Accuracy in Media

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Logo of Accuracy in Media.

Accuracy In Media (AIM) is an American, politically conservative[1] non-profit news media watchdog founded in 1969 by economist Reed Irvine. AIM describes itself as "a non-profit, grassroots citizens watchdog of the news media that critiques botched and bungled news stories and sets the record straight on important issues that have received slanted coverage."

History[edit]

At its inception, Accuracy In Media was run primarily by Reed Irvine and then-executive secretary Abraham Kalish. The two sent letters to the editors of many newspapers and magazines they identified as skewed, calling out slanted news stories. If the newspaper rejected the letter, AIM bought space and printed the letter in that newspaper. Beginning in 1975, Accuracy In Media began purchasing stock in major media companies, allowing Irvine to attend annual shareholder meetings. He used these opportunities to express AIM's concerns to the various companies' owners. Don Irvine, son of the elder Irvine, chairs the organization. Don Irvine referred to Reed Irvine as a "die-hard anti-communist."[2]

In 1972, Accuracy In Media began publishing the AIM Report, a twice-monthly newsletter originally edited by Reed Irvine. Cliff Kincaid and Roger Aronoff, AIM Senior Editor and AIM Executive Secretary and Media Analyst, respectively, continue to handle the publication, as well as daily online updates. The AIM Report often calls on its subscribers to contact newsmakers, reporters and news corporations to end perceived liberal media bias.

AIM's work[edit]

Human rights[edit]

In 1982, New York Times reporter Raymond Bonner broke the story of the El Mozote massacre. This report was strongly criticized by AIM and the Reagan White House, and Bonner was pressured into business reporting, later deciding to resign. Although the report was embarrassing to the Reagan administration, who was heavily aiding the right-wing junta at the time, skeletons unearthed a decade later confirmed the original story's veracity.[3] AIM was critical of journalist Helen Marmor, who in 1983 produced a documentary for NBC concerning the Russian Orthodox Church.[4] AIM contended that "it ignored the repressive religious policies of the Soviet state".

Vincent Foster conspiracy theory[edit]

AIM received a substantial amount of funding from Richard Mellon Scaife who paid Christopher W. Ruddy to investigate allegations that President Bill Clinton was connected to the suicide of Vincent Foster.[5] AIM contended that "Foster was murdered",[6] which is contrary to three independent reports including one by Kenneth Starr.[7] AIM faulted the media for not picking up on the conspiracy.[8] The organization even went to court for documents and recordings linked to the case.[citation needed]

AIM credited much of its reporting on the Foster case to Ruddy.[9] Yet, his work was called a "hoax" and "discredited" by conservatives such as Ann Coulter,[10] it was also disputed by the American Spectator, which caused Scaife to end his funding of the Arkansas Project with the publisher.[11] As CNN explained on February 28, 1997, "The [Starr] report refutes claims by conservative political organizations that Foster was the victim of a murder plot and coverup", but "despite those findings, right-wing political groups have continued to allege that there was more to the death and that the president and First Lady tried to cover it up".[12]

Ruddy operates a conservative news website, NewsMax, that, as of 2004, continued to assert there was a conspiracy and faulted the media.[13]

United Nations[edit]

AIM has been critical of the United Nations and its coverage by the media. In February 2005, AIM alleged that United Nations correspondents, including Ian Williams, a correspondent for The Nation had accepted money from the UN while covering it for their publications. AIM also asserted that the United Nations Correspondents Association may have violated immigration laws by employing the wife of Williams.[14][15] Williams and The Nation denied wrongdoing.[16][17] The charges were reiterated by FrontPage Magazine [18] and the allegation concerning Williams receiving UN cash was picked up by Brit Hume and the Fox News Channel.[18]

Cliff Kincaid and Fox News Channel[edit]

