Reed Irvine - Editor
  June A, 1988  


  • Tisch Moved But Un budged
  • The Full Rothenberg
  • Dump Dan Petitions Presented
  • The Case for an Ombudsman
  • Tom Shalesgate
  •  What You Can Do
  • Notes
  • Laurence Tisch, president of CBS Inc., publicly praised a scorching blast aimed at Dan Rather by AIM president Murray Baron at the CBS Annual Meeting on May 11. Mr. Baron spoke in support of Accuracy in Media's resolution calling on CBS to hire an ombudsman, or "viewers' advocate," to investigate complaints of inaccurate and unfair news coverage by CBS News. When he finished, Mr. Baron received a rousing ovation from the audience composed of CBS shareholders, directors and staff. When the applause subsided, Mr. Tisch, who was presiding, said, "Mr. Baron, I'm not going to comment on the accuracy of everything that you say, but in 30 years of running annual meetings, that's the finest speech I've ever heard, and I congratulate you."

    Mr. Baron, who introduced himself as one who 63 years ago had known and dearly loved the late mother of CBS chairman William S. Paley, and as one of the founders of Americans for Democratic Action and the Liberal Party, pleaded for adoption of the ombudsman resolution. He said: "It would do a great deal to relieve the pressure. In this era of the most prosperous liberalism in the history of this country, we observe in the last year or two, especially with respect to Dan Rather, a remark- able lack of self-deprecation as to the impact he and others in your network are making upon part of the American population. We believe it's the majority.

    "For instance... two or three weeks ago, a multi- billion-dollar corporation, CBS, employing a multi- million-dollar anchorman, Dan Rather, cited the tax returns of the three current survivors of the primaries. And there at the bottom was the humble Dukakis with $100,000 plus. An Rather notes that Jesse Jackson, not quite as humble, earned $200,000 plus. And then Dan Rather, with respect to his erstwhile grand duel with Bush, refers to the fact that George Bush's tax return shows over $300,000. A Little class-consciousness there. And he makes a re- mark sufficient, as only be can, to indicate that the wealthiest of the three candidates is George Bush.

    "Weeks before that, Mr. Rather, day after day in his dungarees, earning I think $2.5 or $3 million a year (corrected) $3.5 million, was bemoaning the lot of the distressed farmers of the Midwest, and it was heart- rending and heartbreaking to see this multimillionaire bemoan the fate of our fellow Americans on the farm.

    "But only a year ago--there are hundreds of ex- CBS employees who will appreciate the liberalism of this vastly wealthy ostentatious organization-- when they pleaded with Dan Rather and others to redistribute the internal CBS wealth by salvaging some of those jobs, Dan Rather was not to be heard from. And so on the eve of the bicentennial of the French Revolution, I plead with my colleagues, please see yourself on occasion, once a year, as millions of Americans are beginning to see you. Please have an ombudsman to hear the kind of plea that I have just made. Thank you, Larry Tisch."

    Tisch Moved But Un budged

    Despite his praise of Murray Baron's eloquent criticism of Dan Rather's demagogic hypocrisy as the finest speech he had ever heard at a shareholders' meeting, Larry Tisch adamantly opposed both AIM's ombudsman resolution and a motion made by Reed Irvine that Dan Rather be fired.

    In moving that CBS dump Dan, Irvine pointed out that Walter Cronkite had said that Rather should be fired for having walked off the set, letting CBS go black for six minutes last September. He said it was too bad Cronkite's sound advice wasn't followed at that time. AIM's chairman then said: "Dan Rather seriously embarrassed CBS with his out-of-control interview of Vice President Bush on January 25. He and his staff violated CBS News standards by (a) employing misrepresentation in arranging the interview, and (b) failing to show either the will or intent to be objective. Even ABC's Sam Donaldson said after watching Rather's undignified performance, 'If I did that, they'd fire me, and they'd be right,'"

    Irvine said it was clear that the Bush interview went awry because it was never intended to be the "campaign portrait" that Bush was promised. It was clearly intended from the beginning as an effort to blow the Bush candidacy out of the water on the eve of the Iowa caucuses, Irvine contended. He charged that Rather had not been acting as a reporter, but as a player in the political process, trying to influence the outcome of an election.

