FNC Takes on NY Times's Spin CIA Chief Orders Staff "Back Bush" --11/18/2004
2. Snide Brown: "Must Have Missed" Clinton's Whitewater Indictment
3. Moyers: "Americans Don't Behead," But "Smart Bombs Do It for Us"
4. Reed Irvine, Founder of Accuracy in Media, Passes Away at 82
FNC on Wednesday took on a front page New York Times story headlined, "Chief of CIA Tells His Staff to Back Bush." Jim Angle reported how CIA Director Porter Goss, in the wake of CIA employees trashing the administration, "wrote a memo to CIA staff to remind everyone in the intelligence community to stay out of politics. But a newspaper headline suggested the exact opposite, saying Porter Goss had told his staff to back Bush." Angle, who featured two Senators who supported Goss's efforts, proceeded to quote from the memo: "'As agency employees, we do not identify with, support, or champion opposition to the administration or its policies. We provide the intelligence as we see it and let the facts alone speak to the policymaker.'" Ironically, someone at the CIA gave the memo to the New York Times which misconstrued it, though the article in full was not as misleading as the headline.
At the top of the November 17 Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC, anchor Brit Hume announced: "The apparent turmoil at the CIA spilled over into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue today. White House spokesman Scott McClellan was called upon to answer a story in the New York Times about an e-mail sent out to CIA staff by their new chief, Porter Goss. Fox News senior White House correspondent Jim Angle reports."
Angle explained: "The President's new Director of Central Intelligence has his hands full. Officials say he wrote a memo to CIA staff to remind everyone in the intelligence community to stay out of politics. But a newspaper headline [zoom in on headline: "Chief of CIA Tells His Staff to Back Bush"] suggested the exact opposite, saying Porter Goss had told his staff to back Bush. White House officials who have seen the memo say that is not what it said."
The online version of the Times story by Douglas Jehl carried the headline, "New C.I.A. Chief Tells Workers to Back Administration Policies." An excerpt:
Porter J. Goss, the new intelligence chief, has told Central Intelligence Agency employees that their job is to "support the administration and its policies in our work," a copy of an internal memorandum shows.
"As agency employees we do not identify with, support or champion opposition to the administration or its policies," Mr. Goss said in the memorandum, which was circulated late on Monday. He said in the document that he was seeking "to clarify beyond doubt the rules of the road."
While his words could be construed as urging analysts to conform with administration policies, Mr. Goss also wrote, "We provide the intelligence as we see it -- and let the facts alone speak to the policymaker."
The memorandum suggested an effort by Mr. Goss to spell out his thinking as he embarked on what he made clear would be a major overhaul at the agency, with further changes to come. The changes to date, including the ouster of the agency's clandestine service chief, have left current and former intelligence officials angry and unnerved. Some have been outspoken, including those who said Tuesday that they regarded Mr. Goss's warning as part of an effort to suppress dissent within the organization.
In recent weeks, White House officials have complained that some C.I.A. officials have sought to undermine President Bush and his policies.
At a minimum, Mr. Goss's memorandum appeared to be a swipe against an agency decision under George J. Tenet, his predecessor as director of central intelligence, to permit a senior analyst at the agency, Michael Scheuer, to write a book and grant interviews that were critical of the Bush administration's policies on terrorism.
One former intelligence official said he saw nothing inappropriate in Mr. Goss's warning, noting that the C.I.A. had long tried to distance itself and its employees from policy matters.
"Mike exploited a seam in the rules and inappropriately used it to express his own policy views," the official said of Mr. Scheuer. "That did serious damage to the agency, because many people, including some in the White House, thought that he was being urged by the agency to take on the president. I know that was not the case."
But a second former intelligence official said he was concerned that the memorandum and the changes represented an effort by Mr. Goss to stifle independence....
