Accuracy in Media

A prominent leftist blogger associated with Salon.com has proudly accepted an award named for Soviet agent of influence I.F. Stone and has denounced Accuracy in Media and Commentary magazine for drawing public attention to Stone’s communist connections.

But this controversy was compounded by the subsequent decision by Glenn Greenwald and his fellow award winner, Amy Goodman, to go on the April 3 edition of a public television show hosted by Bill Moyers, just weeks after new disclosures of how Moyers used his position as a top official of the Democratic Lyndon Johnson Administration to gather political dirt and potential blackmail material on American citizens. One of Greenwald’s big complaints about the Bush Administration has been that it illegally monitored telephone calls as part of the war on terrorism. 

In addition to the despicable practice of obtaining and disseminating information of a sexual nature about civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., which has been documented and is a matter of public record, the Washington Post has revealed that Moyers, as LBJ’s press secretary, was described in recently released White House records from that period “as seeking information on the sexual preferences of White House staff members,” including Jack Valenti, later the president of the Motion Picture Association of America. The FBI was authorized to pursue erroneous information that Valenti was a homosexual and sent a memo directly to Moyers.

In one case, the Post reported, an FBI official and President Johnson “discussed a request from Moyers, then a special assistant to Johnson, that the FBI investigate two other administration figures who were ‘suspected as having homosexual tendencies.'”

The revelations prompted the Wall Street Journal to run an editorial headlined, “J. Edgar Moyers,” a reference to then-FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. The paper said that “the historical record suggests that when Mr. Moyers was in a position of actual power, he was complicit in FBI dirt-digging against U.S. citizens solely for political purposes.”

Greenwald’s decision to go on the Moyers show, after these lurid revelations, demonstrates that he has a blatant double standard on the matter of presidential administrations invading privacy.

Greenwald, who writes for Salon.com and specializes in articles protesting tough treatment of terrorists bent on destroying the U.S. and Israel, accepted the award with Goodman on March 31 from the Ithaca College Park Center for Independent Media.

Greenwald said that Soviet agent Stone “pioneered what modern journalism ought to be.”

The Illegal Drug Lobby

In addition to his published criticism of the war on terrorism, which has been emulated by some in the mainstream media, Greenwald has written a recent Cato Institute report on the virtues of decriminalizing dangerous drugs, including cocaine and heroin. This has made him popular on a website associated with Reason magazine, whose editor-in-chief, Nick Gillespie, is quoted in a bio on his own website as saying that he believes that drugs from marijuana to heroin should not only be legalized, but that using them occasionally is just fine.

Asked for an email comment on his acceptance of the “Izzy Award,” named after Stone, in light of Stone’s well-documented service on behalf of the old Soviet Union, Greenwald exploded, saying:

       “Two of the most extremist and discredited entities in the United States are Commentary Magazine and Accuracy in Media. Someone who is smeared by those two groups immediately has their credibility enhanced. Don’t you have Barack Obama’s birth certificate to hunt down and Hillary Clinton’s sex life to sniff around in?

       “The fact that Stone is being smeared by the likes of the consummately chicken-hawk, nepotistic, bloodthirsty Podhoretz family and the truly deranged, sex-obsessed, conspiracy-monger Cliff Kincaid will make me place my Izzy Award on an even more prominent shelf in my office.”

Despite the bombast, the identification of Stone as a Soviet agent is not in serious dispute. The identification is based on information in the Venona World War II-era Soviet spy cables that a Soviet intelligence officer named Vladimir Pravdin had recruited I.F. Stone but that Stone had to be paid. In addition, Accuracy in Media received Stone’s FBI file, which said that an informant in the Communist Party had actually named him as a member.

Additional evidence of Stone’s work as a Soviet agent has been uncovered by Harvey Klehr, John Earl Haynes, and Alexander Valliliev and reported in the May issue of Commentary magazine (and also in their new book, Spies, published by Yale University Press.) Klehr and Haynes are well-known and respected historians who have documented the activities of Soviet and Communist agents in numerous books and articles, while Valliliev is a former Soviet KGB officer turned Russian journalist who had access to the files of the SVR (the successor spy agency to the KGB in Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union.)

Stone’s codename was “Pancake” and the evidence shows that he was recruited by the Soviet KGB. Klehr, Haynes and Valliliev write that he “assisted Soviet intelligence on a number of such tasks: talent spotting, acting as a courier by relaying information to other agents, and providing private journalistic tidbits and data the KGB found interesting.” However, it also appears that Stone had an on-again, off-again relationship with the KGB.

Corporate Media

A video of Greenwald’s “Izzy Award” acceptance speech, in which he attacks the “corporate media,” is available at Salon.com. But you have to watch a corporate ad before it appears.