    Irvine concluded: "It has long been known that Dan Rather suffers from a lack of personal integrity, but the recent revelations in books by Ed Joyce (former president of CBS News) and Peter Boyer (former CBS News employee now with The New York Times) of his deceit and duplicity, his egomania and his absurd posturing make it clear that in employing him, CBS is sending the message that it values commercialism over character. Here are petitions signed by 15,500 people who agree that CBS should dispense with the services of Dan Rather."

    Mr. Tisch was very distressed at this motion and tried to interrupt Irvine, declaring that he was "out of order" in impugning Rather's integrity and that the whole resolution was out of order. He acknowledged that he had not read Ed Joyce's book, Prime Times, Bad Times, which gives a devastating portrait of Rather, his conceits and deceits. He was advised to read the book before insisting that Rather was a man of flawless character. He said he intended to do so.

    The Full Rothenberg

    Mr. Tisch's unrestrained admiration for Dan Rather suggests that he is perhaps the victim of what is known around CBS News as "the full Rothenberg" treatment. Ed Joyce explains the origin of this expression in his book. He says it had been arranged for Fred Rothenberg, a young reporter for the Associated Press to spend a day with Rather as he did his job in the CBS newsroom. Joyce says this presented a problem. While Rather has the title of managing editor of the CBS Evening News, he doesn't actually perform the duties of managing editor. He frequently didn't arrive until late in the afternoon. While his requests or demands were usually respected, he did not normally engage in managerial supervision. However, things were different when the AP's Fred Rothenberg showed up to watch Dan in operation. Joyce writes:

    "The day young Rothenberg arrived, the editorial and production staff watched in amazement as Dan Rather premiered in the new role of the 'hard- charging managing editor.' But by all accounts his performance was a critical success. It got a glowing review in the Associated Press. 'It's 5 P.M., ninety minutes to airtime. Dan Rather is sitting at his horseshoe-shaped desk. Just another newsman, pounding a typewriter to beat another deadline.' Then contradicting itself, the AP said that before the broadcast 'Rather is managing editor.'

    "In breathless fashion the article described Rather on the phone, talking to field producers and correspondents, asking questions, filling gaps in stories, suggesting angles to pursue, on the phone with resources in Washington, following a hunch that something was about to happen in Lebanon, trying to decide whether CBS had enough people in the Middle East if there was a crisis. Our own 'Man for All Seasons,' Dan per- formed every newsroom role that day. AP pointed out that 'over the next hour and a half, Rather will write the copy that ties the "Evening News" into a 22- minute summary of the day's events.'

    This came as somewhat of a surprise to John Mosedale, a member of the Writers Guild of America who was under the impression that that's what he did. Editor Lee Townsend seemed taken aback when Rather, under Rothenberg's watchful eye, handed him a piece of copy Lee had already gone over with the admonition, 'Lee, trust your mother, but check it out.'

    The article concluded with the news that 'the job does not seem to have changed Rather or his lifestyle, except that his hair is grayer. He still lives in the same apartment, tries to jog two miles every morning and is disarmingly polite to everyone he meets.'

    "Rothenberg apparently believed that he saw a typical day in Dan Rather's professional life. Howard Stringer and Lane Venardos coined a phrase, which is used to this day to describe Dan's behavior whenever a reporter shows up. Heads nod in immediate understanding when told that 'Dan gave it the full Rothenberg.'" Asked if he had ever heard the expression, Larry Tisch said no, but in view of his statement that he had never met a man "who's harder working or more anxious to do the right thing" than Dan Rather, he has clearly experienced the "full Rothenberg."

    Dump Dan Petitions Presented

    Mr. Tisch at first said he wouldn't accept the two-foot high stack of petitions calling for Dan Rather's "impeachment" that AIM brought to the meeting. Asked why, he said, "Because I saw some of the fundraising stuff that went out under your name, and it's a joke." Asked what "fundraising stuff," Tisch replied, "That the congressman, Mr. Crane, signed."