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For the November 17 New York Times article in full: www.nytimes.com
For the MRC's TimesWatch.org item on Jehl's story and its headline: www.timeswatch.org
Pointing to a Thursday Washington Times headline which read, "Whitewashing Whitewater, Clinton Library Presents its Own Slant," in his "morning papers" segment on Wednesday's NewsNight, CNN anchor Aaron Brown snidely asserted: "I must have missed the day that the President was indicted in the Whitewater case."
The newspaper story by Joseph Curl noted how a display at the Clinton library, set to open on Friday, claimed that "none" of the investigations during the Clinton years "yielded a conviction for public misconduct." Curl countered: "In fact, at least 14 persons were convicted in the Whitewater investigation for fraud or conspiracy involving bogus loans through public institutions, mail fraud and income-tax evasion, among others. Mr. Clinton himself agreed to a five-year suspension of his Arkansas law license as a means to end the Lewinsky inquiry and head off an Arkansas court move to punish him for misleading answers in a deposition taken during the Paula Jones sexual-harassment suit."
An excerpt from the top of Curl's November 18 article:
In his new presidential library that opens today, Bill Clinton defiantly mocks the impeachment proceedings against him, charging that the independent counsel who investigated him had "a bias against the president" and blaming Republicans for engaging in the "politics of personal destruction."
The former president, in exhibits he approved, repeatedly castigates Newt Gingrich, accusing him of instructing Republicans to label Democrats as "sick," and asserts that the former House speaker led a cabal of radical right-wing "revolutionaries" bent on destroying Mr. Clinton for one reason: "Because we can."
"The impeachment battle was not about the Constitution or the rule of law, but was instead a quest for power that the president's opponents could not win at the ballot box," says one exhibit placard in a library alcove titled "The Fight for Power."
"In this combustible climate, the congressional Republicans took the politics of personal destruction to a new level, using the subpoena power to investigate Democrats, attack them in a number of public hearings and attempt to change popular public policies by discrediting the president and members of his administration personally," says another.
All of the text included in the exhibit was personally approved -- and in some cases, even written or "tweaked" -- by Mr. Clinton himself, said Bruce Lindsey, a longtime Clinton confidant who served as White House deputy counsel for the former president....
The exhibit includes several attacks against former independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr, who is labeled "a conservative activist who had never prosecuted a case and who had already shown a bias against the President."...
The combative text in the impeachment alcove returns often to Republicans, who won a majority in the House in 1994 and have picked up seats in almost every election since then.
"From the start of the Clinton presidency, the administration's opponents waged an unprecedented fight for power. Seeking to steer America sharply to the right, Republican leaders pursued a radical agenda through radical means. They used new tools and tactics -- lawsuits, investigations, new partisan media, front groups, a secret slush fund, and deeply divisive rhetoric -- in their battle for political supremacy," one placard says....
END of Excerpt
For the story in full: www.washingtontimes.com
PBS's Now with Bill Moyers on Friday featured a left-wing nun who ridiculed the concern for life exhibited by those who claim to be "pro-life," but are really only "pro-birth." Sister Joan Chittister asserted that "some of the people that we're killing" in Iraq "are pregnant women" and "that's military abortion." That prompted Moyers to characterize Americans as no better than terrorists: "Somebody said to me the other day that Americans don't behead, but we do drop smart bombs that do it for us."
Chittister, a member of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, is a columnist for the National Catholic Reporter. Her latest column provided her take on the election: "The fact is that what we saw is what extremism looks like, what cultural evolution looks like, what fear looks like, what religion run amuck looks like. We saw radical right fundamentalist religion pitted against the most shameless definitions of secular liberalism as weak, immoral and irresponsible." For the entirety of her post-election rant: www.nationalcatholicreporter.org
The MRC's Brian Boyd caught this exchange from the November 12 Now with Bill Moyers on PBS:
Bill Moyers: "Depending on the sources, Sister Joan, there have been 37,000 civilians killed in Iraq, or as many perhaps as 100,000. Why is abortion a higher moral issue with many American Christians than the invasion of Iraq and the loss of life there?"
