Reed Irvine, Editor Cliff Kincaid, Associate Editor
  March-B 1988  

NORIEGA: AN OLD STORY IS NEWS AT LAST

 THIS ISSUE:
  • Why Some News Is Suppressed
  • Media Protected Torrijos and Noriega
  • Noriega, The Odd Man Out
  • Why the Communists Traffic in Drugs
  • Media Spare Castro and Ortega
  • NBC's Disgraceful Retreat
  • Pettition
  •  What You Can Do
  • Notes
  • At the end of February, on the eve of the House vote that cut off humanitarian aid to Nicaraguans trying to oust that country's communist rulers, the media and Congress were fully cooperating in the administration efforts to topple Panama's dictator, Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega. The media devoted much time and space to his drug trafficking, money laundering, corruption and decapitation, figuratively and literally, of his opponents. Those in the media who are normally quick to challenge Reagan administration policies found no fault with the efforts to bring down Noriega. This included those who were simultaneously insisting that we had no business supporting Nicaraguans who are trying to overthrow the regime of Daniel Ortega. Their dedication to the principle of nonintervention was easily overridden by their feelings of revulsion toward the crooked Panamanian ruler.

    This was chiefly sparked by the revelations of Jose Blandon, former consul general of Panama in New York City, whose televised testimony about Noriega's deep involvement in drug trafficking before a Senate committee created a sensation. Blandon's testimony followed that of a major convicted drug figure, Steven M. Kalish, who had described his success in bribing Noriega to let him launder millions of dollars of drug money through Panamanian banks. It also followed the indictment of Noriega on drug smuggling and racketeering charges in absentia in Miami and Tampa.

    When the president that Noriega had installed in office, Eric Arturo Delvalle, unexpectedly displayed some backbone and tried to dismiss Noriega from his post as head of the armed forces, Noriega promptly had him replaced by a vote of the National Assembly. The U.S. government continued to recognize Delvalle, who had gone into hiding, as Panama's legitimate president. The media did not challenge that decision even though Delvalle himself had been previously regarded as Noriega's puppet, having been elected president by the National Assembly at Noriega's behest.

    Nor was there any effort by the media to make an issue of the fact that the involvement of Panama's current de facto ruler, as well as his predecessor, Omar Torrijos, in drug trafficking was not exactly a new discovery. That isn't surprising, because our media were assiduously covering up the involvement of Panama's rulers in drug trafficking in the late 1970s because its exposure would have endangered the Senate ratification of the Panama Canal treaties. Ratification of the treaties was very important to the liberals in the media, as ABC's Geraldo Rivera revealed in an interview he gave Playboy magazine in November 1978.

    Why Some News Is Suppressed

    Rivera, who now hosts a syndicated TV talk show, said in that interview: "I am very appreciative of the power of the media. The media definitely influence events, even if people don't admit it. They're not benign observers." He cited his own coverage of events in Panama in 1977 as an example. He said: "I reported every point of view, and toward the end, I was clearly in favor of the treaty. I felt that, regardless of my own personal or political feelings, or of the identity that I felt with the students or the Panamanian left or with the whole sense of Panamanian nationalism vs. U.S. imperialism, the treaty was the best possible compromise." Recognizing that the vote on ratification was going to be close, he said: "If I continually focused on the radicals, I might be in part responsible for the Senate's rejection of the treaty...."

    On his coverage of a radical protest against the treaties on the day they were signed, September 7, 1977, Rivera said, "The Panamanian National Guard came down on the students and started belting them with rubber hoses. That was also the day that I got arrested, but we really played the whole thing very mellow. We could have made a lot more of that than we did, because they roughed me up, really belted me around. I could have made the whole country pay for the stupidity of twelve secret policemen, but we downplayed the whole incident. That was the day that I decided that I had to be very careful about what I said, because I could defeat the very thing I wanted to achieve. Later, I had dinner with some people from The New York Times and The Washington Post, and we all felt the same way."

