, Kinzer credits President Paul Kagame for what he describes as the peace, development, and stability in Rwanda in the years after the Rwandan genocide, and criticizes the leaders of Rwanda before the genocide, such as Juvenal Habyarimana.[ citation needed ]

In an opinion piece, he wrote in 2016 that Aleppo had been liberated from the violent militants who had ruled it for three years, but were liberated by Assad's forces. However, the American public was told "convoluted nonsense" about the war. He further noted: "At the recent debate in Milwaukee, Hillary Clinton claimed that United Nations peace efforts in Syria were based on "an agreement I negotiated in June of 2012 in Geneva." The precise opposite is true. In 2012 Secretary of State Clinton joined Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Israel in a successful effort to kill Kofi Annan's UN peace plan because it would have accommodated Iran and kept Assad in power, at least temporarily. No one on the Milwaukee stage knew enough to challenge her." [11] Secretary Clinton was referencing the Geneva I Conference on Syria, during which principles and guidelines for a power transition were agreed to by the major powers. [12]

In April 2018, he added:

According to the logic behind American strategy in the Middle East — and the rest of the world — one of our principal goals should be to prevent peace or prosperity from breaking out in countries whose governments are unfriendly to us. That outcome in Syria would have results we consider intolerable. [13]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 "Stephen Kinzer". Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.
  2. "Stephen Kinzer". Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  3. "Stephen Kinzer". Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  4. "Stephen Kinzer - The Boston Globe". Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  5. "Stephen Kinzer - Watson Institute". Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  6. Chomsky, Noam; Herman, Edweard S. (2002). Manufacturing Consent. Pantheon Books. ISBN   978-0375714498.
  7. Chomsky, Noam (2002). Schoeffel, John; Mitchell, R. (eds.). Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky. The New Press. p. 25.
  8. Interview about the United States and Iran, Democracy Now!, March 3, 2008 (video, audio, and print transcript)
  9. "Author Kinzer Charts 'Century of Regime Change'". NPR. April 5, 2006.
  10. [ dead link ]
  11. The media are misleading the public on Syria February 18, 2016, The Boston Globe
  12. "The United Nations in the Heart of Europe - News & Media - Action Group for Syria - Final Communiqué - 30 June 2012". July 10, 2012.
  13. Kinzer, Stephen. "The US doesn't even care about Syria — but we keep the war going - The Boston Globe".


  1. "The True Flag - Stephen Kinzer - Macmillan". US Macmillan.

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