In November 2005, AIM columnist Cliff Kincaid criticized Fox News for broadcasting a program The Heat is On, which reported that global warming represents a serious problem (the program was broadcast with a disclaimer). Kincaid argued the piece was one-sided and stated that this "scandal" amounted to a "hostile takeover of Fox News".[19]

On October 20, 2006, Accuracy in Media released a list of 27 questions to pose at the Fox News Executive meeting that was attended by AIM editor Cliff Kincaid.[20][21] Of these 27 questions, 8 dwell on Rupert Murdoch's relationship with the Clintons and how that may have affected Fox News coverage.[20] Moreover, AIM wrote "News Corporation hired the Glover Park Group, a public relations firm run by friends of Bill and Hillary Clinton, to block changes in the TV ratings system", and asks, "Was this part of News Corporation's move to the left?"[20]

In May 2007, Accuracy in Media raised questions about a conflict of interest in Fox News' co-sponsorship of the May 15 Republican Presidential Candidates debate, pointing out that News Corporation, the parent company of Fox News, is as a client of presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani.[22]

Funding[edit]

Only three donors of the remainder[clarification needed] are given by name: the Allied Educational Foundation (founded and chaired by George Barasch), Shelby Cullom Davis, and billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife. Scaife gave $2 million to Accuracy in Media between 1977 and 1997.[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^
  2. ^ Obituary of Reed Irvine, 82 Washington Post. November 18, 2004
  3. ^ http://www.consortiumnews.com/2007/012907.html
  4. ^ Group Watch Profile: Accuracy In Media
  5. ^ Trudy Lieberman. The Vincent Foster Factory. Columbia Journalism Review, April 1996.
  6. ^ AIM Report: Evidence Proving Foster Was Murdered July 1, 2001
  7. ^ Full text of the report on the 1993 death of White House counsel Vincent W. Foster, Jr., compiled by Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr. After an exhaustive three-year investigation, Starr reaffirmed that Foster's death was a suicide
  8. ^ Vincent Foster Murder Evidence Accuracy in Media.
  9. ^ See: Notes Section for "Chris Ruddy" The Case Against James T. Riady, Accuracy in Media 2001.
  10. ^ "Even if Christopher Ruddy's The Strange Death of Vincent Foster was considered a conservative hoax book, it was also conservatives who discredited it." Chapter Six Endnote 105, pp. 224–225, Slander, Ann Coulter.
  11. ^ Anti-Clinton Billionaire Goes Before Grand JuryWashington Post, September 29, 1998
  12. ^ Report: Starr Rules Out Foul Play In Foster Death CNN Feb. 23, 1997
  13. ^ Supreme Court Shields Photos of Vince Foster's Death Scene NewsMax March 30, 2004
  14. ^ Accuracy in Media press release, "U.N. Reporters Group May Have Violated U.S. Immigration Law", February 22, 2005
  15. ^ Cliff Kincaid, "Journalists Exposed on the U.N. Payroll; George Soros, Ted Turner Pay for Journalism Prizes" Accuracy in Media, February 15, 2005
  16. ^ The Nation, "In fact ...", February 24, 2005
  17. ^ Ian Williams, "Confessions of a Payola Pundit", Mediachannel.org, February 23, 2005
  18. ^ a b Alyssa A. Lappen, "Another U.N. Scandal", FrontPage Magazine, March 16, 2005
  19. ^ Cliff Kincaid, "Hostile Takeover of Fox News", November 21, 2005
  20. ^ a b c "Questions for News Corporation Chairman Rupert Murdoch and Fox News Executives at News Corporation Annual Meeting". Accuracy in Media. October 20, 2006. Retrieved October 20, 2006. 
  21. ^ "Watchdog critic frets about Fox's 'leftward' slant". Raw story. October 20, 2006. Archived from the original on November 5, 2006. Retrieved October 20, 2006. 
  22. ^ "News Corporation is as a client of Rudy Giuliani". [dead link]
  23. ^ Arkansas Project Led to Turmoil and Rifts Washington Post May 2, 1999; Page A24

External links[edit]