    The Washington Post, The New York Times, the TV networks and the rest of the big media felt the same way about revelations that Panama's rulers were deeply involved in drug trafficking while the Panama Canal treaties were being debated. On October 17, 1977, Senator Jesse Helms inserted in the Congressional Record a secret report from the files of the Drug Enforcement Administration. It said that in February 1975, a Panamanian businessman named Ramiro Rivas had disclosed to a confidential informant that he was a partner of Gen. Omar Torrijos in drug trafficking. Rivas reportedly said that Panamanian aircraft were being used to carry drugs from Cuba, Peru and Colombia to Panama. They were then shipped to the U.S. by air or sea, or overland via Mexico. Rivas, the owner of a cement block manufacturing company in Panama, was said to be interested in buying a transportation company to help move the drugs. He claimed he had a $750,000 account with the International Bank of Miami.

    In a Senate speech on October 13, Senator Robert Dole revealed that the DEA files contained a large volume of material bearing on the involvement of Torrijos in drug smuggling. Sen. Dole said he had a list of 44 specific file codes containing information on this subject. He asked President Carter to examine these files and release them to the appropriate Senate committees.

    Media Protected Torrijos and Noriega

    In the November 1977 AIM Report we pointed out that the news media were strangely uninterested in these revelations. We noted that the involvement of members of the Torrijos family in the drug trade had been on the public record for five years. Gen. Torrijos's brother Moises had been indicted in New York on drug smuggling charges. He had subsequently been named ambassador to Spain by his brother. Despite the fact that the tip of the iceberg was plainly visible, the media failed to report Sen. Dole's demand, endorsed by two other senators, that the DEA files on Torrijos be turned over to the appropriate Senate committees. In one edition, buried deep inside the paper, The New York Times carried a brief story saying that Sen. Dole had said he had "heard allegations" of Gen. Torrijos's involvement in the drug traffic. It didn't mention the claim that the DEA had numerous files bearing on this charge. No major paper mentioned the secret intelligence report that Sen. Helms inserted in the Congressional Record. There was no interest in checking to see if Ramiro Rivas had a $750,000 account in a Miami bank or if he had succeeded in buying a transportation company to ship drugs.

    Sen. Dole eventually succeeded in getting a rare closed session of the Senate to hear the charges that Torrijos and other members of his family, including his brothers Moises and Hugo, and Col. Noriega, who was his top intelligence officer, were involved in drug trafficking. This attracted media attention, but the detailed charges were not made public.

    The media continued to try to brush the evidence under the rug. It was said to have no relevance to the question of whether or not we should prop up the Torrijos regime by turning over to it billions of dollars of U.S. property. Had the media exposed the drug-laden corruption of the Torrijos regime in 1977-78 with the same vigor they applied to the exposure of Noriega in February 1988, public opinion would probably have forced the Senate to vote against ratification of the Panama Canal treaties. Senator John Kerry, a very liberal Democrat from Massachusetts who chaired the Senate subcommittee that took Jose Blandon's testimony about Noriega, was recently asked if he would have voted for ratification of the treaties knowing what he knows now about the Panamanian regime's involvement in drugs. His answer was, "No way."

    John Kerry was not in the Senate at that time. Like the great majority of Americans he did not know how bad the situation in Panama was. He depended on the media, and the liberal journalists, like Geraldo Rivera, didn't trust the public to make the "right" decision if they were provided with all the relevant facts. Their collective decision at that time was to cooperate with the Carter administration in its efforts to ratify the treaties by denying the public important information.

    The situation has grown worse in the last ten years. The drug traffickers have grown stronger. Their communist allies have established a base in Nicaragua. The will, if not the ability, of the United States to control the course of events in Central America has palpably weakened. Even with all the news media cheering them on, it is not at all certain that the White House and Congress can both topple Noriega and clean up Panama.

    NORIEGA, THE ODD MAN OUT

    General Manuel Antonio Noriega, the thuggish ruler of Panama, must be wondering why he has been targeted for overthrow by the United States at the very time Congress has voted against all aid to the anti-communist Nicaraguans who are fighting to over- throw Daniel Ortega. The White House, Congress and the media are for once united. They all agree that Noriega must go because of his corruption and involvement in the drug business.