For a rundown of Chittister's liberal political causes, see Now's biography of her: www.pbs.org
Reed Irvine, the pioneer who founded Accuracy in Media in 1969, sadly passed away on Tuesday evening at age 82. Irvine put liberal media bias into political discourse by establishing the organization to provide documentation of the media's liberal bias and then to challenge it. Following the MRC's founding in the late 1980s, Irvine became of friend of the MRC, seeing us not as unwelcome competition, but as valuable reinforcements in the battle of conservatives against the media. And for that, we shall forever be grateful.
Below is an excerpt from a tribute to Irvine from AIM's Cliff Kincaid followed by excerpts from obituaries in today's Washington Times and Washington Post [updated with excerpt from Friday's Los Angeles Times obituary]:
-- "The Legacy of Reed Irvine," by Cliff Kincaid, Editor of The AIM Report:
The passing of Reed Irvine on November 16, 2004 comes at a time when his war against the Big Media has achieved some notable successes. In the 35 years since he founded Accuracy in Media, the Big Media have lost much of their stature and do not seem so big anymore. Their loss of credibility is a testament to Reed's successful efforts to tell the truth about so much of what we see, read and hear. Reed was David against the media Goliath. Reed's stone was the pen.
Trained as an economist for the government, Reed used the tools of journalism to investigate and expose the journalists. They were horrified when he attended annual meetings of big media companies and questioned the top brass. But he wanted the journalists and media corporations to know that somebody was watching them -- and taking notes on their conduct. Today, the twice-monthly Accuracy in Media (AIM) Report continues, along with a weekly AIM column, "Media Monitor" radio commentaries, films, and other projects. I think Reed would want to be honored by making sure that AIM continues its work. In this war, victory can only be achieved by continuing to make progress, by constantly maintaining and then elevating our standards of responsibility and accountability. That is the only way we can safeguard our freedom.
I came aboard in 1978, when I graduated from college and completed a journalism internship under conservative author M. Stanton Evans. Part of that involved doing an internship with a Washington-based group, which turned out to be AIM. I had been trained in journalism myself, but had learned in college that old-fashioned objective news reporting was a thing of the past. Indeed, my college textbook was "Interpretive Reporting." Under Reed's tutelage, I became a media analyst and assisted him at AIM in various capacities over the last 26 years, eventually being asked to come back in a more full-time capacity when Reed was talking about retirement last year. But he never really retired. Even after a heart attack, Reed was back at work. A subsequent stroke and associated health problems were too much for him, however....
In order to cover journalists, Reed became a journalist-and he was much better at it than those who had been formally trained. He himself covered hearings, attended and held news conferences, and -- moving into his activist mode -- participated in protests. He did not hesitate to confront the rich and powerful in the media when he thought they were wrong....
A man in his position, monitoring others for misconduct and misdeeds, has to be able to withstand scrutiny as well. And he did. He practiced the conduct he expected of others. He lived up to and surpassed the standards he set for the media.
When the Gielow Family Foundation gave Reed its "Friend of Freedom Award," it described him accurately, hailing him for "his tireless dedication to the search for truth, his dogged determination to disseminate the truth...Clearly, without information that is accurate and truthful, citizens are deceived and unable to make informed and proper judgments about their leaders, the major issues of the day, and indeed, the fate of the country. Reed Irvine is an American treasure and his many years of unselfish service contribute mightily to the cause of freedom."...
END of Excerpt
For Kincaid's tribute in full: www.aim.org
Journalist and media critic Reed Irvine, who relentlessly exposed the foibles of a biased press for more than three decades, died Tuesday from complications of a stroke he suffered late last year. He was 82.
Mr. Irvine was a pioneer in his field, founding the nonprofit watchdog group Accuracy in Media (AIM) in 1969 during an era when the content and ideological underpinnings of TV and newspaper stories went largely unquestioned.