    Irvine pointed out that he was referring to a letter sent out by an entirely different organization, Fair- ness in Media, that has no connection with AIM. He said AIM had not used its campaign to impeach Rather to raise funds, but it had collected signed petitions from AIM members and others and had promised to deliver them to Mr. Tisch. He said, "I respectfully ask that you receive them." Mr. Tisch replied, "Under those circumstances, I'll be glad to receive them."

    Cliff Kincaid, AIM's director of media analysis, ex- pressed astonishment that Mr. Tisch would confuse Accuracy in Media with another organization whose letter had apparently crossed his desk. He suggested that this indicated Mr. Tisch was not reading his correspondence carefully and that this might be an argument for an ombudsman, someone who could look into the letters that Mr. Tisch was not reading. Tisch replied: "That's a good argument."

    The Case for an Ombudsman

    Larry Tisch was not willing to concede that there was any merit to the other arguments AIM made for hiring an ombudsman. The AIM resolution had been included in the CBS proxy material distributed in advance to all shareholders. There it was supported by an account of how CBS had reacted to the complaint AIM made about Dan Rather's report on the CBS Evening News on March 30, 1987 that the U.S. Army had created and spread the AIDS virus, according to a Soviet publication.

    We pointed out that CBS News had refused to acknowledge that there was anything wrong with this story. It would not inform its viewers that this charge had been exposed by our State Department as Soviet disinformation five months before CBS aired it. Mr. Tisch had even defended the story at last year's annual meeting. Last October, when two eminent Soviet scientists denounced the charge that the U.S. had created and spread the AIDS virus, saying no reputable scientist believed that, CBS failed to report their statement.

    Asked to comment on this, Mr. Tisch said, "I con- suited with my news people, and they think it was handled properly. But I know that you have a continuing correspondence with Mr. Stringer (the president of CBS News). He pays very close attention to everything that you write. He takes it seriously."

    Peter Boyer points out in his new book, Who Killed GBS? That it has been the duty of the president of CBS News to defend to the death any CBS broad- cast that comes under fire. It has been AIM's experience that Howard Stringer takes that duty very seriously. We have yet to see a case in which he has acknowledged publicly that CBS has done any- thing wrong.

    Mr. Irvine pointed out that Stringer had been the executive producer of the 1982 documentary, "The Uncounted Enemy, A Vietnam Deception," which had resulted in CBS's being sued for libel by Gen. William C. Westmoreland. CBS's in-house investigation of this documentary, conducted by senior producer Burton Benjamin, had disclosed numerous serious violations of CBS news standards. This had been one of the rare occasions on which CBS News had made a thorough and honest investigation of violations of its rules and had made the results public. It made the investigation because a disgusted CBS employee had leaked information about the rule violations to TV Guide. It made the results public because it was ordered to do so by the judge in the Westmoreland libel suit.

    The only person to lose his job as a result of all this was Ira Klein, the whistleblower who had leaked the information about the violations to TV Guide. Some CBS News personnel complained bitterly about the report written by Burton Benjamin. It was too honest and too thorough for them. CBS successfully covered up for the main culprit in the case, producer George Crile. Ed Joyce indicates that he couldn't be fired because that would have made it more difficult to defend against Gen. Westmoreland's lawsuit.

    Despite all this, we are supposed to accept CBS's assurances that the news division can be relied upon to investigate objectively all complaints of inaccurate and unfair reporting and take appropriate corrective action. Larry Tisch was very emphatic about this. He said: "One thing I will not countenance, and I think that's my job at CBS, if I have any job at CBS, is unfairness in presentation of the news. I watch the news. I do not interfere with editorial policy. But the one thing I am concerned about is unfairness. And I can say to you, speaking for myself only, that every program that I've watched of Dan Rather's, he is fair. I know Dan Rather personally. I've never met a man who is harder working, more anxious to do the right thing. America knows that, and that's why he's No. 1. Now, that doesn't mean that in the course of years something can't go wrong. The only thing I can assure you is if something does go wrong, we will investigate it and make sure it's corrected."