    The Senate hearings chaired by Senator John Kerry that sparked the assault on Noriega also provided strong confirmation of charges that the communist leaders of both Cuba and Nicaragua are also deeply involved in drug trafficking. Our media showed less interest in this evidence than in the charges against Gen. Noriega.

    Jose Blandon, Panama's former consul general in New York, in addition to incriminating Noriega, testified that Fidel Castro had mediated a dispute between Noriega and the Medellin drug cartel. Noriega had bowed to the wishes of the DEA and had destroyed a cocaine processing laboratory the cartel had built in Panama. The leaders of the Colombian cartel were furious, but Castro resolved the matter by bringing the parties together in Cuba and persuading Noriega to compensate the Colombians for the destruction of their facility.

    Blandon testified about cash payments that had been made to the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. Floyd Carlton, identified as a former drug pilot for Noriega, confirmed testimony given by high-ranking Nicaraguan defectors and DEA informants that the Sandinista regime was involved in drug trafficking. He told the Kerry committee: "We flew to Nicaragua in connection with drug trafficking. At one time we carried, at least I was told, a shipment worth... $2 million... that was going to be given to someone. I don't know who." He confirmed earlier revelations that the Medellin cartel had built cocaine laboratories in Nicaragua.

    Blandon testified that Cuba's former ambassador to Colombia, Fernando Ravelo, had served as a contact between the drug traffickers and the communist M-19 guerrilla movement. In 1982, a federal grand jury in Miami indicted Ravelo, together with Adm. Aldo Santamaria, head of the Cuban Navy, Gonzalo Bassols Suarez, a former member of the staff of the Cuban embassy in Colombia, and Reno Rodriguez Cruz, president of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the People and member of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party. All were accused of drug trafficking. They were alleged to have facilitated the transfer of drugs in Cuban waters from large ships to smaller vessels that would then take the contraband to the U.S. This was done under the protection of the Cuban Navy.

    The statements on Cuba and Nicaragua were consistent with the evidence already known by Congress and the Administration about the role of Soviet-bloc countries and allies in the international narcotics network. The Narcotics Task Force of the House Foreign Affairs Committee held hearings in 1984 on the role of Bulgaria and Cuba in the drug trade. A Senate sub- committee held hearings in 1985 on the role of Nicaragua. The 1986 report of the President's Commission on Organized Crime stated, "A number of hostile foreign governments, motivated either by a need for hard American currency or by a more ideological desire to undermine governments in Europe and the United States, actively facilitate drug trafficking activities. Cuba and Nicaragua blatantly aid traffickers smuggling drugs from Colombia to the United States; the Bulgarian government assists traffickers transporting drug shipments from Southwest Asia to Western Europe.

    Why the Communists Traffic in Drugs

    The Cuban and Nicaraguan communists have a double motive in helping smuggle drugs into the United States. In 1983, Mario Estevez Gonzales, a Cuban agent, testified before the New York State Select Commission on Crime about this. He claimed to be one of 3,000 Cuban agents who had been infiltrated into this country at the time of the Mariel boat lift in 1980. He said his operations alone had netted $3 million for Cuba, but earning dollars is not the only motive. Estevez testified that a Cuban intelligence officer had told him that it was important "to fill the U.S. with drugs." He said they would "make a pharmacy out of Miami." The goal was to destroy the fabric of our society.

    Alvaro Jose Baldizon, former chief investigator of the special investigations commission of the Nicaraguan Ministry of Interior, revealed his former boss, Minister of Interior Tomas Borge, was personally in charge of Nicaragua's official drug smuggling. Baldizon, who defected in July 1985, said that Borge's involvement in the drug trade was a closely held secret known to very few people within the ministry and, outside, only to FSLN's National Directorate. He said that Borge supplied the Colombian cocaine traffickers with planes and access to Montellmar Airport as a refueling stop. He said that when one of the planes was fired upon by anti- aircraft batteries and forced to land at Los Brasiles Airport, Borge sped to the airport, took custody of the plane and personally unloaded several bags of cocaine. Baldizon was told that the ministry had become involved in this business to generate funds for clandestine operations by the Intelligence and State Security Department outside Nicaragua.

