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Cold War Correspondents: Soviet and American Reporters on the Ideological Frontlines
Cold War Correspondents: Soviet and American Reporters on the Ideological Frontlines
By Dina Fainberg
376 pp, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020
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In this extraordinarily thorough and insightful study, Fainberg identifies the similar approaches and practices used by Soviet and U.S. foreign correspondents reporting from each other’s countries during the Cold War. Each side claimed to report the truth and condemned the other for spreading lies and propaganda. Both Soviet and U.S. coverage incessantly emphasized the respective systems’ political and cultural superiority: Soviet reporters condemned the racism, unemployment, and disparity of incomes in the United States, and Americans exposed the lack of freedom and the squalor of everyday life in the Soviet Union. Their modes of operation were, indeed, different: Soviet journalists had to clear their writings through state censors, whereas the Americans cooperated with their government in a more informal, indirect way through their choice of topics or angles. U.S. reporters prided themselves on their journalistic objectivity even as they willingly passed information on to U.S. officials; meanwhile, their colleagues at home took critical stands against the government in covering the Watergate affair, the Pentagon Papers, and the Vietnam War.