Reed Irvine - Editor
|May A, 1996|
Conservative activists are alive, well, and itching for good political scraps on the West Coast. This was the message that more than 100 AIM members and friends brought to our conference April 19-20 at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott. Persons participating drew upon one another's energies to prepare for vigorous campaigns on such issues as immigration and affirmative action.
"The enthusiasm displayed at the AIM conference shows that Americans are eager to learn 'the other side' of stories that are being inaccurately or incompletely reported by our media," AIM chairman Reed Irvine said of the meeting. "I hope that what people learned from--and brought to--our conference will inspire them to challenge their own media to do a better job of reporting."
Many of the panelists told of personal and physical abuses they suffered because of conservative activism. But none showed any sign of surrendering in what they consider to be a crucial battle for American values.
The array of panels and talks was crafted to give attendees time to meet and talk with fellow activists. Participants requested that a roster of participants be distributed so that they could network for work on common issues. The response was so overwhelmingly favorable that we are planning another conference in Burlingame, a San Francisco suburb, in October. Watch the AIM Report for details.
Given Hollywood's deleterious impact on American society, the conference opened with a savage autopsy of the movie industry by critic Michael Medved.
Blending biting wit and ridicule, Medved debunked the "three big lies" which film makers use to justify their sleazy products. Incredibly, Medved said, persons in the film community stick to these lies even though they don't believe them personally.
Lie #1: "Movies do not affect behavior." Here is one of the most absurd legends ever to come out of Hollywood. Medved told of being on a panel with a studio executive who insisted that the hyperviolent film "Lethal Weapon Three" saved lives. An incredulous Medvid asked for an explanation. The executive pointed to a three-second closeup of a lead character fastening his seat belt before setting out in a high-speed chase scene.
If an audience would be swayed by this behavior, Medved asked, why wouldn't people be moved to imitate the scenes of knifings, mutilations, gun shots and explosions which dominated the film?
If messages from TV or movie screen don't influence people, someone "should start refunding the billions of dollars manufacturers pay to TV networks for advertising." Companies such as Coca Cola and Pepsi pay thousands of dollars to have their products displayed in film. If these images influence people, "why not the program content itself?" TV's most avid audience is among persons in the lower economic strata, those most likely to be influenced. Persons on public assistance watch an average of 31 hours of TV weekly, versus a national adult average of 26 hours.
Lie #2: "Movies only reflect society as it is," Medved debated a producer who called him a Nazi and insisted, "We are artists. You don't break the mirror. You fix the face." But how real is Hollywood's world? On "Murder She Wrote," the Angela Lansbury CBS show, murders are so frequent "the quiet little town would have been wiped out years ago." Forty percent of TV murders are committed by white male businessmen; in reality, such killings are so rare the FBI does not even categorize them in its crime reports.
The Population Council counted 30,000 TV references to sexual intercourse in a single year--13 to 1 outside of marriage. The implication is that extramarital sex is the most glamorous, although a 1994 University of Chicago survey found that married persons have more sex, and are more satisfied, than single persons.
Lie #3: "We've got to make a profit." But sleaze and violence do not sell, nor do attacks on religion. No less than four major movies in 1995 feared a "crazed Christian serial killer," including one who bludgeons a victim to death with a crucifix. Medved called "Mir- rors" the "most anti-Catholic movie ever made," featuring five priests who have been brutalized by church doctrines, and who are shown in scenes featuring explicit homosexual acts. "Mirrors" flopped, Medved said; "they had to subpoena people to get them to attend."
Figures belie Hollywood's contention that sleaze sells. None of the top six box office draws in 1995 had an "R" rating.
Reporter Chris Ruddy, whose New York Post articles broke open the Vincent Foster coverup, said the chief problem in interesting the media in the story is that "people don't want to think deductively-what are the facts, and what can be determined from them?" Ruddy, who now writes for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Re- view, said there is "overwhelming evidence of a coverup of the death of this high-ranking official." Also referring to the press, he said: "People become actively complicit by silence and by refusing to consider the evidence." Recounting the myriad flaws in the forensic evidence, he asserted that Detective Colombo of TV fame would have scoffed at the cursory Park Police investigation in which they concluded immediately that Foster was a suicide.