    One of Borge's aides, Federico Vaughn, was subsequently photographed loading 1,452 lbs. of cocaine onto another plane with the help of Nicaraguan soldiers. The photo was taken by veteran drug pilot Barry Seal, who had been converted into a DEA agent. Seal had flown a plane equipped with a hidden camera to Nicaragua to pick up the cocaine that had been on the plane damaged by the anti-aircraft fire. Vaughn was indicted in the U.S., in absentia, on drug trafficking charges. Barry Seal was gunned down and killed, apparently a victim of those whose drug operations he exposed.

    Maj. Roger Miranda, former top aide to Humberto Ortega, Nicaraguan minister of defense and brother of President Daniel Ortega, has confirmed Baldizon's charges of Tomas Borge's drug operations. He said Humberto Ortega told him that the operations were good because they both hurt the United States and provided Nicaragua with dollar income. Miranda, who defected in October 1987, has charged that the top Sandinista leaders are all personally corrupt and that they all maintain secret foreign bank accounts for their personal use. He said Humberto Ortega had nearly $1.5 million in a numbered Swiss bank account. While those funds were said to have been diverted from military funds, it is quite likely that the lucrative profits from Borge's drug operations have also found their way into the private accounts of Borge and other members of the National Directorate, including Daniel Ortega.

    Media Spare Castro and Ortega

    Gen. Noriega must view with amazement and envy the reluctance of the U.S. media to focus on the drug trafficking of Castro and Ortega the way they have gone after him. Their relatively easy treatment of the communist drug smugglers is reminiscent of their reluctance to expose Torrijos in 1977-78.

    Baldizon's account of Borge's drug operations, which were published in a State Department booklet titled, "Inside the Sandinista Regime: A Special Investigator's Perspective," in February 1986 were virtually ignored by the media. Maj. Miranda's confirmation of Baldizon's charges and his revelations about the secret bank accounts of the Sandinista leaders received very little media attention. After President Reagan showed Barry Seal's photo of Federico Vaughn loading cocaine onto a plane in a televised address to the nation in 1986, syndicated columnist Anthony Lewis of The New York Times accused him "of spewing out rage and hate, fear and falsehood," saying that there was no evidence that the Nicaraguan officials were involved in the drug trade. That was a month after Baldizon's charges had been published and two years after Federico Vaughn had been indicted.

    In March 1985, CBS aired an interview in which Dan Rather asked Castro about the charge that large quantities of drugs were being smuggled into the U.S. via Cuba. Castro replied, "It is absolutely false. This is a country with the cleanest history in the field of drugs. ...All the ships, all the planes that have landed here with drugs are automatically seized and confiscated. I do not know of a single case of a Cuban official who has ever been implicated or involved in the drug business." Rather let that lie go unchallenged.

    Three years later, NBC sent Maria Shriver to Cuba to interview Castro. She asked him about Jose Blandon's testimony that he had mediated the dispute between Noriega and the Colombian drug cartel. Castro replied, "What he's saying is simply a lie. ...There's not the slightest truth about that. I have documents in the archives to prove that this type of conversation never took place here, never. It's a lie from top to bottom." Miss Shriver asked if there was any drug trafficking at all in Cuba. Castro said, "Cuba is the cleanest country in the world, the entire world as of drugs." Had the Colombians ever "trafficked drugs" through Cuba? "Never, never," Castro replied.

    That exchange was aired on the NBC Nightly News on February 25, but NBC did not let Castro end the discussion with those emphatic denials. Tom Brokaw followed up immediately with an interview with Senator John Kerry. The senator showed a photo of Castro, Blandon and a Panamanian he identified as Noriega's principal cocaine trafficker. He also pointed out that three days after the Havana meeting which Blandon said was held to settle the dispute between the Colombians and Noriega, Panama returned to the drug cartel two helicopters, an airplane and 23 persons who had been arrested when they closed down the Colombians' cocaine processing plant in Panama.