    But when it came to specifics, Mr. Tisch was less confident and reassuring. Cliff Kincaid pressed him to explain why there had never been a correction of the story transmitting Soviet disinformation on AIDS. He also asked if he wasn't embarrassed by Dan Rather's interview of Vice President Bush. "Can you honestly stand up there and say that you thought Dan Rather was fair to the vice president?" he asked.

    Mr. Tisch passed over the AIDS disinformation issue, but he did give his reaction to the Bush inter- view, saying, "I wasn't so much disturbed about the broadcast as I was disturbed about the unfortunate ending of the broadcast. In fact, I discussed this with the vice president last week in California. I think Dan Rather had every right to pursue the questioning that he did. He was constrained at the end by time, and the abrupt ending, I think, led to a lot of the strong feelings about the broadcast. But I'm one who is not interested in deifying the presidency or the vice presidency. I think the American people have every right to know the full credentials of every candidate, and they can't hide behind the title senator, vice president or president...Dan Rather is a great reporter."

    Reminded that AIM had demonstrated that CBS News guidelines had been violated in the handling of the interview, Mr. Tisch said, "That's your assertion. That isn't the view of CBS News." When Cliff Kincaid pointed out that many professional colleagues, such as Nancy Dickerson of the Fox Television network had strongly criticized Rather's conduct of the inter- view, Mr. Tisch said, "What about saying some of the good things? You're standing there as if to say that we're supposed to do everything non-controversial, we're here to report the news as it is. Sometimes people will like what we do, and other times people won't like what we do. No matter what we do, we're going to report it honestly and fairly."

    Mr. Tisch insisted that no ombudsman was needed, "because we have a president of the news division who's on top of everything. He's the best man in the business, and he's 100 percent fair." Asked if it wasn't necessary to have an ombudsman who could enforce the CBS News standards, Mr. Tisch said, "We're not bringing a censor into the news division."

    That's an absurd distortion of the ombudsman's function, but our resolution was supported by only 2.8 per- cent of the shares voted, the lowest vote it has ever received from the CBS shareholders. This may be because we used the limited space available to us in the CBS proxy statement to describe how CBS had mishandled the AIDS disinformation story. We did not explain the function of the ombudsman, assuming it was generally understood. Not so. Even Larry Tisch doesn't understand it.

    Tom Shalesgate

    Despite Tisch's belief that CBS News president Howard Stringer is on top of everything and is 100 percent fair, it takes months in some cases to get CBS to reply to a complaint. The replies received are almost always evasive and unsatisfactory.

    Mr. Irvine suggested that Mr. Tisch would get a somewhat different picture of Howard Stringer from Ed Joyce's hook. Joyce notes that Stringer was ultimately responsible for both the badly flawed Westmoreland documentary and for a documentary called "Gay Power," which the National News Council ruled had violated CBS News standards.

    Irvine asked if CBS would try to find out the names of those people who have Nielsen "people meters" in their homes with a view to trying to curry favor with them to persuade them to keep their television sets tuned to CBS. Mr. Tisch said he would not do that.

    According to Ed Joyce, Irvine said, Howard Stringer had concluded that there is another kind of ratings system besides the Nielsen. This is the praise or abuse heaped upon a program by the TV critics in the major newspapers. Joyce said Stringer cultivated these critics, such as Tom Shales of The Washington Post, with a view to influencing what they wrote about CBS programs.

    "That's utter nonsense," said Mr. Tisch. "Every television producer, every head of entertainment, and every head of news talks to reporters. Does that mean you're currying favor to influence them? I doubt it."

    Irvine said the May-B AIM Report shows that Mr. Stringer has a very cozy relationship with Tom Shales, the TV critic for The Washington Post. He said he would send Mr. Tisch a copy of the report so he could see how far Stringer had gone.?

    He asked Tisch if he knew that Stringer had hired a close friend of Tom Shales' who had no previous experience in television as an associate producer for the CBS Morning News. Ed Joyce had said he was somewhat disturbed by this. Tisch replied, "I happened to have met this young man about three or four months ago. He had just graduated from the Harvard Business School, and he came to see me, talking about his career. This is one of the more attractive young people I've seen in many years. I would think that this man could hold a responsible job in any broadcasting organization."

