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 Trained as an economist who worked 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.
Reed’s Legacy Lives On
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 training program 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.
As we talked with Reed during his final days, we told him about our protest against Dan Rather outside CBS offices in Washington, D.C., after the anchorman got caught using bogus documents in a broadcast designed to discredit President Bush. Reed had started the campaign to “Can Dan” 16 years ago.
Now, Rather, a disgraced and bitter partisan, is being forced out of the anchorman’s chair. If he had only listened to Reed Irvine and had followed his advice over the years, Rather could be retiring in honor and dignity, rather than presiding over a floundering newscast characterized by flaming liberal bias and dwindling viewers.
Reed’s AIM is a central reason why so many people react with skepticism to what is on CBS and the other networks today.
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.
While he was a staunch anti-communist with conservative beliefs and views on most issues, he did not let the conservative movement or its personalities off the hook when he found them failing to relentlessly pursue the truth.
Reed’s purpose in life wasn’t just to get along and pass the time. He was determined to make a difference, and he did. He tackled controversial issues and scandals that both sides of the political spectrum wanted to be left alone.
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.” His service continues through AIM. The cause lives.
REMEMBERING REED IRVINE
“What others might not see about Reed Irvine as clearly as I do is this: His important work led directly to the solution to the problems he fought so hard to expose. Without fully understanding the institutional problem of media bias, how could we ever overcome it?
“I like to think I’ve had a role in launching the New Media. Let me say that without the extraordinary work of Reed Irvine dating back 35 years, even people like me?media insiders?would never have grasped the extent of institutional problems within the industry.
“Without the crusading work of Reed Irvine, I’m not sure we would have had the increased competition we have today as a result of the birth of the New Media.
“My background was quite different from Reed Irvine’s. But all I have accomplished in the last seven years?with the creation of WorldNetDaily, WND Books, a daily talk-radio show, a syndicated column?would not have been possible without the important, ground-breaking work done by Reed Irvine. That’s the truth. I owe him a lot. America owes him a lot.
– Joseph Farah, founder and editor, WorldNetDaily
“I wished that all conservatives were like him. If they were the battle would be already won?For nearly two decades he hammered away at the leftist media; he made the powers in media uncomfortable. He afflicted the comfortable and was a comfort to the afflicted. And lo his irrepressible agitation for two decades at a time in life when he had earned the right to relax and devote himself to himself, bore fruit for the rest of us.
“The leftist media is on the defensive; its ratings are falling, its audiences dwindling, its credibility at an all-time low. For the first time in the modern history of American elections the leftist media has real conservative competition and has been beaten at its own game.
“And among the many who are responsible for this victory, and for the fact that their country is now better armed against its internal foes, none is more so than Reed Irvine.”
– David Horowitz, president, Center for the Study of Popular Culture
“Before Bernie Goldberg wrote ‘Biased,’ before Matt Drudge, before The Media Research Center, NewsMax, WorldNetDaily, and scores of other ‘new media’ venues, there was AIM picking at the media scabs of bias, complacency, and hubris.”
– Geoff Metcalf, radio talk show host, Liberty Broadcasting
“Today, 35 years later, thanks to Reed Irvine, the credibility of the media is now in question. What they tell the nation is no longer taken for granted as being the truth, whole and unvarnished, but instead is always open to scrutiny and suspicion. Reed’s weapon in this unequal battle was the group he founded, Accuracy in Media.
“Year after year, under his guidance, AIM slowly chipped away at the foundations of the media establishment, showing them to be brittle and assailable even by the smallest of jackhammers when in the hands of the determined and skilled craftsman Reed gathered around himself.”
– Phil Brennan, NewsMax.com
“Reed Irvine was, at times, a harsh critic of the television news industry and me in particular, but throughout the many years that I knew him, he was never anything but courtly and personally gracious. Just as I would insist that all other enterprises in our society benefit from the presence of a critical and fearless press, so, too, the press benefits from being held to high and occasionally harsh standards. Reed Irvine fulfilled that function to the greater good of all.”
– Ted Koppel, ABC News, as quoted by Human Events.
“I think he was the first to really sound the trumpet of liberal bias. 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.”
– Michael Hoyt, executive editor, Columbia Journalism Review, as quoted by the Washington Post
“Reed Irvine was a teacher. He taught me how to listen to the news, to hear the truth behind what was being said. So many are now continuing his legacy, all the insights will live on because he chose to stand up and then, as all good teachers do, he passed on his wisdom?”
– Frances Eno
“I am indeed sorry to hear of the passing of our friend and fellow crusader for truth. He was kind enough to visit me in the early 1980’s in my hometown of Hartwell, Georgia for a speaking engagement I had arranged. His overnight stay in my home was one of the top honors of my life.
“Reed Irvine was a great patriot. I am honored to have known him, if only for a brief time.”
– Tom Hardigree
“Mr. Irvine accomplished so much more than I ever dreamed would be possible. He was dedicated and persevering. I am very thankful for the life of Reed Irvine. We shall miss him and put our trust in those who follow to keep up his legacy. I am sure you will!!”
– Ann (Caddell) Crawford
“It was Reed and AIM that brought me to Washington, D.C., in the summer of 1989 for an internship, and it was at Reed’s hands that I learned something about being a reporter and not merely an editorialist. I will always remember him with fondness and with the deepest respect.”
– Scott P. Richert, Executive Editor, Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture
“I came upon AIM a few years ago. And I really appreciate what you all do. I am sorry for our loss of Mr. Irvine. Because of AIM and even the Dan Rathers of the world, I do not watch CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN anymore. I just feel like I am not getting the whole story. And I was totally turned off by what Dan Rather did to our president, and CNN’s coverage of the war.”