    That wasn't all. Next came investigative reporter Brian Ross, who showed an interview with Andrew Barnes, a drug pilot who had been working for the Fill. Barnes said he had helped arrange for drug flights into Cuba through a man named Torres who had ties to Castro. He said he would fly right into Havana's international airport. He said, "The military was taken care of. This went right to Castro." Ross also showed a photo, one of Arab. Fernando Ravelo with a top Colombian drug lord, which he said was one of the early pieces of evidence linking Cuban officials to the drug traffic. Ravelo was one of the Cuban officials indicted in Miami in 1982. Ross said that indictments that would provide new details of the Cuban cocaine connection might be handed clown the next day, February 26. He said the evidence would include a videotape showing drug smugglers boasting that they were being protected by Fidel Castro's brother.

    The Kerry interview and the Brian Ross report demolished Castro's claim that the charges of his involvement in the drug trade were all lies. We can't recall any instance in which a network news program had exposed Castro's lies so quickly and effectively. NBC deserves high marks for that. Neither ABC nor CBS reported on those drug indictments, which were handed down on February 26. The Washington Times put the story on page one, but The New York Times and The Washington Post buried it.

    NBC's Disgraceful Retreat

    On Sunday, February 28, full page ads in the major papers urged viewers to tune in on NBC's new Sunday morning program, "Sunday Today." Dominated by a huge photo of Castro, the ad said, "Watch as Castro is questioned about Panama's Noriega and the drug trade." But this was no replay of the newscast of the previous Thursday night. It didn't show Maria Shriver questioning Castro about the drug trade. It began with Castro charging that the antiNoriega campaign was part of a conspiracy to keep Panama from taking control of the Panama Canal. It showed Castro charging that Blandon had lied about a number of things, including drug trafficking, but there was no appearance by Senator Kerry or Brian Ross to show that it was Castro who lied. Instead, host Garrick Utley asked Castro's admiring biographer, Tad Szulc, his opinion of the drug charges.

    Szulc, a leftist journalist, thought Castro was "too smart to get involved in that sort of thing." He added, "I would put a question mark on the drugs." That was the last word on this issue. NBC knew better. To substitute Szulc's dubious views for Ross's facts was disgraceful deliberate obfuscation.

    What You Can Do

    Commend Tom Brokaw and Brian Ross for exposing Castro's lies on the drug issue, but ask NBC to explain why "Sunday Today" didn't do the same. Write to Lawrence Grossman, President, NBC News, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, N.Y. 10030.

    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).

    AIM Report NOTES FROM THE EDITOR'S CUFF By Reed Irvine March-B 1988

    I HOPE THAT NO ONE WILL THINK THAT OUR LEAD STORY IN THIS ISSUE IS INTENDED TO suggest that we shouldn't be trying to rid Panama of Gen. Noriega. Franklin D. Roosevelt once justified his support of Trujillo, the dictator of the Dominican Republic, saying, "Yes, he's an s.o.b., but he's our s.o.b." There have been those who have taken that same attitude toward Noriega, but it isn't clear that Noriega has really ever been "our s.o.b." He has played both sides against the middle. He proudly displays letters from John Lawn, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, thanking him for his help in the war on drugs, but it has long been known that he himself has been helping the drug traffickers and profiting immensely as a result. Trujillo, Somoza and most of the other Latin American caudillos the United States has supported or tolerated over the years have been anti-communists. Noriega has long been a friend of Castro's, helping him with the drug traffic, getting around our trade embargo, and supplying arms to the Castro-backed guerrillas who toppled Somoza.

    THAT IS WHY CASTRO HAS COME TO THE SUPPORT OF NORIEGA SINCE PRESSURE FOR HIS ouster has mounted. This was evident in Maria Shriver's interview with Castro that was shown on NBC's "Sunday Today" on February 28. Castro said, "I believe that all this anti-Noriega campaign is based on a great conspiracy, not against Noriega but against the Torrijos-Carter agreements (on the Panama Canal). The U.S. is simply pursuing a political purpose. They want to take over the canal, because they want to separate the National Guard from the political role it is playing. I have the evidence that Blandon has slandered Noriega miserably. Now then, he did so trying to deceive the Senators. There are people in the U.S. that placed in Blandon's mouth these affirmations."