A flood of illegal aliens is producing a financial and social crisis in California and evoking visceral emotions from those who feel they are being mistreated by both the media and their own government on the issue. Barbara Coe is chairman of the California Coalition for Immigration Reform, creator of Proposition 187, an initiative voters approved last year which curbed public services for illegals.
Mrs. Coe paid a heavy psychic price for her activism. Opponents threatened her life, denounced her and other Prop 187 supporters as racists, and enjoyed support from the Los Angeles Times and other papers in both the news and editorial columns. She charged that the Mexican government provided covert financial help to groups resisting Prop 187. To her outrage, a Federal judge "reversed the will of the California people" and enjoined enforcement of the initiative. The State Attorney General is now trying to write enforcement regulations which will satisfy the judge.
"If there was ever a time to stand up and be counted," Mrs. Coe said, "it is now. This is a legal issue, not a racial one. It involves the enforcement of our immigration laws."
Charles Wheeler, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, got a rough but polite reception, especially when he insisted on using the term "undocumented aliens." He conceded the cost of providing health and educational benefits to persons who are in the U.S. illegally. Increased border security--more guards, barbed wire fences--are not the answer, for the majority of the "undocumented" do not sneak into the country, but enter on legal visas and refuse to return home. Wheeler said the number of foreign-born persons in the U.S. has increased only slightly this century, from 7.9% in 1910 to 8.5% today. Some 700,000 persons enter the U.S. annually; 200,000 leave, meaning a net gain of half a million.
Wheeler facetiously called the present system "a weeding out process" which only men with the speed, strength and agility to elude border barriers survive to "work the long hours required in our agricultural system." Educating aliens might be expensive, Wheeler said, "but so, too, is illiteracy. Children born to undocumented aliens are U.S. citizens and will stay here regardless."
Despite media bias against Prop 187, maintained Ira Mehlman of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, "the word has gotten through to Washington." [It did. On May 2, the Senate passed an immigration reform bill incorporating much of the California initiative.] "Everyone seemed opposed to Prop 187 save for the voters," he said. The vote, Mehlman said, "was about frustration with the government for not enforcing immigration laws."
"Work verification," not more border guards, is the only effective answer, Mehlman said, but many employers "prefer to hire people cheaply" and thus work behind the scenes to abort reform. He noted with amusement that media people, "once they get outside the [Washington] Beltway," seem sur- prised that 87% of Americans [per a Roper Poll] feel the present immigration system doesn't work.
During the Q&A period Wheeler wondered about the consequences of denying pre-natal care to pregnant alien women. "Put 'em on the bus and take 'em to Tijuana," someone in the audience called.
One of the great ironies of the 1990s is liberal opposition to a California ballot issue on affirmative action. The initiative repeats civil rights language crafted in the 1960s by Hubert H. Humphrey, who as Senator and Vice President ranked among Democrat idols. Rather than supporting the principles espoused by Humphrey, liberals are making a racist demon of Ward Connerly, a successful businessman and regent of the University of California system--one of whose grandparents was a Negro, and who for the "purposes of conveniences" identifies himself as black. He was our Friday luncheon speaker, and he brought down the house.
Connerly bounded into national prominence in 1993 with his efforts to eliminate the consideration of race, gender and ethnic origin in admissions, contracting and employment at the University of California. Now Connerly is trying to expand these protections state-wide via an initiative on the November ballot, an effort he calls a "nasty, grueling experience." Connerly said, "The question is whether we are prepared to extend equal treatment for all persons under the law, and whether we have the courage to do what the overwhelming majority of Californians want."
Connerly called the initiative "a test of our civil maturity," saying that letting voters decide the issue is "the ultimate public forum." What obviously delights Connerly as he jousts with liberal opponents is that he can toss out lines from Humphrey, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and President Kennedy in support of his contention that the law should be color-blind, and that "all persons should have a chance to succeed."
He said, "There is no moral rationale for giving a bonus to college applicants on the basis of race over qualified persons who have played by the rules." Third- and fourth-generation Latinos are being put behind recent immigrants, Connerly noted.
