Saturday, January 28, 2006

It's Better Now

Looking through my old issues of The Intellectual Activist, in the June 9, 1983 issue I found a little piece on liberal bias in the media. The FBI released a report that supported President Reagan’s claim that Soviet agents had infiltrated the nuclear freeze movement. The FBI wrote, “The Soviets have initiated an ‘active measures’ campaign designed to penetrate, influence and mobilize the U.S. peace movement…. KGB officers have also collected personal and biographical information… to identify those peace activists who are likely to cooperate with the Soviet government….”

But that’s not how the media reported it.

“The FBI, contradicting assertions by President Reagan, has concluded that the Soviet Union does not ‘directly control or manipulate’ the U.S. nuclear freeze movement,” begand the Associated Press story. The FBI report “runs counter to President Reagan’s claim that the nuclear freeze movement is being manipulated by the Soviet Union,” said NBC News. The Times’ reporting was representative. Instead of stressing the findings about Soviet influence, it focused on another aspect of the study. It highlighted those quotes from the FBI refuting the straw-man allegation that the freeze movement is under absolute command of the Kremlin: “…we do not believe the Soviets have achieved a dominant role in the U.S. peace and nuclear freeze movements, or that they directly control or manipulate the movement…. The overwhelming majority of the nearly one million people that attended the June 12 rally were members of independent peace and civic organizations, and they attended the rally as an expression of legitimate concerns about nuclear weapons.” In the Times’ view, apparently, the important question is not whether Moscow has enough influence in the movement to suppress any mention of the Soviet military arsenal at a rally protesting the threat of nuclear arms; rather, it is only whether or not the hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in Central Park on June 12 were KGB agents.

The liberal media bias has not changed in 23 years. Unfortunately for the media, everything else has changed. In 1983 this kind of bias was noticed in a newsletter read by thousands; now it would be all over the internet and read by millions.

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