The other recipi-ent of the “Izzy” award from the Park Center for Indepen-dent Media was Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, a radio and TV program, who may be best known for interviewing people like Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn (in their “first joint broadcast interview” after the 2008 presidential election!)  and the lawyers for cop-killers and Black Liberation Army members Herman Bell and Anthony Bottom, now on trial in San Francisco for another cop-killing. Her co-host, Juan Gonzalez, was a member of the SDS, led by Weatherman Mark Rudd, which closed down Columbia University in 1968.

In a Huffington Post commentary on the personnel in the Obama Administration, Ayers said he would have preferred Goodman as President Obama’s press secretary.

It was after accepting the award that Greenwald and Goodman appeared on the public television program, Bill Moyers Journal, hosted by the former Johnson Administration official involved in processing and disseminating derogatory personal information about civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ironically, Goodman’s speech accepting the “Izzy Award” was full of favorable references to King, about whom Moyers had collected information to discredit.

The failure by Greenwald and Goodman to bring up these topics with Moyers may have something to do with the fact that the former aide to LBJ, a longtime fixture on public television, is involved in efforts to fund left-wing or “progressive” so-called “independent media.”

The Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, whose President is Moyers, gave Goodman’s production company $150,000 in 2006, while Salon.com has been funded by Schumann through the Center for Investigative Reporting in San Francisco, according to the group’s 2006 IRS report.

Other organi-zations supported by the Schumann Center include Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting ($500,000), which was founded by Jeff Cohen, the director of the Park Center for Independent Media; the Free Press ($1,250,000 in 2007, $600,000 in 2006, and $600,000 in 2005); and Media Matters ($500,000 in 2005).

The Free Press is the organization funded by George Soros that stages annual “media reform” conferences. One of the featured speakers at the 2007 event was none other than Bill Moyers, who served on the board of the Soros Open Society Institute in 2005. 

The Rebuttal

Rather than directly dispute the evidence of Stone’s service to the Soviet Union, Greenwald cited some alleged anti-Soviet statements once made by Stone, when he apparently had a falling out with the Communist dictatorship, as well as an article from the Columbia Journalism Review.

Greenwald went on: “Izzy Stone was one of the only journalists in America to challenge the government’s lies about the Gulf of Tonkin incident, to oppose the Vietnam War from the start, and to relentlessly highlight the pernicious poison of the McCarthyite witch hunts, which are alive and well in the marginalized and irrelevant fringes of the Right, such as Commentary and AIM.”

In one of several articles that AIM published about Stone, we noted that “I.F. Stone postured as an independent writer whose mission was to expose corruption in U.S. policies and the U.S. Government. When North Korea attacked South Korea in 1950, he tried to bolster the false Communist allegation that the United States and South Korea had started the war. During the Vietnam War, he became an icon of the anti-war movement. His writings mirrored the Communist propaganda line, but there was never any proof that he was a communist agent. After his death, the evidence came out. Decoded cables from the National Security Agency, known as the Venona intercepts, conclusively demonstrate that Stone was taking money from the KGB during many of the years he was publishing his newsletter, I.F. Stone’s Weekly. One of the documents describes his recruitment by the KGB. In addition, FBI files released to Accuracy in Media through a Freedom of Information Act request state that an informant within the Communist Party USA had identified Stone as a member in the 1930s.”

Ironically, those “witch hunts,” as Greenwald describes them, were conducted by an FBI answerable to Bill Moyers and others in the LBJ Administration. And the “lies” told about the Gulf of Tonkin were told by LBJ and his administration, including Moyers.

Glenn Garvin, the Miami Herald television critic, has commented that “lowlights” from Moyers’ career include “giving the FBI the okay to spread dirty stories about Martin Luther King’s sex life, and his ongoing role spinning fanciful tales about the war in Vietnam as Johnson’s press secretary from 1965 to 1967.” The Garvin column was headlined, “Bill Moyers’ Journal, gay-bashing edition,” because of the story about Moyers hunting for sexual information about LBJ’s White House aides.

Garvin added, “Without any apparent sense of irony, he [Moyers] viciously excoriates the U.S. press for its supposed subservience to the White House on Iraq, Afghanistan and the war on terror. Amazingly, when Moyers is ranting that the Bush administration fabricated everything about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, nobody ever asks him about the Johnson administration’s fantastical account of the imaginary 1964 attack in the Tonkin Gulf that became the excuse for the Vietnam war, an account he helped to construct. Everything about Moyers’ years with Johnson has somehow vanished down the memory hole.”

It looks like Greenwald has a memory hole in regard to Moyers and Stone.

 

MY FATHER AL NEUHARTH AND MEDIA HYPOCRISY

By Rosamunda Neuharth-Ozgo* 

(Editor’s note: Mr. Neuharth’s published version of these facts is that he “denied parenthood but said he had paid the money to avoid publicity.” This article took the form of an open letter to Gannett, parent company of USA Today, originally published on the AIM website.)

I was recently struck by yet another column in USA Today by founder Al Neuharth extolling the virtues of adoption. By now Gannett’s readers are well aware that Mr. Neuharth has adopted eight children. While this may be admirable in and of itself, it is also hypocritical because in 1962 Mr. Neuharth fathered and later abandoned a child out of wedlock.

