Just weeks after CBS correspondent George Polk was murdered in Greece in 1948, his peers created the "George Polk Award" to honor the best in American journalism. Polk would have been bitterly disappointed, however, had he known that the "best in American journalism" accepted, largely without protest, an investigation into his death in which evidence was not only ignored but manufactured to convict innocent men—an investigation in which politics played a bigger role than the truth.
Reconstructing the murder, investigation, trial, and aftermath, Who Killed George Polk? offers a penetrating analysis of the willingness of the American media—including CBS and a committee of prominent journalists headed by Walter Lippmann—to accept the government's version of events despite numerous inconsistencies. The book also explores the fate of the handful of journalists who had questioned the original coverup and shows that even when additional developments turned the official version on its head, they were no longer in a position to press for a new investigation. All had become victims of anticommunist witchhunts.
Arguing that this mainstream media and the U.S. government were so blinded by cold war political considerations that they overlooked the most obvious culprits for the Polk murder, Elias Vlanton proves that Polk was likely killed neither by the communists, as originally charged, nor by corrupt Greek government officials, as claimed by a recent book and in a CBS "Sixty Minutes" broadcast. Instead, based on evidence uncovered during Vlanton's 19-year investigation, the author presents the only plausible scenario of how and why Polk was murdered.
At its core, this perceptive interrogation explores how the press served U.S. national interests at the expense of the truth and journalistic integrity.