Publish Date: June 28, 1971
Cover Story: The Secret War
How TIME Covered the News: The debate over public vs. private government documents came to a head when the Pentagon Papers, a secret report written by the U.S. government detailing its political and military operations in Vietnam, appeared on the front page of the New York Times in 1971. Leaked by Daniel Ellsberg, who had worked on the study and was protesting what he felt was a “wrongful war,” the Papers proved to be a pivotal turning point in public perception of the war efforts.
“As the documents bared the planning process, they also demolished any lingering faith that the nation’s weightiest decisions are made by deliberative men, calmly examining all the implications of a policy and then carefully laying out their reasoning in depth. The proliferation of papers, the cabled requests for clarification, the briskness of language but not of logic, convey an impression of harassed men, thinking and writing too quickly and sometimes being mystified at the enemy’s refusal to conform to official projections.”
Next 1974 – Richard Nixon