A prominent leftist blogger has proudly accepted an award named for Soviet agent of influence I.F. Stone and has denounced Accuracy in Media and Commentary magazine for drawing public attention to Stone's communist connections.
But this controversy has been compounded by the subsequent decision by Glenn Greenwald and his fellow award winner, Amy Goodman, to go on the April 3 edition of a public television show hosted by Bill Moyers, just weeks after new disclosures of how Moyers used his position as a top official of the Democratic Lyndon Johnson Administration to gather political dirt and potential blackmail material on American citizens. One of Greenwald's big complaints about the Bush Administration has been that it illegally monitored telephone calls as part of the war on terrorism.
In addition to the despicable practice of obtaining and disseminating information of a sexual nature about civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., which has been documented and is a matter of public record, the Washington Post has revealed that Moyers, as LBJ's press secretary, was described in recently released White House records from that period "as seeking information on the sexual preferences of White House staff members," including Jack Valenti, later the president of the Motion Picture Association of America. The FBI was authorized to pursue erroneous information that Valenti was a homosexual and sent a memo directly to Moyers.
In one case, the Post reported, an FBI official and President Johnson "discussed a request from Moyers, then a special assistant to Johnson, that the FBI investigate two other administration figures who were 'suspected as having homosexual tendencies.'"
The revelations prompted the Wall Street Journal to run an editorial headlined, "J. Edgar Moyers," a reference to then-FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. The paper said that "the historical record suggests that when Mr. Moyers was in a position of actual power, he was complicit in FBI dirt-digging against U.S. citizens solely for political purposes."
Greenwald's decision to go on the Moyers show, after these lurid revelations, demonstrates that he has a blatant double standard on the matter of presidential administrations invading privacy.
Greenwald, who writes for Salon.com and specializes in articles protesting tough treatment of terrorists bent on destroying the U.S. and Israel, accepted the award with Goodman on March 31 from the Ithaca College Park Center for Independent Media.
Greenwald said that Soviet agent Stone "pioneered what modern journalism ought to be."
In addition to his published criticism of the war on terrorism, which has been emulated by some in the mainstream media, Greenwald has written a recent Cato Institute report on the virtues of decriminalizing dangerous drugs, including cocaine and heroin. This has made him popular on a website associated with Reason magazine, whose editor-in-chief, Nick Gillespie, is quoted in a bio on his own website as saying that he believes that drugs from marijuana to heroin should not only be legalized, but that using them occasionally is just fine.
Asked for an email comment on his acceptance of the "Izzy Award," named after Stone, in light of Stone's well-documented service on behalf of the old Soviet Union, Greenwald exploded, saying:
Â· "Two of the most extremist and discredited entities in the United States are Commentary Magazine and Accuracy in Media. Someone who is smeared by those two groups immediately has their credibility enhanced. Don't you have Barack Obama's birth certificate to hunt down and Hillary Clinton's sex life to sniff around in?
Â· "The fact that Stone is being smeared by the likes of the consummately chicken-hawk, nepotistic, bloodthirsty Podhoretz family and the truly deranged, sex-obsessed, conspiracy-monger Cliff Kincaid will make me place my Izzy Award on an even more prominent shelf in my office."
Despite the bombast, the identification of Stone as a Soviet agent is not in serious dispute. The identification is based on information in the Venona World War II-era Soviet spy cables that a Soviet intelligence officer named Vladimir Pravdin had recruited I.F. Stone but that Stone had to be paid. In addition, Accuracy in Media received Stone's FBI file, which said that an informant in the Communist Party had actually named him as a member.
The other recipient of the "Izzy" award from the Park Center for Independent Media was Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, a radio and TV program, who may be best known for interviewing people like Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn (in their "first joint broadcast interview" after the 2008 presidential election!) and the lawyers for cop-killers and Black Liberation Army members Herman Bell and Anthony Bottom, now on trial in San Francisco for another cop-killing. Her co-host, Juan Gonzalez, was a member of the SDS, led by Weatherman Mark Rudd, which closed down Columbia University in 1968.
