All the News That's Fit to Print? New York Times Coverage of Human-Rights Violations

The so-called CNN effect suggests that the American public has quick access to more information about world events than ever before. To test the prevalence of the effect, this study examines New York Times stories on fifty countries that human-rights researchers list among the top violators. Results show that although there is a moderate correlation between the magnitude of political terror and the number of human-rights stories from a given country, the Times's overall coverage of human rights is seriously lacking. Attention to abuses occurs primarily in countries that were strategically instrumental during the cold war and in countries where there is clear U.S. involvement.