Wednesday, June 22, 2005

the hoosier who spied on me

here we go, re-creating the post that was lost.

in my blog wanderings this morning i ended up on wayne besen's blog (because i wanted to read this post), and while there found the link to this nytimes article about ken tomlinson and fred mann, the hoosier who tomlinson hired to "investigate" bill moyers.

A researcher retained secretly by the chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, to monitor the "Now" program with Bill Moyers for political objectivity last year, worked for 20 years at a journalism center founded by the American Conservative Union and a conservative columnist, an official at the journalism center said on Monday.

The decision by the chairman, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, to retain the researcher, Fred Mann, without the knowledge of the corporation's board, to report on the political leanings of the guests of "Now" is one of several issues under investigation by the corporation's inspector general.

i will be adding hyperlinks to the conservative advocacy/lobbying organizations that mann is/has been affiliated with. i think this helps show the bigger picture.

for example, the american conservative union is "the nation's oldest conservative lobbying organization". it has a link on its front page to a column titled PBS is No Longer Relevant -- If it Ever Was -- So Cut it Off. here's an excerpt that mentions bill moyers:

Some curmudgeons at the time wondered at the wisdom in a free society of establishing a government-subsidized broadcast capability, but in those days government, the academy and those who knew better than we what we needed were all singing from pretty much the same sheet. They were all, shall we say, liberals, and they set about establishing the new creation in their own image.

The result was a loose network of radio and television stations capable of beaming classical music into the hollows of Appalachia and providing the likes of Bill Moyers a lifetime platform from which he and those with whom he agreed could lecture the rest of us on our moral, intellectual and political shortcomings. They were giving us what they were convinced we needed and since this was, after all, a public service, felt no guilt as they extracted tax monies from the treasury to do so.

sounds like this guy has a grudge against bill moyers. the author of the column is david a keene, who is the chairman of the american conservative union. fred mann worked for his organization for 20 years. do you think maybe mann knew in advance what his conclusion would be when he started his study on bill moyers? and that maybe tomlinson knew it too? and maybe that's why tomlinson didn't report to the board that he was paying mann $14k for the analysis?

let's get back to the nytimes article:

Until last year, Mr. Mann worked at the National Journalism Center, which for the last few years has been run by the Young America's Foundation. The foundation describes itself on its Web site as "the principal outreach organization of the conservative movement" and as being committed to the ideas of "individual freedom, a strong national defense, free enterprise and traditional values."

the national journalism center" has a bunch of blurbs on its front page advertising "journalists" nationwide who allegedly got their start there. prominently listed are ann coulter and maggie gallagher (maggie gallagher got in trouble last year when it was revealed that she was a paid shill for the dept of health and human services).

The Young America's Foundation shares some top officials with its politically active counterpart, Young Americans for Freedom, although the two are separate entities.

The National Journalism Center was founded in 1977 by the American Conservative Union and M. Stanton Evans, a syndicated columnist.

Mark LaRochelle, a top official at the National Journalism Center, said Mr. Mann told him last year that he was working on the Moyers project for the broadcasting corporation. He said Mr. Mann had run the alumni relations, job bank and internship program at the center, where he got to know Mr. Tomlinson. While Mr. Mann worked at the National Journalism Center, he helped place interns in the Washington bureau of Reader's Digest.

The editor in chief of Reader's Digest at the time was Mr. Tomlinson, and its top editor in its Washington bureau was a friend of Mr. Tomlinson's, William Schulz. In April, Mr. Tomlinson persuaded the board of the corporation to appoint Mr. Schulz to be one of two ombudsmen to monitor public radio and television for objectivity.

There was no response on Monday to voice messages and e-mail messages left for Mr. Mann.

Mr. Moyers has been a source of agitation for Mr. Tomlinson and other conservatives. They say that "Now" under Mr. Moyers (who left the show last year and was replaced by David Brancaccio) was consistently critical of Republicans and the Bush administration.

Last week Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, said that in response to a request, Mr. Tomlinson sent data from Mr. Mann's reports.

Mr. Dorgan said that data concluded in one episode of "Now" that Senator Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska, was a "liberal" because he questioned the White House policy on Iraq and that a second "Now" segment on financial waste at the Pentagon was "anti-Defense." Mr. Hagel is known as a mainstream conservative member of the Senate and a maverick who has at times been critical of the Bush administration.

The inspector general at the corporation is now looking at steps taken by Mr. Tomlinson to ensure what he calls greater balance in programming, including his decision to approve $14,170 in payments to Mr. Mann without the knowledge of the corporation's board.

yes, mann defines chuck hagel as a "liberal" because hagel occasionally dares to disagree with bush, and will even openly criticize the administration. while this does make him rare in the modern republican party, it does no make him anything resembling "liberal".

so on friday when i first posted about fred mann, i wondered whether any local media would pick up the story, since the nytimes reported that mann "was listed in the contracts as living in Indianapolis". and who would be better qualified to report on him than indy media, right?

and holy crap, the indy star has mentioned the story! they hadn't last i checked, but it's there now (though relatively buried in the metro & state section, as the fourth part in one of those many-stories-in-one stories they like to run):

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting did not respond to a request for copies of the reports, and efforts to locate Mann were not immediately successful.

A Frederick W. Mann, 61, who has worked for the conservative National Journalism Center in Washington, has Indianapolis ties.

Public records show he is still registered to vote in Marion County and has an Indiana driver's license issued with the same address as the voting record.

But a woman at that address, who said she was Mann's cousin, said he does not live there. Mann did not return messages left on his cell phone.

Moyers said paying $14,170 to see who was on his show was a waste of public funds -- Tomlinson simply could have checked the television listings.

but of course, local tv news is so far clueless. using the search engine on each site, i was unable to find anything on channel 6/wrtv, channel 8/wish, channel 13/wthr, or fox 59/wxin.

the newest issue of nuvo came out today, but the content isn't on their website yet so i can't check there. do any local radio stations (other than maybe wfyi, our local npr affiliate) have their own news departments? i only ever listed to wfyi and whhh, so i don't know.

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