    WHAT I FIND MOST INTERESTING IS THAT "SUNDAY TODAY" THEN AIRED AN INTERVIEW WITH Castro's friendly left-wing biographer, Tad Szulc, who took issue with Castro's denial that Noriega had helped Cuba get around the trade embargo and had given Castro intelligence information. But as we point out in our second story in this issue, Szulc disputed the charge that Castro was involved in drug trafficking, saying he thought Fidel was too smart for that. What is most extraordinary about this is that on the previous Thursday night, on NBC's Nightly News, Castro had been shown saying that the drug charges were all lies, only to be followed by an interview with Senator John Kerry and an investigative report by Brian Ross that provided strong corroboration of the charges and demonstrated that Castro was lying.

    IT APPEARS TO ME AND OTHERS I HAVE DISCUSSED THIS WITH THAT NBC HAD RECEIVED protests from Castro or his representatives about the juxtaposition of his denials and the strong positive evidence that he was involved in the drug trade. It would appear that a decision was made to make up for this harsh treatment of the Cuban dictator by muddying the waters with Szulc's exculpatory comment on "Sunday Today." This suspicion is supported by the fact that the full page ads that were run Sunday morning promoting "Sunday Today" invited us to "watch as Castro is questioned about Panama's Noriega and the drug trade," but Maria Shriver's questions about the drug trade were dropped from the Sunday morning program. It seems that there had been a change of plans between the time the ads were placed and the day they ran. Why were the questions and Castro's vigorous denials dropped? Why was Tad Szulc invited to comment on this important issue instead of Sen. Kerry or Brian Ross? I put that question to Penny Fleming, the producer of "Sunday Today." She promptly referred me to Peter Spivey.

    MR. SPIVEY'S JOB IS TO HANDLE QUERIES FROM THE MEDIA. I ASKED HIM THIS QUESTION: "Having shown Castro to be a liar on the Nightly News on Thursday night on this issue, and having run full-page ads on Sunday morning telling people to watch Castro being asked about his involvement in drugs, why did "Sunday Today," instead of showing someone like Brian Ross, bring on Tad Szulc to say he doesn't think that Castro's involved with drugs?" Mr. Spivey replied, "That's a very good question. Why did Penny give you to me? Penny's the senior producer of the show. She knows why they booked Szulc in the first place." He said he couldn't answer the question. He would try to find out and call me back. I haven't yet heard from him or from Garrick Utley, the host of the program, whom I also tried to reach. We are suggesting that you write to the president of NBC News about this.

    THIS WASN'T THE ONLY FLAW IN THAT "SUNDAY MORNING" PROGRAM. MARIA SHRIVER, THE niece of President John F. Kennedy, was poorly prepared for her interview with Castro. She was unfamiliar with recent Cuban history. In her narration, she said, "The moment Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution overthrew the American-backed Batista regime, the American government knew it was going to have to confront a new Cuba." She obviously didn't know that the U.S. had withdrawn its support from Batista, cut off arms to him, and had put pressure on him to give up power. Castro owed a lot to the U.S. government, and in the early days, the general feeling in Washington was that Castro was going to be an improvement over Batista. His communist leanings were not common knowledge here, even though they should have been. Later, Shriver made this gaffe: "In 1961, the U.S. launched the Bay of Pigs invasion in an attempt to regain control of Cuba." That was a gross insult to her late uncle and to the brave Cubans who risked their lives in that failed effort to rid their homeland of its communist oppressor.

    CASTRO MADE AN ALL-TOO-OBVIOUS EFFORT TO WIN MARIA OVER, TELLING HER THAT IT WAS hard for him to imagine that JFK was responsible for plots to kill him. He even declared himself to be a Kennedy admirer. He denied any involvement in Kennedy's assassination, saying that he felt bitter when he heard the news of it. He said: "It hurt me, be- cause I saw in Kennedy an adversary, an intelligent, capable one. I felt something empty all of a sudden the day he died.... I felt it was an unfair death." A few weeks before Kennedy died, Castro had given a vitriolic speech in which he denounced him as a demagogue and charged that the U.S. was trying to strangle Cuba. He said, "With the rifle and the work tool, the work tool and the rifle, we must bring about our victory." The speech was printed in The Militant, a Trotskyite paper. A copy of it was found among the belongings of Lee Harvey Oswald, Kennedy's assassin. That speech could well have helped plant in Oswald's mind the idea if killing the president.