Although much of the media has covered the initiative fairly, Connerly said the Los Angeles Times has been a notable exception. An opposition group referred to the "so-called civil rights initiative," a pejorative term the Times began using in news stories. The Times also accused Connerly of using his regent's position on behalf of persons trying to get into UC schools, labelling his letters "affirmative action for the rich and famous." In fact, Connerly said, twice in three years he for- warded letters to the university chancellor, saying, "take them and see what should be done." The chancellor told the Times that Connerly exerted no pressure; the paper did not report this statement. [Prominent Democrat politician Willy Brown, now the San Francisco mayor, wrote no less than 113 such letters; the Times did not criticize him.]
Connerly says his own origins show that Americans can live in a non-racial society: of his four grandparents, two were white of French origin, one was Indian, the other black. "I feel uncomfortable," he said, "with people who walk around with color as a badge." Affirmative action, he said, "is a PC [politically correct] term. I've never been to Africa--heck, I don't even know anybody from Africa."
Connerly's reception was so overwhelmingly favorable that Reed Irvine suggested, with tongue only slightly in-cheek, that he should consider running for Vice President. Connerly emphatically shook his head and laughed and said, "No way, no way."
So why do leftists and liberals continue to push affirmative action at a time When such programs are demonstrated failures and are opposed by a majority of Americans, including many persons they were intended to benefit? Jared Taylor, editor of American Renaissance, a monthly journal on race relations and related issues, said rationales for such programs have evolved:
The first notion was to "simply cast the net wider" to find qualified persons who were being denied jobs and educations. The expected pool proved non-existent.
Next came a lowering of standards, "compensation for wrongs done in the past," such as slavery. Emphasizing that he was not defending the "horrors of slavery," Taylor noted that had the institution not existed "most U.S. blacks would still be living in West Africa." Whites, he said, should not be burdened with guilt for wrongs committed generations ago.
The third, and current, justification is that diversity somehow improves a work force or a student body, which he called "so stupid an idea that only extremely intelligent people could have thought it up...I find it a peculiar notion that a diverse work force results in a better product." He asked, "where will they go next? I think they are running out of ideas." What affirmative action advocates eventually must admit, Taylor contended, is that "abilities are not equally distributed."
One of the overseers of the California Civil Rights Initiative, Richard Halvorson, argued that the state press has already lined up firmly against the issue, depicting anyone who speaks in favor of it as being racist. The media are putting supporters at a semantic disadvantage by insisting the issue is "affirmative action." In fact, Halvorson argued, what voters are deciding is whether selected minorities are going to continue to benefit from "preferences" based on race alone, to the detriment of equally or better qualified whites.
The practical downside of unfair hiring was discussed by Ray Bast, who retired only a few weeks earlier as a career San Francisco fireman. The problems began in 1972, when the U.S. Labor Department ordered a pilot project which brought 24 minority persons into the department with no entrance exam. The idea was to test the persons after one year and see how their performance compared with regular applicants.
Alas, no such tests were ever conducted, for within a year one of the new hires was dead of a heroin overdose, six more had been accused of using cocaine on the job, another had fled the country, owing the fire department credit union $10,000, and the others had drifted away. Although the San Francisco media gave lavish publicity to the start of the pilot program, Bast said, there were no reports on its collapse.
Undeterred, the department started another program in the late 1980s, hiring 100 women, even though most of them could not pass the strength and other tests required of men. Within the department, Bast said, these women quickly became known as "defective equipment"---too weak to participate in ladder drills, unwilling to help males do the dangerous chore of chopping holes in roofs during fires. Blacks and women are routinely promoted to duties beyond their abilities, he contended. But persons who complain of their poor performance are risking being cited for racial or sexual harassment, Bast said. Now, he said, the department is further extending "diversity" by hiring women from Ireland and Central America, ignoring applications from better-qualified males.
Drug mysteries swirling around a remote airport in Mena, Arkansas, have long excited the attention of investigative reporters and conspiracy buffs. The most coherent account we've heard of what actually happened at Mena came from Scott Wheeler, a Colorado radio talk show host and investigative reporter who spent months on the story.