    Irvine: That may well be. I'm not denying that, but my question is, did CBS News as a favor to Tom Shales hire him? Tisch: I doubt it very much. Irvine: Will you look into it? Tisch: Look, Mr. Joyce has his own point of view. He's entitled to it. Books are sold because they put in nonsense like this, and I think we ought to let it go at that.

    We pointed out in the last AIM Report that Tom Shales' young friend, Jim Miller, had been given a very good job by CBS News, had been taken to lunch by Ed Joyce, the president of CBS News, when he was hired, and had been honored at a party thrown by Dan Rather. Now we learn that none other than Larry Tisch has given him a job interview. But Mr. Tisch thinks its nonsense to suggest that this has anything to do with the efforts of CBS to butter up Miller's close friend, Tom Shales.

    What You Can Do

    Write to Laurence A. Tisch, President, CB8 Inc., 51 West 52nd St., New York, N.Y. 10019. At the annual meeting, Mr. Tisch, in effect, designated himself as the CBS ombudsman when he said that if he had any job at CBS it was to insure accuracy and fair- ness. Point out that he needs a tough, well-informed personal assistant to help him do this job, someone of the caliber of former Nixon White House aides Bruce Herschensohn and Raymond Price.

    We have referred to two books about CBS News that Larry Tisch ought to read, Prime Times, Bad Times by Ed Joyce and Who Killed CBS? by Peter Boyer. You should read them too. They are avail- able from AIM at a discount. See the Notes.

    AIM REPORT is published twice monthly by Accuracy In Media, Inc., 1275 K Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005, and is free to AIM members. Dues and contributions to AIM are tax deductible. The AIM Report is mailed 3rd class to those whose contribution is at least $15 a year and 1st class to those contributing $30 a year or more. Non-members subscriptions are $35 (1st class mail).


    THIS REPORT IS DEVOTED ENTIRELY TO THE CBS ANNUAL MEETING IN NEW YORK ON MAY 11, where, as a report on CNN put it, CBS President Laurence Tisch "had to fend off criticism of everything from poor ratings to Dan Rather's reporting." This report went on to say, "Tisch also found himself having to defend his network's anchorman, Dan Rather. (Rather was shown on the street surrounded by reporters with microphones). One self- proclaimed media watch group delivered a petition with 15,000 signatures calling for Rather's dismissal because of alleged biased reporting." I was then shown wearing my bright red "CAN DAN" cap saying, "What we have done is try to raise public consciousness about the terrible way in which CBS handles complaints from viewers." After showing former CBS News President Ed Joyce saying that CBS "was killed in an age of greed" by the superstars like Rather who were being paid enormous salaries, the report concluded: "One shareholder suggested the company might improve its ratings by putting the share- holders' meeting on the air. Said he, 'It's better than anything I've seen on the net- work this year.

    THE CLIPPING ON THE LEFT SUGGESTS THAT DAN RATHER didn't find all this very amusing. He may have been watching the meeting on closed circuit TV. If so, I'm sure he was upset when Larry Tisch praised Murray Baron's little speech about him as the finest he had ever heard at an annual meeting. Dan is known for his volatility. One can never be sure what causes him to erupt, but we have a hunch that our "Dump Dan" campaign got to him. Indeed, I believe it led to his firing Richard Cohen, the senior political producer of the CBS Evening News and the architect of the infamous ambush of Vice President Bush on Jan. 25.

    SHORTLY AFTER THAT INTERVIEW, COHEN TOLD A REPORTER that Rather had not handled it well. That displeased Rather, but Cohen didn't get the axe until March 8, when he was in- formed that Rather was unhappy with him. The reason given was that he had messed up a rehearsal for some interviews by being too aggressive in the replies that he, acting as the interviewee, was giving to Rather's questions. He was told there was no tape of the rehearsal, but one was located and was shown to a Washington Post reporter. The reporter said it showed a lot of good-humored joking by both Rather and Cohen, with nothing that would justify firing Cohen.

