by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
I have covered war, espionage and intrigue for major news organizations in the United States and around the world, including the New York Times, Newsweek, Time magazine, Reader’s Digest, CBS 60 Minutes, ABC News, Le Monde, L’Express, Le Point, and many others. That was when these organizations still tried to be “mainstream” and did not pull punches, self-censor and lie to protect their political allies.
Only when I was fired by Time in 1994 for investigating a story that threatened President Bill Clinton and many senior officials in his administration did I begin to understand that the mainstream media was dead. …
… I returned to the States after 18 years overseas to work for Congressional Democrat Tom Lantos as a specialist on weapons of mass destruction, and subsequently joined a new investigative team at Time magazine. Sources in the AFL-CIO Machinists Union tipped me off to strange doings at the B-1 bomber plant in Columbus, Ohio, midnight visits by Chinese intelligence officers, and frustrated US Customs agents. As I investigated, encouraged by Timeeditors, I uncovered and documented a massive effort by China to buy sensitive military production gear from US weapons plants, seemingly with the benediction — or at least, a blind eye — from Clinton administration officials.
Eventually, along with other reporters, I put together a four-page story on the scheme that was scheduled to run in mid-July 1994. After a Friday lunchtime staff meeting, the Washington, DC, editor, came into my cubicle. “You’ve pissed off people in the administration with your questions,” he said.
“I thought it was my job to ask difficult questions of the administration,” I said.
He fired me on the spot and pulled the story, which ran a year later under the title “China Shops” in the conservative American Spectator magazine.