Accuracy in Media

From Academic Kids

Accuracy In Media (AIM) is an American organization which monitors the U.S. media. Founded in 1969 by Reed Irvine, at the time an economist with the Federal Reserve Board, 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 commonly attacks what it sees as liberal bias in the media. In spite of AIM's claim of political neutrality, many mainstream media sources and groups such as Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting refer to it as a conservative organization.

AIM openly maintains many ties to conservative groups and is known for criticizing journalists with accusations of leftist bias. Its positions on issues would also usually be classified as conservative: AIM editorialized in support of Nicaraguan Contra leaders such as Jose Francisco Cardenal. AIM also supports the Committee for a Free Afghanistan, a US group that has backed the Afghan rebels beginning in 1981.

AIM publishes a bimonthly newsletter called the AIM Report, of which Irvine is the editor. In these newsletters Irvine often encourages subscribers to write to people or organizations urging them to change their policies.

In the early days, AIM was run primarily by Irvine and then-executive secretary Abraham Kalish. Kalish and Irvine would send letters to the editors of many newspapers promoting their organization. If a letter was rejected, AIM would buy space in that paper and print the letter. Beginning in 1975, AIM began purchasing stock in major media companies, which allowed Irvine to attend their annual meetings and make AIM's views known. He has been described as combative and occasionally rude during those encounters. Irvine now has an annual private meeting with the publisher of The New York Times, which critics say serves primarily to isolate other shareholders from Irvine's campaigning. Times vice-chair Sydney Gruson claims "I never find any merit in AIM's allegations."

Critics say AIM's attacks on the media seem to have little to do with actual misrepresentation or inaccuracies in media accounts. They assert that Irvine and AIM is quick to attack groups that do not fit in the group's ideological niche. Donald Graham, the publisher of the Washington Post, alleges that Irvine tends to "throw around accusations about people being communists."

At CBS's meetings, Irvine frequently denounced Walter Cronkite as a Soviet dupe. At a 1986 meeting, Irvine requested that Cronkite be removed from the CBS board of directors for allegedly supporting unilateral disarmament.

AIM also famously criticized 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."

AIM also denounced the Times reporter Raymond Bonner for his reporting in January 1982 of the El Mozote massacre in El Salvador. AIM devoted an entire edition of its AIM Report to Bonner, reporting that "Mr. Bonner had been worth a division to the communists in Central America." The issue included some insinuations about Bonner's political sympathies, noting that he had once worked for Ralph Nader.

AIM covers the same territory as the progressive Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.

Funding

Irvine claims that seventy-five percent of AIM's funding comes from contributors donating $100 or less. Only three donors of the remainder are given by name: the Allied Educational Foundation, Shelby Cullom Davis, and Richard Mellon Scaife. Other groups that have supported AIM include Mobil Oil and Union Carbide. In 1985 AIM received a $20,000 grant from the Adolph Coors Foundation and $7000 from the Texaco Philanthropic Foundation. In 1986, it received $5000 from Texaco.

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