Forget the nut stories about Oliver North and the CIA and Mena being a supply base for the Nicaraguan contras. As has been well-established, Mena was a drug haven, but with guns flowing to the Medellin Cartel in Colombia, not to Central America. Wheeler said his investigation established that drug smuggler Barry Seal hoodwinked the Drug Enforcement Ad- ministration after being arrested and forced to work as an informant. Seal would make a deal to bring in three tons of cocaine in a DEA-controlled sting, but would actually load his plane with six tons. "Barry would kick the extra three for his own profit, and let DEA control the other three," Wheeler said.
Wheeler said the Mena investigation was "mishandled" in that competing agencies did not share information with one another; that investigators who realized that Seal was still actively importing drugs were shoved aside by others who felt they had him under control. But, as he pointed out, Seal was gunned to death in Louisiana shortly before he was to testify before a federal grand jury in Little Rock concerning official protection of drug trafficking in Arkansas.
Wheeler pooh-poohed much of the book Compromised, by Terry Reed, which alleged that Mena was a CIA/Contra operation. "Accuracy in Media was the first to see that Reed's story came from the Christie Institute," Wheeler said. He suggested that a major "overlooked story" in Arkansas is the sale of high state offices to persons who intend to profit from them.
A story completely overlooked by the national media concerns the growing campaign by Latin extremists for seizure of four Southwestern states and creation of a new nation called "Aztlan." Once considered a leftist pipedream, Aztlan has become a foreboding menace because of the rapid increase in the number of Mexicans now living in Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, the states which the extremists wish to carve out of the United States. The recently-elected chairman of the California Democratic Party, Art Torres, has spoken at rallies supporting Aztlan.
Veteran journalist Charlie Wiley said, "The issue is, do we lose four states, which begins the downsizing of the United States?" The demands of Mexican extremists are far different from Irish, Italian, Chinese and other immigrants "who did not think they owned the country to which they were coming." The separatist movement is getting indirect support from the Mexican consulate in Los Angeles, Wiley charged.
TV cable operator Allan Silliphant said that because of a tacit blackout on the Aztlan issue, many Californians are totally unaware of the mounting separatist pressures. [Silliphant made believers of those of us at AIM when he supplied TV footage of an extremist rally featuring Aztlan zealots in para-military garb, and speakers avowing, "We want the United States out of occupied Mexico." We showed some of Silliphant's footage on our former TV show, "The Other Side of the Story."] Much of this revolutionary fervor is coming from Latino professors in the University of California system, who are imbuing a new generation of Mexican-American students with Aztlan fervor, he said.
A more optimistic view came from Glenn Garvin, Managua bureau chief of the Miami Herald, who argued that the United States can continue absorbing immigrants. Illegals could be con- trolled by establishing a national identification card, he said.
In a panel on homosexual activism, Dr. Stanley Monteith, a retired orthopedist and publisher of the newsletter HIV Watch, said that AIDS should never have reached epidemic proportions. "At every stage that this epidemic has progressed, there has been an organized effort from the gay community to block doctors from doing what's been logical to save the very lives of the members of the gay and homosexual community," Monteith said. As examples, he cited resistance by homosexual leaders at the onset of the AIDS crisis to closing down gay bathhouses in San Francisco and gay activist opposition to testing' for Hepatitis B in blood transfusions, which has led to the deaths of 3,000 hemophiliacs.
Peter LaBarbera, director of Accuracy in Academia and publisher of the Lambda Report on Homosexuality, said the media are increasingly out of touch with Americans on the homosexual issue. He cited a survey of media by the Times Mirror Center for The People and The Press which found that only 4% of the national media believe homosexuality should be discouraged in society, compared to 53% of the American public. Zero percent of media executives surveyed said homosexuality should be discouraged.
Emanuel McLittle left a career as a psychologist nine years ago to become a publisher, and when he looked at magazines put out by fellow blacks, he was appalled at their shallowness and reflexive acceptance of liberal myths. His own philosophy of independence and self-reliance is a hallmark of his magazine, Destiny, published from Grants Pass, Oregon. McLittle was our Saturday luncheon speaker, on "The Growing Conservative Underclass."
