The questions are really about the government, not the press. Here are two more recent examples:
The US military showed marines practicing an amphibious landing and bombarded the coast to get the Iraqis to think that an amphibious landing was planned in Kuwait in 1991. The Iraqi forces were concentrated near the coast, which allowed the US forces to easily enter the country by land.
Schwarzkopf deftly used the media to distract attention away from the planned offensive. Operation Imminent Thunder employed thousands of Marines for a phony amphibious task force, which began posturing in the Gulf in January. The media were invited to cover an amphibious rehearsal in nearby Oman.
“It’s not so much that Schwarzkopf lied to the media,” Allison said. “He just misdirected the media a little bit and they ran with this idea about how the Marines were sitting out there in the Gulf all ready to go: it’s going to be Iwo Jima; we’re going to storm the beaches.”
In 2001 the US government downplayed the risks from dangerous materials in the dust from the 9-11 attacks:
“We are very encouraged that the results from our monitoring of air-quality and drinking-water conditions in both New York and near the Pentagon show that the public in these areas is not being exposed to excessive levels of asbestos or other harmful substances,” Christine Todd Whitman, the then administrator of the EPA, told the citizens of New York City in a press release on September 18—only seven days after the attacks. “Given the scope of the tragedy from last week, I am glad to reassure the people of New York . . . that their air is safe to breathe and the water is safe to drink.”
The government’s interests do not necessarily result in releasing the full truth about events.
Is that a good thing?