– Sarah Hamilton
“It saddens me to know that one of the leaders of the Conservative Movement has departed this earth and we will no longer have him to fight the good fight for us anymore. I subscribed to the AIM Report in the early 80’s and am aware of the lonely battle that Reed fought against the powerful Big Media.
“At the time, he indeed did stand alone as David vs. Goliath. I often wondered why he took such abuse from the Media when he would be the only conservative on a panel and could hardly get a word in edgewise. But he was leading the battle and Reed can be proud of the legacy that he leaves behind.
“It is folks like Reed and his AIM Report who stuck in there during the trying times who have made it possible for we Conservatives to be in the political position that we are in today.
“I hope that Reed was able to bask in the realization that his battle was not in vain during his last days. I know that I am thankful and grateful that there are men, like Reed, who are willing to fight against terrible odds and in the end come out a winner.”
– Boyd Smith
“There was something almost childlike about Reed’s unflagging belief and confidence that a wayward mainline media could be held to account.
“He critiqued their errors and omissions better than any journalism teacher, and kept at it for three long decades.
A Fulbright scholar, who could debate with the best of them, Reed Irvine never felt challenged by the most powerful of journalists, politicians or even presidents.
“The most inspirational facet of Reed Irvine’s personality was his refusal to ever give up, even with all odds stacked against him. Although it’s sad to have to alter the vision of this bustle of energy into more quiet memory, his legacy outlives him. Reed would be so proud to see how his son, Don, and gutsy AIM editor, Cliff Kincaid, carry on with that memory.
“The name Reed Irvine is indelible in the world of journalism. You can rest in peace, restless hero of the little guy. For it is your legacy that continues to give the free world a chance.”
– Judi McLeod, founding editor, Canada Free Press
“Before Media Research Center, before WorldNetDaily, before conservative talk radio and thousands of sharp-eyed (and sharp- tongued) bloggers, Reed Irvine set out in cowboy fashion to keep the liberal media honest.
“Thirty-five years ago, Reed was the only game in town. As founder and chairman of Accuracy In Media, Irvine fearlessly punctured media myths, wrote reports to set the record straight, and was the scourge of every newscaster from Walter Cronkite to Dan Rather. He even tarred conservatives when they needed tarring.
“The media are on notice that their liberal bias will no longer be tolerated, as measured by falling ratings and the rise of new, more balanced outlets. As the Lone Ranger of media accountability is laid to rest, his greatest legacy, apart from his family, is that AIM is no longer riding alone, but is an important part of what’s become a full-blown posse.”
-Robert Knight, Director, Culture & Family Institute, Concerned Women for America
“This country needs more of his type…he reminds me of a quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin: ‘It is the job of newspapers to be the watchdogs of liberty.’
“I, for one, feel strongly that the newspapers ( and TV and radio) have almost totally failed to live up to that challenge……….with the exception of Reed Irvine and his organization.”
– Mark Edward Marchiafava
“It wasn’t until this year’s forged document fiasco that many people realized the extent of the contempt CBS News and Dan Rather hold for conservatives. Not so with Irvine. He said CBS was ‘Rather Biased’ and urged the network to ‘Dump Dan’ back in the 1980s. He was wise to Peter Arnett long before CNN fired the veteran reporter for his sloppy and politically-motivated reporting…He was 82 at the time of his death, but had the heart and the stamina of someone half his age even in his final years. He will be missed.”-
-David W. Almasi, executive director, National Center for Public Policy Research
“I will always revere Mr. Irvine for all the help and encouragement he gave me in my many battles with the press.
“When USA Today printed a false report about a ‘medical marijuana hoax’ issue. I was going round and round with the aides to then-Editor Karen Jurgenson. Reed suggested I go to their stockholder meeting. I told him, ‘I don’t own any stock there, Reed.’ He countered, ‘I do. You can go as my proxy!’
“I did and learned after speaking 2.5 minutes that I could either ‘wrap up’ or come back to the microphone. Well, I went back to the microphone 5 times to tell the whole story.”
– Joyce Nalepka, President, America’s Children Drug-Free
“I think AIM really was the fountainhead of the effort to denounce the liberal media, and create the image of the mainstream media as very liberal. And that effort has proved quite successful.”
-Alex S. Jones, director, the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, as quoted by the New York Times.
“Reed 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 a 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.”
– Brent Bozell, President, Media Research Center
“Truly, may God Bless Reed Irvine and all of those Davids in the world who are not afraid to look Goliath in the eyes and sling the stone, that will one day prayerfully, deliver the final blow.
“I’m old enough to remember when Reed Irvine first emerged onto the scene. In those days, the idea that a layman could criticize the Mainstream Media was heresy. Reed was called a lot of names: wild-eyed, kook, and radical right-winger. But in due time Reed, like David, became the bedeviler of Goliath. In fact, over the years, his stature grew until he became a giant himself, a force to be reckoned with by the self-satisfied liberal media moguls.”
– William A. Henslee
“I was sad to read of the death of Mr. Irvine. His no-nonsense commentary enlivened the Free Press editorial page here in Chattanooga. He will be missed.”
– Steve Barrett, Chattanooga Times Free Press
“All of those who knew Reed will miss him and his important contributions to truth in journalism. All of us who have been associated with AIM over the years truly appreciate your fine work in continuing Reed’s legacy.”
– William H. Ball, Jr.
What You Can Do
Send cards and letters to George Stephanopoulos and Ted Koppel of ABC News. Also, please contribute to our special Reed Irvine Journalism Fund.
Mr. George Stephanopoulos
Host, This Week
1717 DeSales St.
Washington, D.C. 20036
Mr. Ted Koppel
1717 DeSales St.
Washington, D.C. 20036