I am that child, now grown to adulthood, and my story has been covered in the media over the years. My mother, Betty Moore, met Mr. Neuharth in St. Paul, Minn., in 1962, at an Associated Press convention. At the time, he was a young editor with the Detroit Free Press and my mother was a Paris-based translator in town on business. I am the result of their affair which continued for more than a year. 

With Mr. Neuharth reneging on his paternal responsibilities and my mother unable to care for me, I spent the first few years of my life in a foster home under auspices of the New York City Department of Welfare. 

Al Neuharth paid child support to my mother for 21 years, per a 1963 New York City Family Court agreement, but over the years he has gone to great lengths to hide my existence from the world. Despite the overwhelming evidence-which also includes a striking physical resemblance and the fact that his name is listed on my birth certificate-he has steadfastly refused to acknowledge that I am his daughter or to have anything to do with me. 

While my story has been widely reported in the news media, USA Today has never carried it. Rather, in 1986 USA Today ran a statement from Mr. Neuharth denying paternity but never bothered to contact me. Though his statement is semantically correct, I am Mr. Neuharth’s alleged illegitimate daughter-there was no DNA testing back then to prove his paternity-it is also misleading and false. I have repeatedly contacted USA Today to clarify this to no avail.   

Over the years any interest by Gannett reporters in my story has been quashed. In fact your former gossip columnist, Jeannie Williams, contacted me in 1980 only to have her interest stifled by Gannett editors.   

In 2001 my story was back in the news when the Freedom Forum commissioned Mike Gartner, the Pulitzer Prize-winning former editor of the Des Moines Register and former president of NBC News, to write an independent biography of Al Neuharth. The project was abruptly canceled when Neuharth learned that Gartner came to believe our story and planned to devote an entire chapter of the biography to us. Gartner resigned from the project citing lack of editorial independence. 

Though Mr. Neuharth succeeded yet again in quashing the story of my existence, it was widely reported at the time by Accuracy in Media, The Columbia Journalism Review, The American Journalism Review, the New York Post, and the San Francisco Chronicle but not by USA Today. USA Today did run an article by Al Neuharth the week the bio was killed-in advance of any other news organization getting wind of the story-which can only be described as personal damage control.    

When I asked the Gartner team what would become of all the sensitive materials I had shared with them, and if my story would make it into another biography, they replied “there will never be another biography because no reputable publisher would leave out the daughter.” But you have, Gannett.

By affording Mr. Neuharth a weekly column in which to proselytize about the virtues of adoption while refusing to acknowledge me, you are misleading your readers and doing a disservice to your profession. When he was Chairman of Gannett you did not want it to be known that a man of his stature, who publicly had done so much at Gannett to promote women and minorities, had turned his back on his own daughter. Why are the standards Gannett seeks to impose on other leaders not upheld for one of your own? 

Isn’t it your duty to report all facts? To be fair and accurate no matter how powerful the people involved? Isn’t it journalists’ obligation to tell the truth, even if it does involve your Founder and may not be in keeping with the image of him that your company has tried to create? In his authorized biography, Confessions of an SOB, Mr. Neuharth himself states “the first amendment guarantees a free press. The press itself must guarantee a fair one.” 

While you give Mr. Neuharth a forum to boast about the good he has done for unwanted children by adopting eight of them, have you  ever stopped to think why there are so many unwanted children to adopt in the first place? It is because men like Mr. Neuharth choose not to live up to their responsibilities. While Mr. Neuharth repeatedly addresses the topic of unwanted children, this key fact is always left out. 

By turning your head at my story you are suppressing the truth and perpetuating your own Founder’s cover-up. You could report my story tomorrow. It would be fresh news for USA Today. While you allow Mr. Neuharth to publicize his eight adoptions, don’t your readers have a right to know the choice he made when faced with an unwanted child of his own? Your purported mission is to be “ever mindful of our journalistic responsibilities” but you cannot stand for journalistic integrity only some of the time. 

Why is it so important to me to get my story out? Because I want the truth to be known. I have an obligation to myself and my family to set the record straight. I am 45 years old and living the American dream but that does not absolve you or Mr. Neuharth.  

I have a 9-year-old son whom I teach to be responsible for his actions. I dread the day I will need to explain to him that his grandfather turned the other way when he had the opportunity to accept responsibility for his mistakes and do the right thing.

My story is an opportunity to educate readers on what your journalism is really all about.  The choices you make in reporting make a mockery out of the very principles you are supposed to uphold. If an organization as powerful as yours does not abide by the principles it stands for, what’s the point? If you don’t have integrity what else matters?  Sometimes the hypocrisy is just too hard to bear.  

*Rosamunda Neuharth-Ozgo is a residential and commercial real estate agent living in Arlington, Virginia. She can be reached at (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)




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