    WHY, THEN, DID DAN CAN COHEN? WE HAD JUST ISSUED a press release announcing our "Impeach Rather" campaign. The day before that interview rehearsal, AIM's Debby Lambert took a call from a young man who said he was Robert Rather, Dan's nephew. He had heard about our campaign from friends in the media, and he was very upset about it. He said he was in frequent touch with his uncle, and he probably told him of his conversation with Debby over the weekend. If so, it must have spoiled Dan's weekend. He probably brooded over the fact that Richard Cohen had gotten him into the mess with Bush. By Monday morning he had decided that Cohen, the architect of his woe had to go. And he went.

    IT WAS NOT ONLY AIM'S CRITICISM THAT HAD DAN RATHER ON EDGE ON JULY 11. HE HAD A greater cause for nervousness. For the second week in a row the CBS Evening News had come in second in the ratings competition behind ABC's World News Tonight with Peter Jennings. Despite Larry Tisch's claims at the meeting that Rather was No. 1, the last time he won the ratings competition was for the week ending April 22. As I write this, ABC has been in the lead for four weeks in a row, with CBS second and NBC lagging far behind in third place. Rather's ratings slipped from 10.4 on April 22 to 9.2 for the week ending May 20. ABC's ratings also fell in May, but it held on to a narrow 0.3 margin over CBS.

    IT WOULD BE PRESUMPTUOUS TO CLAIM THAT AIM'S "IMPEACH RATHER" CAMPAIGN WAS RESPONSIBLE for knocking him out of first place in the ratings, but it may well have been a factor in his fall. From the last week in January, right after the Bush interview, through May 25, we have given some 88 radio and TV interviews, and most of them were in whole or part about our criticisms of Rather and our demand that he be fired. After the initial flurry immediately following the Bush interview on January 25, most of these interviews were concentrated in March and April, after we formally launched our campaign. In the interviews I gave (others on our staff were also giving interviews) I tried to point out that it would not be our petition drive that would get Rather fired; it would be a fall in his ratings. What we were trying to do was inform the public about this man, and I said that hopefully our message would reach some of those who have Nielsen people meters attached to the TV sets. If it did, we could affect Rather's ratings. Our own radio program, "Media Monitor," which is now carried on nearly 200-radio stations helped spread the message.

    ALL OF OUR GOOD MEMBERS WHO HELPED BY CIRCULATING PETITIONS, DISTRIBUTING EXTRA copies of our AIM Report, "Why CBS Should Fire Dan Rather," displaying and distributing "Dump Dan" and "Impeach Rather" bumper stickers, and placing ads in local papers deserve a lot of credit. Ads placed by AIM, including four tiny "reader notices" on the front page of The New York Times resulted in excellent publicity in such large circulation papers as the New York Daily News, the New York Post, and Newsday. We will never know how much all this contributed to Rather's fall in the ratings, but we can say that during this critical period it was AIM and its members who were actively engaged in exposing Dan Rather for what he is and what he is not. What he is not is an appropriate role model for young journalists. He is also not worth the $3.6 million a year CBS pays him.

    WHILE WE HAVE ENDED THE PETITION DRIVE, THERE IS NO REASON WE SHOULD NOT CONTINUE to raise public consciousness about Dan Rather. We still have a few thousand bumper stickers available at 50 cents each or 10 for $2.50. We had a letter the other day from a member in Texas who called attention to the great value of these stickers. He wrote: "I was stopped for speeding (I was guilty). The state trooper liked my bumper sticker so much he let me off with a warning." You might want to carry an extra one in your car that you can share with a friendly state trooper in case you ever have a similar experience. Our "CAN DAN" caps and "IMPEACH RATHER" T-shirts didn't prove as popular as our bumper stickers, and we have quite a few left. If any of you have any good ideas for using them, get in touch with Debby Lambert (202-371-6710). We'll let them go at fire-sale prices. Maybe we could ship them to the Nicaraguan freedom fighters. Would anyone like to underwrite that? The caps might be especially popular in Managua, where President Daniel Ortega is not very popular.