    THE RESPONSE TO OUR PETITION DRIVE TO IMPEACH DAN RATHER HAS BEEN OVERWHELMINGLY positive. To date we've received nearly 2,000 signatures, and I want to thank all of you who have returned signed petition forms. If you haven't yet returned your petition, please do so. Remember if we can just get every AIM member to sign we will be able to present Larry Tisch with 25,000 signatures, and if each AIM member gets only three others to sign, that will give us 100,000. We are not depending on AIM members alone. We have bought space in The Washington Times, Human Events, American Spectator and several other publications to publicize the campaign. One of the most successful ads appeared on the front page of The New York Times on March 3. Here it is, enlarged. |________________________________________________| This tiny ad resulted in a very good story |CLEAN UP CBS-DUMP DAN Bumper stickers. $1.00 | about our campaign in the "Inner Tube" column |ea. Accuracy in Media, Inc. (202)371-6710. ADVT.| in The New York Daily News, which has a circulation of 1.3 million! The Washington Times ad, which is reproduced on the back page of the Notes gave rise to the story in The Richmond Times-Dispatch, reproduced on the opposite page. We intend to do more advertising, and your contributions will help us finance it. BUT YOU CAN ALSO HELP BY PLACING AN INEXPENSIVE CLASSIFIED AD OR A ONE-INCH DISPLAY AD IN YOUR LOCAL PAPER. This will cost very little, and it may attract the interest of the editor and give rise to a story about the campaign. PLEASE HELP US ADD MOMENTUM TO THE CAN DAN DRIVE.

    THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS NEW YORK'S PICTURE NEWSPAPER
    INNER TUBE
    Taking Aim at Rather
    Accuracy in Media, the controversial Washington based media watchdog organization, has launched a nationwide petition drive, urging the CBS board of directors to "impeach Dan Rather" for behaving "as a participant in the political process, seeking to achieve his political goals rather than report it fairly and objectively." AIM chairman Reed Irvine charged that the CBS News "assault" on Vice President George Bush that aired on Jan. 25 was "planned and scripted like a military operation." He said Rather's "ambush interview" was an "unprofessional and unethical effort to derail the presidential candidacy of Vice President Bush." Debbie Lambert, a spokeswoman for the organization, said that, so far, close to 1,000 people have signed the AIM petition, which, she said, would be presented to the CBS board of directors at its annual shareholders meeting in New York on May 11. AIM took out a two-line ad on the bottom of the front page of the New York Times yesterday offering "Dump Dan Rather" bumper stickers for $1 apiece. CBS had no immediate response to the AIM campaign. The network, all the way up to CBS Inc. president Laurece Tisch, has defended Rather's role in the controversial broadcast. --G.M.

    The Washington Times PAGE A6/MONDAY, MARCH 7, 1988
    INSIDE THE BELTWAY
    Whupping on Dan
    Reed Irvine and his Accuracy in Media gang are pretty darn serious about getting rid of Dan Rather, it appears. They're marketing "Dump Dan" and "Impeach Rather" bumper strips, along with "Can Dan" caps and some other paraphernalia. Also, they're organizing "Impeach Dan Rather" committees around the country and circulating a petition demanding the CBS news anchor apologize for behaving "unethically and unprofessionally in his effort to derail the presidential candidacy of Vice President George Bush." Mr. Irvine hopes to present 100,000 signatures to CBS President Laurence Tisch at the net- work's annual meeting in May.