Oxford educated, a Fulbright scholar and a former economist with the Federal Reserve System, Mr. Irvine cheerfully took on the credibility of press giants -- inaugurating a full-blown "Can Dan" campaign against CBS newsman Dan Rather 16 years ago....
He took on dozens of news organizations and high-profile scions of the so-called liberal press, mounting cases against the New York Times, CNN, NBC and The Washington Post, prompting former Post editor Ben Bradlee to call him a "miserable, carping, retromingent vigilante," comparing Mr. Irvine to an animal that urinates backward.
Mr. Irvine responded by sending Mr. Bradlee a trophy, courtesy of the Miserable Carping Retromingent Vigilante Society.
Mr. Bradlee sent it back.
The intrepid but good-humored Mr. Irvine got his point across.
"It sticks in my craw, but I'll say it: Irvine and his AIM are good for the press," Post ombudsman Charles Seib said at the time....
Mr. Irvine wielded words with the best of them, penning hundreds of columns and joining in spirited debate with foes on CNN's "Crossfire" and ABC's "Nightline," among other broadcasts....
Born in Salt Lake City, Mr. Irvine graduated from the University of Utah before joining the U.S. Marines as an intelligence officer during World War II. While serving as a Japanese interpreter for the allied occupation force in Japan, he met Kay Araki, a survivor of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack. The couple married three years later.
Mr. Irvine is survived by his wife, son Donald, and three grandchildren of Gaithersburg. Friends are invited to call from 6 to 8 p.m. tomorrow at the DeVol Funeral Home, 10 East Deer Park Drive, Gaithersburg.
A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 17700 Old Baltimore Road, Olney, with interment at Parklawn Cemetery. Memorial contributions can be made to Accuracy in Media.
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For the article in full: www.washingtontimes.com
Reed Irvine, 82, the founder of a 35-year-old conservative watchdog group called Accuracy in Media, died Nov. 16 of complications from a stroke at the Casey House in Rockville.
Mr. Irvine, an economist, annoyed and infuriated major media for years with his syndicated critiques, prolific letters to the editor, and confrontational questions at corporate meetings that routinely accused the press and broadcasters of a liberal bias. He vilified the media decades before his conservative compatriots turned criticism of the fourth estate into a well-funded cottage industry.
"I think he was the first to really sound the trumpet of liberal bias," said Michael Hoyt, executive editor of Columbia Journalism Review, based at New York's Columbia University. "I think he represented a resentment that was larger than him. Some people treated him as a kook, but others thought, 'Maybe he's got some points here.' That had a lasting impact."
Among his campaigns was an effort started 16 years ago to "Can Dan" Rather, the CBS News anchor. Mr. Irvine forced the Public Broadcasting System to run an hour-long rebuttal by his group to the 1983 documentary "Vietnam: A Television History."
During the Persian Gulf War in 1991, he accused CNN and its reporter Peter Arnett of airing "Saddam Hussein's version of the truth. There's no way his reporting is helping America win this war," Mr. Irvine told The Washington Post....
In 1986, Mr. Irvine predicted erroneously that coverage of the Iran-Nicaragua connection could cripple anti-communist efforts in Central America and would lead Mexico into communism.
"He was a die-hard anti-communist," said his son, Donald Irvine, president of Accuracy in Media. "There was a bulldoggedness, an incredible determination in my father. Nothing ever stopped him; he wore a shield of armor, and you couldn't hurt him. It didn't matter if he was talking to [the late Washington Post Co. chairman] Katharine Graham or [former Post executive editor] Ben Bradlee or [former New York Times publisher] Arthur Ochs Sulzberger."
Mr. Irvine was born in Salt Lake City. He graduated from the University of Utah in 1942 and attended graduate school at the University of Colorado. He served in the Marine Corps during World War II, where his job was to learn Japanese and translate interviews with prisoners of war....
He worked as an economist with the Federal Reserve from 1951 until 1977, when he retired. In 1969, when he was still at the Fed, members of his lunch group regularly complained that conservative points of view were not adequately reported in the media. Mr. Irvine appointed himself as just the one to set the nation's media straight. He formed Accuracy in Media.