    WITH ALL THIS ATTENTION BEING GIVEN TO RATHER AND CBS, DON'T THINK THAT WE HAVE BEEN ignoring the others. AIM was at the annual meetings of the Washington Post Co. and Capital Cities/ABC in mid-May. We will be discussing these in some detail in the next AIM Report. At the Post meeting, we raised, among other things, the scandalous conduct of Bob Woodward and Tom Shales, both subjects of recent AIM Reports. The Post is eager to expose scandals in government, but it has no interest in exposing its own.

    THE CAPITAL CITIES/ABC MEETING IN CHICAGO WAS UNUSUAL IN THAT I WAS THE ONLY PERSON in the audience who had any questions or comments to make. Roone Arledge, the president of ABC News, was present to help Chairman Tom Murphy field the questions. One question I raised was about a broadcast on ABC's "World News Tonight" on May 16. Chief correspondent Richard Threlkeld had revealed that an Oregon real estate operator named Richard Brenneke had claimed to have some very damaging information about Vice President Bush. Brenneke claimed that he had told the vice president's national security adviser, Donald Gregg, about planes that were being used to supply arms to the Nicaraguan freedom fighters also being used to bring drugs into this country. Threlkeld had flashed a phone number on the screen from Brenneke's phone logs. The implication was that this was proof that Brenneke had called Gregg. I pointed out that it was not Gregg's number. It was the phone number of Bush's military aide, Lt. Col. Douglas Menarchik. In 1986, Brenneke first surfaced in the press with stories that he had been involved in an arms deal with Iran. He said then that he had called Col. Menarchik three times about this deal. That explains why Menarchik's phone number was in his log. At that time Brenneke told some reporters he had worked for the CIA and others that he had never worked for the government, including the CIA. He told some that he was dealing in arms and others that he was not an arms dealer. He had talked at length to the Iran arms investigating committees. They made no mention of his testimony in their final report, apparently not thinking it credible. At that time, Brenneke never claimed to have any connection with Central America or drugs. Since then he has become associated with a leftist organization called the Center for Development Policy and he has a new story. ABC and Newsweek both bit on it, apparently without even checking such a simple thing as Donald Gregg's phone number. We have asked Roone Arledge to investigate this and also to tell its viewers about the discrepancies in Brenneke's stories.

    WE ARE ADDING SEVERAL NEW BOOKS TO OUR BOOK LIST AND I COMMEND THEM TO YOU. FIRST, there are the two books about CBS mentioned in this report, PRIME TIMES, BAD TIMES by Ed Joyce, the former president of CBS News. It's a "kiss and tell" book by a man who was fired in large part because of the machinations of Dan Rather. He has a lot of interesting things to say about Rather and other CBS personalities. The other one is WHO KILLED CBS? by Peter J. Boyer, media correspondent for The New York Times, who also once worked for CBS News. Boyer's book covers a lot of the same ground as Joyce's, but it provides a more objective perspective. Both books deal largely with personalities, the rivalries and the fights. They say relatively little about the product these personalities produce--the news--from the point of view of its accuracy and fairness. When you read these exposes of the personal dishonesty of the personnel you can better understand why honesty is not the hallmark of their product. Both books are very interesting. PRICES: Prime Times, Bad Times $13.95 (30% off list) + $2.50 for mailing costs
    Who Killed CBS? $13.25 (30% off list) + $2.00 " " "

    WILLIAM RUSHER, THE PUBLISHER OF NATIONAL REVIEW, HAS JUST COME OUT WITH A NEW BOOK, THE COMING BATTLE FOR THE MEDIA, CURBING THE POWER OF THE MEDIA ELITE. Rusher contends that the media today are highly partisan participants in the political process and that "they will have to be recognized, challenged, and defeated as such, or allowed to prevail and participate in a renewed liberal dominance of the American society." He brings together a mass of evidence, statistical and anecdotal, to prove his point. Some of it will be familiar to readers of the AIM Report. All of it will be useful ammunition to those who are writing, speaking, or debating on media issues. It will be an excellent gift to anyone not yet convinced, including an adopted journalist. PRICE: $13.25 + $1.50

