Saturday, July 20, 2013

Kleifoth Memo

I have attempted to locate this "Kleifoth Memo" on the web but have been unsuccessful.  Fortunately I had made a copy of it several years ago.

We make decision based upon the information we gather.  Much of this information is gleaned from the media.  Therefore it is important that this information be accurate.  The Kliefoth memo demonstrated an inherent defect in the way information is reported.  In it Walter Duranty states that "in agreement with the New York Times and the Soviet authorities,' his official dispatches always reflected the official opinion of the Soviet regime and not his own."  In order to maintain his access to Soviet officials he had to distort the news.  He did this with the knowledge and agreement of the editors of the New York Times.
In 1939 famed journalist Walter Winchell told Franklin Roosevelt that Alger HIss was spying for the Soviets.  Winchell reported that Roosevelt, "Leaning closer and pointing a finger in my face, angrily said, 'I don't want to hear another thing about it!  It isn't true.'"  Winchell was not invited back to the White House for several months.  He had lost access.  It was a lesson he probably did not forget.  Loss of access can be fatal to a journalist's career. 

Duranty's behavior was similar to former CNN Head Eason Jordan who admitted in 2003 that he deliberately covered up Saddam Hussein's atrocities in order to maintain his access within Iraq.  A former CNN reporter, Amber Lyon,  claimed that she was ordered to send false news and exclude other news that the administration wanted suppressed in order to create support for an invasion of Iran.  How reliable is the news we are receiving about current crises? 

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