Winter 99 -- NCX



NPR'S PROPAGANDA CZAR/CEO


In a move roughly akin to the ACLU hiring a CIA director for its president, National Public Radio named the czar of American broadcast agitprop as its CEO. Kevin Klose has been director of the US International Broadcasting Bureau, which runs or coordinates all major American broadcast propaganda, including the Voice of America and Radio Marti. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Radio Free Asia operate under the oversight of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the same body that supervises IBB. Kevin Klose was president of Radio FreeEurope/Radio Liberty from 1992 to 1997. Prior to that, he worked for many years for the Washington Post.

The choice raises new questions about the independence from government influence of the public radio network, which is already tied by purse-strings to Washington and has shown considerable deference to the White House in its coverage of the Clinton scandals.

This is not the first time American media and propaganda have been seamlessly joined. In 1976, the president of the CIA-connected Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty was former CBS president Sig Mickelson. Ironically, one of the few journalists who raised questions about the relationship of the media and the CIA--to the detriment of his career at CBS--was Daniel Schorr, now at NPR. Carl Bernstein, in a contemporary article in "Rolling Stone, "estimated that 400 American journalists had been tied to the CIA at one point or another, including such well-known media figures as the Alsop brothers, C.L. Sulzberger of the"New York Times," and Philip Graham of the "Washington Post." Later the "New York Times" reported that the CIA had owned or subsidized more than 50 newspapers, news services, radio stations, and periodicals, mostly overseas.

And, says "NameBase Newsline," at least 22 American news organizations employed CIA assets, and "nearly a dozen American publishing houses printed some of the more than 1,000 books that had been produced or subsidized by the CIA. When asked in a 1976 interview whether the CIA had ever told its media agents what to write, William Colby replied, 'Oh, sure, all the time.'"

With the bad press, American intelligence began becoming more subtle. As one CIA asset, Gloria Steinem, said, "The CIA's big mistake was not supplanting itself with private funds fast enough." One of the results of an increasing sophistication was the creation in 1973 of a Board for International Broadcasting to obscure any CIA control of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.

But all this is history and largely forgotten even in media circles. Thus, it is not surprising that there have been signs the Washington inner party is feeling its oats again. In 1996, the Council on Foreign Relations suggested that the CIA be allowed once more to use journalists and clergy as cover for its operations. As "NameBase Newsline" points out, "For 70 years, [the CFR has] rarely recommended anything that has not become policy."

In such an environment, for NPR to hire the head of national broadcast agitpunkt seems more than a little risky to the public.

--NAMEBASE NEWSLINE, http://www.pir.org/newsline.17


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