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Letter to the Weekly Standard

Press Release

Related Media Monitors and Columns

Reed Irvine's Letter to the Chairman of CNN

Reed Irvine's Letter to the Managing Editor of TIME

Letter to the Weekly Standard

CNN NewsStand
June 7 Transcript

CNN NewsStand
June 14 Transcript

TIME Magazine
June 15, 1998


Accuracy In Media

June 24, 1998

Correspondence Editor
The Weekly Standard
1150 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036

To the editor:

I commend Eric Felten for his article, "CNN and Time’s Poisonous Smear." He did a good job of exposing the shoddy reporting that went into the CNN program and the Time article by Peter Arnett and April Oliver with respect to the charge that the U.S. had used deadly nerve gas in Operation Tailwind. CNN and Time also charged that the purpose of the operation was to find and kill American military defectors in Laos. That is equally false. There weren’t any known U.S. military defectors in Laos, and none of the participants in Operation Tailwind interviewed by CNN said that the mission had anything to do with finding any.

You should make one important correction. Felten said Adm. Thomas H. Moorer, 87, was "mixed up" and is living in a nursing home. Adm. Moorer, 86, lives with his wife in a fine retirement complex, plays golf three times a week and is mentally alert. He was last interviewed by the CNN producers on June 6, the day before their first program aired. They were still trying to get him to confirm that nerve gas had been used. He had already told them that he he had no involvement in Operation Tailwind and had not read any of the plans or after-action reports about it. In this last, unscheduled interview, he said only that he had heard rumors about the use of nerve gas. They converted "rumors" into "verbal statements." Adm. Moorer has said that he has since studied the official Pentagon reports and that they make it clear that the only gas used was CS, tear gas. He says CNN and Time should retract their charges and apologize to the veterans and members of the armed services whom they have defamed and to the people they have misled.

Tom Johnson, the chairman and CEO of CNN, and Walter Isaacson, the managing editor of Time, have both told me last week that they were conducting thorough investigations of their reporting and if they found they had "blown it" they would say so. They should follow the example set by NBC in the scandal of Dateline NBC faking of crash tests of GM pickup trucks and fire those responsible for perpetrating this hoax.

Sincerely yours,

Reed Irvine

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