McLittle contended that liberals consistently emulate the civil rights movement's approach towards blacks in mobilizing various constituencies. Homosexuals, for instance, "know skillfully how to become victims, know how to make you, as a heterosexual, to be abnormal, whereas they are normal." The image of dogs chasing blacks down Alabama streets has been promoted for 40 years to hurt white consciences, and to stifle any objection to the "two and a half trillion dollars the government has poured into so-called poverty programs." As an instance of a liberal double standard, the fact that blacks and Hispanics played a disproportionate role in deciding Los Angeles mayoralty elections, the media did not see the results in racial terms. But when a Republican gained the office, the liberal refrain was that "whites elected him."
The Democratic Party is "losing blacks by the hordes, blacks one family at a time," McLittle said. The reason? Blacks are becoming disgusted with the failure of Democratic programs, and the imposition of a mind-set that leads to teen crime and abortions in black communities, with no hope of social redemption. Nonetheless, some of his black conservative friends are disappointed with white conservative counter- parts because they won't support such well-qualified candidates as Alan Keyes, when he ran for the GOP presidential nomination. "Is the liberal concern for blacks sincere?" he asked. "Hell, no." But conservative whites should be "louder" in their support of blacks who are breaking away from liberalism.
Four of the most distinguished anti-communists of the century were feted at a Friday banquet. Reed Irvine said that when as a kid he read about the Hundred Years War and the Thirty Years War, "I used to wonder, 'how can anybody go on fighting for a hundred years?'" But the 20th Century was "marked by a war that lasted more or less for 75 years," the fight against communism. The honorees lived through much of the period "and helped fight that war to victory, at least a partial victory," Irvine said. Their store of knowledge---"the wisdom of the winners"--should be tapped.
Arnold Beichman, now a fellow at the Hoover Institute at Stanford University, has worked as a journalist, both in the U.S. and abroad, and taught; he is the author of four books. Beichman said he was disturbed by the "intellectual corruption" with which mainstream historians are recording the death of communism. "This is far more menacing than police or government corruption," Belchman asserted, because these academic historians "are the people who determine what our children read and study, and what they will do their doctoral dissertations on." Belch- man quoted Samuel Butler, 19th Century British novelist: "God, although he is not impotent, cannot change the past. That is why he created historians."
One notable exception is Dr. Richard Gid Powers, author of the new book, Not Without Honor, on the American anti-communism movement. Powers conceded that writing the book "radically altered my view of American anti-communism." He began with the idea that "anti-communism displayed America at its worst. But I came to see in anti-communism America at its best."
But Powers' honesty is rare, Belchman said: "It's still regarded as bad taste today in academic circles to suggest that the U.S. won the Cold War." Giving President Ronald Reagan any credit is anathema to the left--"So what is the easiest thing to do? Air brush him out of history."
Dr. Fred Schwarz first debated a communist in his native Australia in 1940; he founded the Christian Anti-Communism Crusade in Long Beach, California in 1953 and is noted for his encyclopedic knowledge of the enemy and its tactics. He lauded Reed Irvine for help in the years before AIM was founded; if he wanted to speak in Washington, Reed would find a place, send out the invitations, and assemble a good crowd. "Thanks, friend," he said.
Schwarz maintains that the ultimate strength of communism is its "power to starve at will anyone of whom it disapproves." The classic communist technique is to find out what people want, give it to them temporarily, and when you come to power, "take it off them....Once you've got that power, you can close your jails, because the whole country becomes one big jail."
As did other speakers, Schwarz warned that the communist philosophy still has its friends in the U.S. and elsewhere, especially among persons who promote class and economic strife. Communism's chief foe is the middle class. Unlike the genocide of Hiterlian fascism, where persons were killed because of their race, communism practices "classocide."
