Monday, January 26, 2009

The FBI's Mass Media Program Historically--Part 2

(The following article first appeared in the April 14, 1993 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative weekly, Downtown. See below for Part 1 of article).

A former FBI agent named William Turner also noted in his 1970 book, Hoover’s FBI: The Men and The Myth, that “the virtues of the FBI have been recited for years in a Niagara of books, articles, feature stories, movies, radio shows, and TV accounts” and that “burnished to brightness by publicity techniques that are the envy of Madison Avenue, Hoover” was “made to appear bigger than life” and, as a result, became “one of the most powerful men in America.” And in his 1990 introduction to The COINTELPRO Papers: Documents From The FBI’s Secret War Against Domestic Dissent by Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall, human rights lawyer Brian Glick wrote that “the old myth of the FBI as crime-busting protector of democratic rights have been revived in modern garb by films like Mississippi Burning and the television series, Mancuso FBI, in recent years.”

Human rights lawyer Glick also noted in his introduction to The COINTELPRO Papers that the FBI also “authored articles and editorials which `cooperative news media’ ran as their own.” During the 1960s, for example, an FBI mass media program operation targeting Martin Luther King and his Southern Christian Leadership Council [SCLC] civil rights organization “was approved by memo in an exchange between Assistant Director William C Sullivan and one of his aides, Fred J. Baumgardner, on Oct. 8 [1962],” according to The COINTELPRO Papers; and “the initial five newspapers selected for purposes of surfacing the anti-King propaganda were the Long Island Star-Journal, Augusta (GA) Chronicle, Birmingham (AL) News, New Orleans Times-Picayune, and the St. Louis Globe-Democrat (where the reporter utilized in spreading the lies was Patrick J. Buchanan, later part of the White House press corps under President Nixon and Reagan, as well as a…host on the Cable News Network’s Crossfire program)…” In addition, when “a group of editors from a well-known pro-Hoover magazine visited him in Washington,“ FBI Director Hoover also “entertained them with a rendition” of his Martin Luther King “hotel tapes,” which his FBI agents had recorded during their spying on King, according to the Investigating The FBI book. (end of part 2)

(Downtown 4/14/93)