Four million people in nearly 200 countries read The New York Times. Of these, many are opinion-leaders. Journalists everywhere read the paper to get a supposedly objective view of the news and to learn what The Times thinks is important. But they aren’t getting that kind of view – despite the ads The Times runs proclaiming its attachment to rock-solid truth.
A Times former White House and investigative correspondent, Robert M. Smith, discloses how some stories make it to print, some do not, how the filters work, and how the paper may have suppressed the most important U.S. political story of the day—Watergate.
Smith shows how the paper stepped into the ring and begun slugging it out with President Trump, instead of staying outside the ring and neutrally reporting what it saw. The book argues that the paper would have been far more effective in countering and exposing the President if it had remained true to its nearly two-hundred-year-old tradition and remained neutral -- that is, remained credible (as it so loudly maintains that it is).
The book contends that objectivity on the part of the press might have made people believe the unfavorable things reported about Trump instead of dismissing them as the predictable product of leftist partiality.
The book explains how to read the press like an insider.
It discloses that The Times assigned Smith to hire a reporter of a particular partisan stripe; that the paper’s business journalists refused to cover negative stories about business, and that its Pentagon correspondent refused to cover the My Lai massacre committed by American troops in Vietnam.
Written with candor and humor, Suppressed traces a young investigative reporter’s arc from naïveté to cynicism, from covering the White House to leaving the paper for Yale Law School and ultimately becoming a barrister in London and teaching at Oxford.
Robert M. Smith is a former New York Times White House and investigative correspondent who was witness to some of the most important stories in modern history, including Watergate, the Pentagon Papers, and the My Lai Massacre. He lives in San Francisco, CA.
“Suppressed is a string of inviting reminiscences, each more tantalizing than the one before. Smith is a writer of clarity, wit, and style. He rips the masks off the Establishment, and reveals the inside story of a remarkable New York Times investigative reporter who bucked the system throughout a stellar career, and got away with it. The book defines honest reporting in a time of attacks from insiders and outsiders, right and left. If there was a truth that needed telling, Smith fought to tell the story — one way or another. He has done the same thing in this book. Suppressed: remarkable revelations and remarkable entertainment.”--Ron Hendren, former NBC News and TODAY show book and film critic
“Robert Smith broke countless stories as a New York Times reporter, but his account of the one story he had but couldn’t break — Watergate — is what makes Suppressed a must-read account of life inside the sausage factory of high-level American journalism.”--Ray Locker, author of Nixon's Gamble and Haig's Coup and former White House editor for USA TODAY
NetGalley Review: 4 stars
Last updated on 12 May 2021
"Super interesting look into what makes it to the news cycle and what stays behind closed doors. In the instance of Watergate, there was so much behind the scenes that we never saw. This book really uncovers what goes on in the news industry."
—Caroline Craig David, Reviewer @southernbellebooks on Instagram
NetGalley Review: 5 stars
Last updated on 13 May 2021
"Suppressed: Confessions of a Former New York Times Washington Correspondent by former investigative reporter Robert M. Smith is a remarkable memoir that takes us behind the scenes of the highest levels of American journalism. It is an frank book that is informative yet entertaining at the same time. It gives us some of the journalistic highs but also brings to light the shortcomings. Smith fought the system throughout his career to tell the whole truth behind the stories he covered. This was not always possible and he claims that media outlets often manipulated the story to fit their own views. He saw this happen at Time magazine as well as the Boston Herald and the New York Times. A prime example occurred with the New York Times when he attempted to break the Watergate story and the paper ignored the story and depending on your perspective, they either failed or refused to cover it. There are some good lessons in this book and Smith cautions us not to take a news story at face value but rather consider who is doing the reporting and to look for bias and other outside forces that can influence the slant of a story. Ultimately Smith left journalism behind and is now practicing law and teaching at Oxford. Thankfully he did not give up writing altogether and this book is the result. I highly recommend it. Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for providing me with a digital copy of this book prior to publication in exchange for my review. This review is being posted immediately to my GoodReads account and will be posted on Amazon and Barnes and Noble upon the book's publication."
—Donna Boyd, Educator