Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

Joseph A. Fry

Second Committee Member

Gregory Brown

Third Committee Member

Andrew Kirk

Fourth Committee Member

Jonathan Strand

Fifth Committee Member

Ronald Smith

Number of Pages



In June 1954, President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman of Guatemala resigned in the face of a coup led by Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas. While the United States publicly denied involvement, the coup was in fact the culmination of a plan called PBSUCCESS (CIA codeword), led by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Although PBSUCCESS lived up to its namesake, it was aided (both intentionally and unintentionally) by various U.S. media outlets. For the duration of Arbenz Guzman's regime, he and his country had been the subject of U.S. suspicions of undue Communist and Soviet influence. A general anti-Communist attitude permeated virtually all of the period's journalism and governmental deliberations on Guatemala, leading to regular instances of sensationalism, exaggeration, and unjust accusations of Communist influence. In addition to a number of secondary sources and declassified CIA records, this paper examines the reporting of the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Time, Life, The New Republic, and The Nation. An analysis of these sources' perspectives will ascertain the nature of government-media relations, and their effect in building momentum for/implementing PBSUCCESS. There was no massive government-media conspiracy at work, but mutually supporting governmental and journalistic biases sealed Arbenz Guzman's fate.


Arbenz Guzman; Jacobo; 1913-1971; Broadcast journalism; Coups d'etat; Guatemala; International relations; Intervention; Mass media; News agencies; Propaganda; U.S. Foreign Policy; U.S. Media; United States; United States. Central Intelligence Agency


History | International Relations | Journalism Studies | Latin American History | Mass Communication | Social Influence and Political Communication

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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