George Putnam first faced a broadcast microphone in 1934, and the pending celebration of his 82d birthday in July has not diminished his oratorical fire. As a Los Angeles TV anchor, he once commanded the highest ratings (and salary) of any anchor in the U.S. He now hosts the radio show "Talk Back" on KIEV in Glendale. He, too, praised Irvine's role in defeating communism: "Reed, you can take them all on, and you can hold you own with them."
Putnam charged that Clinton follows campaign strategies lifted straight from the "big lie" book of Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels: When there is not a crisis, create one and use it to spread fear, so that a "knight in shining armor can come in as a savior." He is not impressed with the President' s moral character: "You can judge a man by the way he treats women, and look at this man--sending state troopers out to get women who he thinks gave him a 'come hither' look when nothing of the sort was intended." Nor does he think much of Clinton's camera-hogging: "When in trouble, grab a child," and look around for a photographer to take your picture.
Putnam praised AIM and reporter Chris Ruddy for keeping the Vincent Foster death mystery from being ignored: "If ever there was a man who deserved a Pulitzer, it was Chris Ruddy."
Murray Baron, who received his law degree in 1931, fought communism from his vantage point as a union official and labor relations consultant. He is president of AIM. In Baron's view, communism collapsed because "it contained the fatal weakness of being hollow at its moral core, an ideology with no goal, no aim, other than achievement of power by the persons who benefitted from its criminal activities."
Baron said he found it "amusing but sad" that persons who were blase regarding communism's reign, and who ignored (or favorably publicized) its many perfidies, are now unwilling to credit persons such as Irvine with working towards its downfall. "The New York Times," he said, "has yet to tell the American people that it's sorry that it helped Fidel Castro get his job. Why, in the name of common decency, can't such people simply say, 'We were wrong, and we apologize.'"
That is the title of a new video that was shown at the conference. This 60-minute documentary dramatically ex- poses the morass of corruption that has shielded the killers of two high school seniors who were brutally murdered after apparently stumbling across a major drug smuggling operation near their homes in Saline County, Arkansas. According to the video, the boys were either killed or rendered unconscious in the wee hours of the morning of August 22, 1987 and laid out side-by-side on the railroad tracks where they were run over by a freight train. Without any investigation, the police declared that the boys had committed suicide. Dr. Fahmy Malak, the state medical examiner, agreed until he learned that the parents would fight that finding. He then ruled, with no evidence, that the boys had smoked over 20 marijuana cigarettes and had fallen asleep on the tracks. The indignant parents demanded a second autopsy. It found that Don Henry had been stabbed in the back and Kevin Ives' head had been bludgeoned. Two pathologists and 7 investigators recommended that the cause of death be changed to murder.
The Los Angeles Times has reported that there are over 20 cases in which Malak falsified evidence or gave incorrect rulings. Bill Clinton rejected calls that he fire Malak, repaying his debt for Malak's exoneration of his mother who was accused of negligence in the death of a patient she had anesthetized in 1981.
A grand jury investigation of the boys' deaths, with attorney Dan Harmon in charge, got nowhere and closed at the end of 1988. Jean Duffey, deputy prosecutor for Saline County, next authorized an undercover officer on her drug task force to investigate the deaths. Duffey says that when she gave U.S. Attorney "Chuck" Banks the information developed by her task force that the boys were killed because they stumbled across a large shipment of drugs dropped from an airplane, Banks closed the investigation before it led to Mena. She fled the state.
When a new sheriff was elected in 1993, detective John Brown was assigned to investigate it. He found many flaws in the case. A second grand jury found that the deaths were obvious murders. Governor Clinton's drug czar, Robert Shepherd, took a dim view of the investigations. In August 1994, Brown was ordered not to work on the case or discuss it with the press. He said the sheriff told him, "We both know where this leads. Do you really want to take down the President of the United States?" Brown resigned the next morning and is now chief of police in Alexander, Arkansas.
One of the enclosed cards is for you to let us know whether you would be interested in attending our AIM conference in San Franciso this fall. The other card is for ordering copies of the documentary "Obstruction of Justice."
AIM REPORT is published twice monthly by Accuracy In Media, Inc., 4455 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20008, and is free to AIM members. Membership dues are $25 a year. Dues and contributions to AIM are tax deductible. Corporate membership is $50.