    C-6 Richmond Times-Dispatch, Friday, March 4, 1988
    Media watchdog snaps at Rather
    By Mark Holmberg Times-Dispatch staff writer
    The Dan Rather saga continues. According to Accuracy in Media, a national media watchdog organization, the CBS news anchor isn't fit to broadcast the news. "We suggest that he should be given the boot," said Reed Irvine, chairman of the 18-year-old not-for-profit organization. At the hub of AIM's push for Rather's termination is a national petition drive to "Impeach Dan Rather." Irvine said the word "Impeach" was selected because Rather "has in- truded into the political process." AIM plans to present the petitions to the CBS Board May 11. Recently a large, quarter-page ad featuring AIM's petition form appeared in The Washington Times headed by the following allegations: "Whereas, Dan Rather has behaved as a participant in the political process, seeking to shape the news to achieve his political goals rather than report it fairly and objectively. "Whereas, Dan Rather behaved usethically and unprofessionally in his effort to derail the presidential candidacy of Vice President Bush on Jan. 25. "Whereas, Dan Rather aired with out rebuttal the Soviet disinformation that the U.S. Army created and spread the AIDS virus. "Whereas, Dan Rather has refused to apologize to Vice President Bush for his unethical and rude conduct or the U.S. Army for helping to spread Soviet lie defaming it" Irvine said AIM is going all out in its quest for Rather's Job. A small, front-page ad in The New York Times appeared yesterday ordering "Clean up CBS - Dump Dan" bumper stickes for $1. Seven hundred petitions have been collected since the drive started less than two weeks ago. "They're Just starting to come in," said Debbie Lambert, public affairs director for AIM. But the petitions are not likely to unseat Rather, said Donna Dees, press representative for the CBS Evening News. "Mr. Rather faces 50 million viewers each night. They'll probably have to unseat that many to affect Mr. Rather's future at CBS news." Ms. Dees said the first viewer response the network received following the Bush/Rather confrontation was more negative than positive. "A few days later the response was about 50-50. As time went on the response was more positive." The furor "has caused a real rallying around Dan," said Ms. Dees. "All the executives have been really supportive, They think Dan is just doing his job." Irvine said he believes CBS's attitude indicates the organization is more concerned about ratings than the accuracy of its news reports. "Rather, over the years, has exhibted personality traits that illequip him to be a prominent news anchorman... he should not be allowed to violate journalistic canons." Irvine said Rather violated CBS' news standards by misrepresenting the intent of the Bush interview. Rather was also slammed in an AIM newsletter for not measuring up to another guideline in the "CBS News Standards": "Ideally, in the case of controversial issues, the audience should be left with no impression as to which side the analyst himself actually favors." "What Rather did gives a black eye to the profession," said Irvine. AIM has been called a modern-day David fighting Goliath the media. The watchdog group investigates complaints of media misdeeds and takes proven cases to the top officials in the responsible organizations. It mobilizes the public to apply pressure in serious cases and rallies for the adoption of higher journalistic standards. Should AIM upset the anchorman's career, what does Irvine suggest for Rather's future? "Maybe he should go into politics if he wants to be a mover and shaker. Let's see if those 50 million people vote for him."

    PETITION

    IMPEACH DAN RATHER
    To: THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF CBS Inc. c/o Accuracy in Media 1275 K Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005 (Accuracy in Media will present the signed petitions to the CBS Board at the CBS Annual Meeting in New York City on May 11, 1988)

    WHEREAS, Dan Rather has behaved as a participant in the political process, seeking to shape the news to achieve his political goals rather than report it fairly and objectively,

    WHEREAS, Dan Rather behaved unethically and unprofessionally in his effort to derail the presidential candidacy of Vice President Bush on January 25,

    WHEREAS, Dan Rather aired without rebuttal the Soviet disinformation that the U.S. Army created and spread the AIDS virus, WHEREAS, Dan Rather has refused to apologize to Vice President Bush for his unethical and rude conduct or the U.S. Army for helping spread the Soviet lie defaming it,

    We the undersigned respectfully request the CBS Board of Directors to take partisan politics and Soviet disinformation out of CBS News by terminating the contract of Dan Rather as anchor and managing director of the CBS Evening News.

    HOW YOU CAN HELP IMPEACH DAN RATHER 1. Clip, copy and circulate this petition 2. Send the completed petitions to AIM and get an IMPEACH RATHER bumper sticker. 3. Make a contribution to help AIM promote this drive with ads like this. If you contribute $15 or more (tax-deductible) we will send you the hard-hitting AIM Report for one year.


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