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New York Times Reactions to the
Election of Salvador Allende

by
William Cummings

On September 4, 1907, Salvador Allende Gossens won a plurality in the Chilean presidential election. Allende was the candidate of a coalition of leftist parties including the Communists and Socialists called Unidad Popular (UP), and the first Mearxist head-of-state to be freely elected anywhere in the world. The hostility of the United States Government and several U.S. corporations toward the 1970 election of Salvador Allende to the Chilean presidency has been well documented.1 Authors have paid much less attention to the U.S. media's reactions to Allende's election. The relative absence of such media analysis is surprising because the U.S. public relies so heavily on the mainstream press for information, particularly regarding international issues.

An investigation of the mainstream U.S. media's response to Allende's election could reveal a great deal about its ideological position at the time and the degree to which that position influenced its representation of events. Scholars on the left have often claimed that the mainstream U.S. media shares the interests and ideology of U.S. businesses and the U.S. Government. A famous example of such scholarship is Manufacturing Consent, in which Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky present a "propaganda model" of U.S. media behavior. Within this model, "money and power are able to filter out the news fit to print, marginalize dissent, and allow the government and


1. The literature on the Allende years, all of which deals with U.S. policy to some extent, is too extensive to list here. The first chapter in Edy Kaufman, Crisis in Allende's Chile: New Perspectives (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1988), 3-37, provides an excellent overview of official U.S. involvement in Chile, broken down into various governmental organizations and the reactions of private groups such as corporations, banks, and the media to the Allende government. Also see Paul E. Sigmund, The United States and Democracy in Chile (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993), 48-84; William F. Sater, Chile and the United States: Empires in Conflict (Athens, GA and London: The University of Georgia Press, 1990), 159-187. Also see Chile and the United States: Declassified Documents Relating to the Military Coup 1970-1976, [National Security Archive]. Available [Online]: <http://www.gwu.edu/~narchiv> and Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, Covert Action in Chile 1963-1973 [Freedom of Information Electronic Reading Room] (1975). Available [Online]: <http://foia.state.gov/ChruchReport.htm>.
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