On April 8, 1976, Rolling Stone magazine reported that “the Washington Post revealed secret meetings of the executives of the Times and CBS with CIA Director George Bush about CIA infiltration of their companies.” So in a 1992 telephone interview, Downtown asked CBS News’ Director of Communications Tom Goodman, what was CBS’s response to criticism that it had acted as an instrument of the CIA since 1948?
“I’ve never heard any criticism of CBS like that. It’s absurd. It’s hard to respond to criticism that I’m not aware has ever been made by anyone. Who ever made such a criticism?” Goodman replied.
When Downtown mentioned that such criticism was made in former CBS News Correspondent Daniel Schorr’s Clearing The Air book of 1977, Goodman said: “That’s 20 years ago. What has that got to do with today? I’ve only been here 6 years and I don’t know anything about what was written 20 years ago. The CIA doesn’t have anything to do with CBS.”
The CBS News Director of Communications adamantly and “flatly denied” that CBS News has ever been connected to the CIA in either the present or the past. “There is no connection between CBS and the CIA and there never has been any connection between CBS and the CIA,” Goodman insisted.
Asked by Downtown if CBS News also denied that it had ever hired CIA employees in the past, or the present, Goodman answered: “We’ve never hired any CIA employees in the present or the past. I’m not familiar with any charge that we have.”
When Downtown mentioned that a Rolling Stone article of the 1970s had indicated that at least one CIA employee had been hired by CBS News and that former CBS Chairman of the Board William Paley had been connected to the CIA in the past, the CBS News spokesperson replied: “That’s a preposterous and off-base charge. There has never been any connection between CBS News and the CIA, regardless of what’s been printed in some book or article years ago.”
Yet the former Washington Post investigative reporter who helped uncover the 1970s Watergate Scandal, Carl Bernstein, revealed in an article, “The CIA and The Media” (http://carlbernstein.com/magazine_cia_and_media.php ) which appeared in Rolling Stone magazine on Oct. 20, 1977, that “CIA documents show journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the management of America’s leading news organizations” and “By far the most valuable of these associations, according to CIA officials, have been with the New York Times, CBS and Time Inc.”
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