In a Huffington Post commentary on the personnel in the Obama Administration, Ayers said he would have preferred Goodman as President Obama's press secretary.
It was after accepting the award that Greenwald and Goodman appeared on the public television program, Bill Moyers Journal, hosted by the former Johnson Administration official involved in processing and disseminating derogatory personal information about civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.
Ironically, Goodman's speech accepting the "Izzy Award" was full of favorable references to King, about whom Moyers had collected information to discredit.
The failure by Greenwald and Goodman to bring up these topics with Moyers may have something to do with the fact that the former aide to LBJ, a longtime fixture on public television, is involved in efforts to fund left-wing or "progressive" so-called "independent media."
The Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, whose President is Moyers, gave Goodman's production company $150,000 in 2006, while Salon.com has been funded by Schumann through the Center for Investigative Reporting in San Francisco, according to the group's 2006 IRS report.
Rather than directly dispute the evidence of Stone's service to the Soviet Union, Greenwald cited some alleged anti-Soviet statements once made by Stone, when he apparently had a falling out with the Communist dictatorship, as well as an article from the Columbia Journalism Review.
Greenwald went on: "Izzy Stone was one of the only journalists in America to challenge the government's lies about the Gulf of Tonkin incident, to oppose the Vietnam War from the start, and to relentlessly highlight the pernicious poison of the McCarthyite witch hunts, which are alive and well in the marginalized and irrelevant fringes of the Right, such as Commentary and AIM."
In one of several articles that AIM published about Stone, we noted that "I.F. Stone postured as an independent writer whose mission was to expose corruption in U.S. policies and the U.S. Government. When North Korea attacked South Korea in 1950, he tried to bolster the false Communist allegation that the United States and South Korea had started the war. During the Vietnam War, he became an icon of the anti-war movement. His writings mirrored the Communist propaganda line, but there was never any proof that he was a communist agent. After his death, the evidence came out. Decoded cables from the National Security Agency, known as the Venona intercepts, conclusively demonstrate that Stone was taking money from the KGB during many of the years he was publishing his newsletter, I.F. Stone's Weekly. One of the documents describes his recruitment by the KGB. In addition, FBI files released to Accuracy in Media through a Freedom of Information Act request state that an informant within the Communist Party USA had identified Stone as a member in the 1930s."
Ironically, those "witch hunts," as Greenwald describes them, were conducted by an FBI answerable to Bill Moyers and others in the LBJ Administration. And the "lies" told about the Gulf of Tonkin were told by LBJ and his administration, including Moyers.
It is clear that Greenwald finds Moyers commendable, just as he does I.F. Stone.
Glenn Garvin, the Miami Herald television critic, has commented that "lowlights" from Moyers' career include "giving the FBI the okay to spread dirty stories about Martin Luther King's sex life, and his ongoing role spinning fanciful tales about the war in Vietnam as Johnson's press secretary from 1965 to 1967." The Garvin column was headlined, "Bill Moyers' Journal, gay-bashing edition," because of the Post story about Moyers being in the hunt for sexual information about LBJ's White House aides.
Garvin added , "Yet somehow none of that has stopped Moyers from posing as the conscience of the American press for most of the past four decades, mostly in various screechy PBS shows. Without any apparent sense of irony, he viciously excoriates the U.S. press for its supposed subservience to the White House on Iraq, Afghanistan and the war on terror. Amazingly, when Moyers is ranting that the Bush administration fabricated everything about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, nobody ever asks him about the Johnson administration's fantastical account of the imaginary 1964 attack in the Tonkin Gulf that became the excuse for the Vietnam War, an account he helped to construct. Everything about Moyers' years with Johnson has somehow vanished down the memory hole."
It looks like Greenwald has a memory hole in regard to Moyers and Stone.