Jun 1 1987

PBS Reviews Its Programing


Right-wing pressure played a major role in prompting PBS to review its programing policies. The heat came from extremist groups such as AIM and from the Reaganite-dominated Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which had threatened its own investigation of PBS program content. In support of independence for public television, FAIR executive director Jeff Cohen addressed the review committee on imbalance in public affairs panel shows carried by PBS stations as follows: Partisan rightists are well-represented. William Buckley has long hosted the PBS program Firing Line. And while it is not distributed by PBS, the McLaughlin Group, hosted by one of Buckley’s […]

Jun 1 1987

Nuclear Broadcasting Company?

Nuclear Peacock (Howard Saunders)

On March 11, NBC News broadcast a documentary, Nuclear Power: In France It Works, that could have passed for a lengthy nuclear power commercial. Missing from anchorman Tom Brokaw’s introduction was the fact that NBC’s owner, General Electric, is America’s second-largest nuclear power salesman and third-largest producer of nuclear weapons systems. The NBC News crew toured France as if on a pilgrimage to the atomic land of Oz, off to see the wizardry of safe nuclear reactors. “Looking at a foreign country where nuclear power is a fact of life may restore some reason to the discussion at home,” said […]

Jun 1 1987

Seymour Hersh on Government & Media

FAIR: How would you compare Watergate and Contragate and the role of the media in each scandal? HERSH: If you consider Nixon’s first term there’s an obvious analogy with the first six years of the Reagan administration. Nixon was able to bomb Cambodia relentlessly for 14 months. He wiretapped 17 American citizens, including Marvin Kalb, Henry Brandon, members of his own administration and some of his own personal aides for as long as 21 months. He was able to sick the CIA on Salvador Allende in Chile and increase the number of CIA operatives involved in domestic spying. The White […]

Jun 1 1987

What’s FAIR?

FAIR is a media watch organization offering constructive criticism in an effort to correct media imbalance. We advocate for media access on behalf of those constituencies in our society that do not have the wealth to purchase their own TV stations or daily newspapers. We scrutinize media practices that slight public interest, peace and minority viewpoints. All of us who founded FAIR have media backgrounds. Our sympathies are with the working press. We do not view reporters, editors and producers as our enemy. Nor do we hunt for conspiracies. The villain we see is not a person or group, but […]

Jun 1 1987

The 50, 26, 20… Corporations That Own Our Media

Experimenters have discovered that you can turn a cat into an alcoholic. The normal cat doesn’t expect it, but keep adding vodka to the dish and the cat will soon demand spiked milk as an absolute necessity. The fat cats of the American mass media have lost their taste for the mother’s milk of normal free enterprise: real competition for a reasonable profit. Thanks to addictive doses of sympathetic governmental policies and two decades of a drive for power, a shrinking number of large media corporations now regard monopoly, oligopoly and historic levels of profit as not only normal, but […]

Jun 1 1987

Washington’s Worst Kept Secret

The Contra Drug Connection

Since 1985, reports linking Contra arms suppliers to cocaine smuggling have run in progressive publications and a few mainstream outlets. But CBS West 57th‘s well-documented segment on the CIA-cContra-drug connection (4/6/87) was the first serious network probe. The segment featured interviews with CIA contract employees who flew weapons shipments to the contras in Honduras and back-loaded cocaine and marijuana. Mike Tolliver, convicted drug smuggler and part-time CIA pilot, told of flying 25,000 pounds of pot to Homestead Air Force Base in Florida. The Contragate plot thickened in Newsday (4/17/87) with an expose on Manzer al-Kassar, a Syrian drug smuggler who […]