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Wednesday, April 14, 1999

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  • The Story of George Polk

    On May 16, 1948, CBS news reporter George Polk’s body was found in fishing waters off northern Greece. He had been shot at point blank range in the back of the head. The Greek government promised to find the reporter’s murder, and the U.S., which at the time was spending $1 million a day to help the Greek regime hold back a Communist uprising, vowed to monitor the investigation. However, the list of possible suspects was long. Polk had relentlessly criticized both sides in the war, calling the Communist rebels thugs and accusing the Greek government of corruption, while blasting the U.S. for supporting the conservative Greek regime. What followed was a tangled conspiracy to cover up his murder, which to this day remains a mystery.

  • Dust, Deception and Death

    Polk Award recipient Gardner Harris decided to investigate why so many coal miners die each year, despite improved safety regulations. As of 1999, 1,500 coal miners die per year. He discovered that coal dust levels in most mines are much higher than allowed by law, but that workers are expected to lie about dust level tests in order to maintain their jobs. This tacit agreement between management, workers and government regulators keeps the miners in mortally dangerous work environments in return for earning a decent wage in regions where jobs are scarce.