Accuracy in Media
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Type of site
Accuracy In Media (AIM) is an American 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." It has been described as having a politically conservative stance.
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. Reed's son, Don, chairs the organization. Don Irvine referred to his father as a "die-hard anti-communist." In 1990, Irvine was noted by Walter Goodman of the New York Times for "...his efforts to put pressure on networks and advertisers to crack down on reporters to whom he takes exception do not mark him as an enthusiast of unfettered expression." Following Irvine's death in 2004, an editorial in the Columbia Journalism Review said that "[Irvine] was stone blind to his own prejudices, and he could be scurrilous and unfair in his attacks, but he knew something about our major media..." and credited Irvine in part for the rise of the popular conservative view that the American media is imbued with a liberal bias.
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.
In 1982, New York Times reporter Raymond Bonner broke the story of the El Mozote massacre in El Salvador. The report was strongly criticized by AIM and the Reagan administration, and Bonner was pressured into business reporting, later deciding to resign. Although the report was embarrassing to the Reagan administration, which was heavily aiding the right-wing junta at the time; skeletons unearthed a decade later confirmed the original story's veracity. AIM was critical of journalist Helen Marmor, who in 1983 produced a documentary for NBC concerning the Russian Orthodox Church. AIM contended that "it ignored the repressive religious policies of the Soviet state."
Vincent Foster conspiracy theory
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 Vince Foster. AIM contended that "Foster was murdered", which is contrary to three independent reports including one by Kenneth Starr. AIM faulted the media for not picking up on the conspiracy, and applied itself for FOIA disclosure of Foster's death-scene photographs. Its suit to compel disclosure was denied by the District Court of Columbia in a summary judgment, unanimously affirmed by the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
AIM credited much of its reporting on the Foster case to Ruddy. Yet, his work was called a "hoax" and "discredited" by conservatives such as Ann Coulter, it was also disputed by the American Spectator, which caused Scaife to end his funding of the Arkansas Project with the publisher. 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."
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. Williams and The Nation denied wrongdoing. The charges were reiterated by FrontPage Magazine and the allegation concerning Williams receiving UN cash was picked up by Brit Hume and the Fox News Channel.
Cliff Kincaid's climate change denial and Fox News Channel
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."
On October 20, 2006, Accuracy in Media released a list of twenty-seven questions to pose at the Fox News executive meeting that was attended by AIM editor Kincaid. Of these questions, eight dwell on Rupert Murdoch's relationship with the Clintons, and how that may have affected Fox News's coverage. 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 asked, "Was this part of News Corporation's move to the left?"
In May 2007, Accuracy in Media raised questions about a conflict of interest in Fox News's co-sponsorship of the May 15 Republican presidential candidates debate, pointing out that News Corporation, the parent company of Fox News, is a client of then presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani.
A minimum of eight separate oil companies are known to have been contributors in the early 80s. Only three donors 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.
- "Follow-Up: Interview With Accuracy in Media Editor Cliff Kincaid", The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News, February 8, 2005. (Transcript available via LexisNexis)
- Stephen Miller, "Reed Irvine, 82, Founded Accuracy in Media", New York Sun, November 18, 2004.
- Douglas Martin, "Murray Baron, 94, Labor Lawyer And Head of Accuracy in Media", New York Times, September 26, 2002.
- "Defining Bias Downward", Columbia Journalism Review, January/February 2005.
- Steve Rendall. The Fairness Doctrine Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting January/February 2005
- Callahan, David (2010). Fortunes of change : the rise of the liberal rich and the remaking of America. Hoboken, N.J.: J. Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN 978-0470177112.
- Obituary of Reed Irvine, 82, washingtonpost.com, November 18, 2004.
- Goodman, Walter (17 June 1990). "TV VIEW; Let's Be Frank About Fairness And Accuracy". New York TImes. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
- Hoyt, Mike (5 January 2005). "Defining Bias Downward: Holding Political Power to Account Is Not Some Liberal Plot". Columbua Journalism Review. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
- Group Watch Profile: Accuracy In Media
- Lieberman, Trudy (April 1996). "The Vincent Foster Factory". Columbia Journalism Review. Archived from the original on 2004-02-23.
- AIM Report: Evidence Proving Foster Was Murdered Archived September 14, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. July 1, 2001
- 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
- Vincent Foster Murder Evidence Accuracy in Media.
- Cann, Steven J. (2005). "National Archives and Records Administration v. Favish 124 Ct. 1570 (2004)". Administrative Law. SAGE. p. 246. ISBN 978-1-4129-1396-6.
- See: Notes Section for "Chris Ruddy" The Case Against James T. Riady, Accuracy in Media 2001.
- "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.
- Anti-Clinton Billionaire Goes Before Grand JuryWashington Post, September 29, 1998
- Report: Starr Rules Out Foul Play In Foster Death CNN Feb. 23, 1997
- Supreme Court Shields Photos of Vince Foster's Death Scene NewsMax March 30, 2004
- Accuracy in Media press release, "U.N. Reporters Group May Have Violated U.S. Immigration Law" Archived November 21, 2008, at the Wayback Machine., February 22, 2005
- Cliff Kincaid, "Journalists Exposed on the U.N. Payroll; George Soros, Ted Turner Pay for Journalism Prizes" Archived December 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. Accuracy in Media, February 15, 2005
- The Nation, "In fact ...", February 24, 2005
- Ian Williams, "Confessions of a Payola Pundit" Archived June 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine., Mediachannel.org, February 23, 2005
- Alyssa A. Lappen, "Another U.N. Scandal", FrontPage Magazine, March 16, 2005
- Cliff Kincaid, "Hostile Takeover of Fox News" Archived December 27, 2005, at the Wayback Machine., November 21, 2005
- "Questions for News Corporation Chairman Rupert Murdoch and Fox News Executives at News Corporation Annual Meeting". Accuracy in Media. October 20, 2006. Archived from the original on October 22, 2006. Retrieved October 20, 2006.
- "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.
- "News Corporation is as a client of Rudy Giuliani". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03.
- Arkansas Project Led to Turmoil and Rifts Washington Post May 2, 1999; Page A24
- Official website
- Accuracy in Media, Inc. by MediaTransparency
- Organizational Profile – National Center for Charitable Statistics (Urban Institute)
- Profile of Cliff Kincaid by Media Matters for America December 9, 2005
- Meet the Myth-Makers: Right-Wing Media Groups Provide Ammo for "Liberal Media" Claims by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
- Finding aid authors: John N. Gillespie, Audrey Spainhower, Peter Hoyt, Elizabeth Ballif, and John Murphy (2010). "Accuracy in Media records". Prepared for the L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Provo, UT. Retrieved May 13, 2016.