    COVERT CADRE BY S. STEVEN POWELL IS A MONUMENTAL STUDY OF THE INSTITUTE FOR POLICY Studies, the left wing think tank in Washington. In an introduction that is almost worth the price of the book itself, David Horowitz, a reformed far leftist, describes the IPS as populated by people who are laying siege to democracy's defenses and crippling its resistance to the totalitarian advance. Powell exposes the help they get from the media. PRICE: $15.95 (47% off list) + $2.50

    COVERT CADRE BY S. STEVEN POWELL IS A MONUMENTAL STUDY OF THE INSTITUTE FOR POLICY Studies, the left wing think tank in Washington. In an introduction that is almost worth the price of the book itself, David Horowitz, a reformed far leftist, describes the IPS as populated by people who are laying siege to democracy's defenses and crippling its resistance to the totalitarian advance. Powell exposes the help they get from the media. PRICE: $15.95 (47% off list) + $2.50

    Page 10 ROLL CALL May 29, 1988

    AIM Targets Reporters For Free Advice Accuracy in Media, the conservative watchdog organization, has come up with a novel way to deliver its opinions to liberal reporters, according to Deborah Lambert, director of public affairs. For a special subscription rate of $5, AIM members can "adopt a journalist" and send him the group's monthly newsletter, the AIM Report. "Many journalists feel neglected by those they serve," says editor Reed Irvine. "They don't get much feedback. Their adopters might help them feel less neglected." Adopters are encouraged not only to pay for gift subscriptions, to keep track of how recipients' opinions change as a result of reading AIM's dispatches. The May issue of the AIM Report features a long attack on Bob Woodward's book Veil, by conservative writer Victor Lasky, and an update on AIM's effort to "impeach" CBS anchorman Dan Rather, a leading candidate for adoption. Other adopters recommended by AIM include: Sam Donaldson (ABC) John Chancellor (NBC) Chris Wallace (NBC) Tom Wicker (New York Times) Anthony Lewis (New York Times) Mary McGrory (Washington Post) Colman McCarthy (Washington Post) Richard Harwood (Washington Post) Richard Cohen (Washington Post) Stephen Rosenreid (Washington Post)
    -- B.T.


    OUR ADOPT-A-JOURNALIST PROGRAM, ANNOUNCED IN THE LAST AIM Report is off to a good start. We already have 20 adopters. They include the editorial page editor of The New York Times, the political editor of New York magazine, managing editors of the Arkansas Democrat and the Orlando Sentinel, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, and a couple of radio station news directors. Surprisingly, only one TV network correspondent has been adopted.

    THE BIG TV NAMES AND THE EVEN MORE IMPORTANT PEOPLE WHO work behind the scenes in TV are being neglected. Won't you take pity on these neglected souls and take them in? Here are some suggestions, but you pick anyone you like.

    ANCHORMEN CBS, NBC, ABC Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings NEWS PRESIDENTS Howard Stringer Lawrence Grossman, Roone Arledge EXEC. PRODUCERS (evening news), Tom Bettan, Bill Wheatley Paul Friedman WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS Bill Plante, Chris Wallace, Sam Donaldson Lesley Stahl Andrea Mitchell, Sheila Kast WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEFS Joe Peyronin, Robert McFarland, George Watson

    THERE ARE PLENTY OF OTHERS THAT YOU CAN CHOOSE, WHETHER from your own community or someone on the national scene. If you choose someone nationally prominent, please list a couple of alternate selections in case your first choice, is already taken.

    SEND AIM THE NAME OF YOUR CHOICE (and address if it is someone local) and $5.00 (or more). We will send your adoptee the AIM Report for a year. This is being subsidized by gifts to support the program. We will send you a certificate of adoption with some suggestions. Use the form below to adopt a journalist, make a gift to support the program, or to order books or bumper stickers.
    TO: AIM, 1275 K St., N. W., Washington, D.C. 20005
    Order Form Price Shpg. Total

    ( )Check enclosed ( )Charge VISA/MasterCard #__________________Total___________
    Exp.______ Name______________________________________________________


    City State zip

    Like What You Read?

    Back To AIM Report Section

    AIM Main Page