"I think he was ahead of his time in drawing attention to media misbehavior and misdeeds, pointing out that if media didn't correct its own errors, its credibility would suffer drastically. And that's exactly what's happened," said Cliff Kincaid, editor of Accuracy in Media Report.
Ben Bagdikian, a critic of media consolidation whose view is more liberal, said that Mr. Irvine's influence waned after its first splash.
"He was a very doctrinaire, rather unchanging ultraconservative critic. In the years since the mid-1970s, a much more intellectually sophisticated conservative criticism of the news media began to emerge," Bagdikian said....
Mr. Irvine was nominated to the board of directors of The Washington Post Co. in 1978 by another media gadfly. He netted 19 votes compared with 5,531,784 for his nearest rival....
His organizations' major contributor for the past 20 years has been billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, said Mr. Irvine's son. Mr. Irvine wrote several books, including "Media Mischief and Misdeeds" (1984), and was coauthor of "Profiles of Deception" (1990), "The News Manipulators" (1993), "Why You Can't Trust the News" (2003)....
END of Excerpt
For the obituary in full: www.washingtonpost.com
Reed Irvine, the obstreperous gadfly who 35 years ago founded Accuracy in Media, an organization devoted to exposing perceived liberal bias in American journalism, died Tuesday of complications from a stroke at a rehabilitation center in Rockville, Md. He was 82.
An economist for the Federal Reserve when he launched Accuracy in Media in 1969, Irvine pilloried the news media through a syndicated column, countless letters to the editor and fearless interrogations conducted in the boardrooms of the nation's major newspapers and broadcast networks.
Lions of the media establishment were his favorite targets, including Walter Cronkite, who he suggested was a Soviet dupe for coverage of the Communist superpower that Irvine viewed as overly sympathetic. He also was a long-standing critic of Dan Rather, the object of an AIM campaign called "Can Dan" that he launched 16 years ago and is still going strong, bolstered by the veteran CBS newsman's recent on-air apology for errors in a network report on President Bush's National Guard record.
Another AIM campaign focused on biases perceived in a 1983 PBS documentary, "Vietnam: A Television History." PBS responded to Irvine's criticisms by granting his group an hour of airtime for rebuttal.
"I used to call him the pit bull," L. Brent Bozell III, founder of the Media Research Center, another conservative media watchdog group, told The Times on Thursday. "When Reed deemed something important, he would sink his teeth into it and not let go."
AIM eventually bought stock in media companies, which allowed Irvine to take his arguments against them right into their annual shareholder meetings.
He was so disruptive at New York Times shareholder meetings in the 1980s that he was given annual private chats with the paper's top brass, who were anxious to avoid his public pontifications.
At the Washington Post, he was nearly ejected from a shareholders' meeting in 1984 when he rattled off the 18 letters he had written to the paper over the previous eight months....
He headed luncheon discussion groups for the International Economists Club and the Arthur G. McDowell Luncheon Group, named in honor of an anti-Communist union leader.
During one of those luncheons in 1969 at which the topic was perceived bias against the Vietnam War in nightly news coverage, Irvine hatched the idea for Accuracy in Media, an organization that would confront error and distortion in the news media. It was launched that same year with a $200 donation from a retired businessman.
Within a few years, AIM was making waves. In 1972, ABC issued five corrections to a documentary about the arms race after Irvine's steady and pointed complaints. The following year, AIM and its leaders were featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. In 1985, he launched a sister organization, Accuracy in Academia, to root out leftist leanings in college and university courses.
"He was a pioneer of the liberal bias argument," Michael Hoyt, executive editor of the Columbia Journalism Review, said Thursday. "He opened the discussion ... and [that] was a useful thing. There is such a thing as liberal bias. He just raised the issue, which was a kind of victory in itself."...
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For the obituary in full: www.latimes.com
-- Brent Baker