From a letter written by CBS News anchorman Dan Rather, published in the May 28 issue of the Soviet newsmagazine Ogonyok:
Make no mistake: the resurrection of writers like Boris Pasternak, the release of films like ''Repentance'' that show the horrors of Stalinism, the new candor in the press and on television about the shortcomings of Soviet life are impressive signs of change. . . .
But the journalist must look for the real story behind what we call the ''photo opportunity.'' Which represents the real Soviet Union: arms control proposals in Geneva or Red Army troops in Kabul? Sakharov's return to Moscow or snow-plows scattering demonstrators in front of a dissident's apartment? Shcharansky's new life in Israel or the near-record low in Jewish emigration permitted from your country last year? Skeptics might wonder whether the much-publicized reforms are designed truly to change the system -- or, as Shcharansky has written, merely to save it.
The newly combative Soviet journalism is an improvement, yes, but it cannot be compared to its American counterpart. Soviet television might expose corruption on a collective farm, but would it dare suggest -- as a series about American agriculture on my broadcast did -- that an entire policy had failed? Soviet reporting is still an instrument of the Kremlin, which now chooses to attack corruption and inefficiency rather than conceal them. . . . All that said, I'm impressed by the boldness I see in Soviet journalism today. By raising questions without providing answers, journalists also raise anxiety. There are many in both our countries who would just as soon not confront problems that have no easy solutions.