Non-profit

Accuracy in Media

Location:

Washington, DC

Tax ID:

23-7135837

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2019):

Revenue: $527,811
Expenses: $843,191
Assets: $1,232,851

Accuracy in Media is a conservative media watchdog founded in 1969 largely in response to news coverage of the Vietnam War. [1] The organization buys stock in media companies and regularly engages in shareholder activism to call out alleged liberal-left bias and inaccurate reporting. [2]

AIM has been widely credited with first sparking mainstream discussion of left-of-center bias in the ostensibly “objective” metropolitan news media. [3] [4]

Background

Accuracy in Media is a conservative-leaning media watchdog organization that critiques what it considers liberal bias. [5] The organization publishes reports, produces documentaries, and has also held rallies and protests to draw attention to its issues with media outlets. [6]

Adam Guillette became president of the organization in 2019 when AIM marked its 50th anniversary. Guillette expanded the organization’s mission beyond calling out traditional news media outlets to include critiquing big tech firms such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter. [7]

AIM helped  “create the image of the mainstream media as very liberal,” according to Alex S. Jones, the director of the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. [8] The New York Times described AIM as “dedicated to exposing, challenging, and at times bullying” news organizations. [9]

History

Founding

AIM’s founder Reed Irvine was previously an economist with the Federal Reserve. [10] While at the Fed, Irvine led luncheon discussions for the International Economists Club and the Arthur G. McDowell Luncheon Group. The discussion topic for one of the 1969 luncheons was perceived bias against the Vietnam War by the television nightly newscasts. [11] At this 1969 discussion, Irvine, then 50, hatched the idea for Accuracy in Media. [12] [13]

Irvine launched AIM that year as an all-volunteer group with a $200 donation. [14] [15] The organization began by sending letters to the editors for major newspapers asking for corrections to articles. If the editors did not publish the letters, the organization bought ads in the newspaper with the message. [16]

The organization launched the AIM Report newsletter in 1972. [17] Also in 1972, AIM pushed ABC News to make five corrections to a documentary on the arms race. By 1973, the organization was the subject of a front-page story in the Wall Street Journal. [18]

Shareholder Activism

In 1975, AIM began purchasing stock in major media companies and sent representatives to attend annual shareholder meetings to call for executives to address issues of bias in news reporting. [19] Irvine would sometimes receive the right of rebuttal on television programs regulated by the FCC’s “Fairness Doctrine” and be invited by news media companies to present complaints to senior executives outside of shareholder meetings. [20]

In 1989, Irvine debated Ted Turner during a TBS shareholder meeting in Atlanta over the TBS cable channel’s political agenda regarding programs promoting abortion and the merits of the Soviet Union. Turner defended the programming and said it should not be held to the same standards as journalism on CNN. But, during the near 90-minute give and take, Turner admitted his personal feelings played a role in his decisions regarding what programs to broadcast. [21]

1980s

In 1985, many PBS stations ran the hour-long documentary, Television’s Vietnam: The Real Story, as a rebuttal to the 1983 PBS series “Vietnam: A Television History.” [22] The New York Times gave a mostly positive review to the AIM production, calling the documentary flawed, but saying it legitimately pointed out problems with the TV news coverage of the Vietnam War. [23]

In 1985, Irvine launched Accuracy in Academia, a sister organization focused on higher education institutions. [24]

AIM started a campaign in 1988 called “Can Dan” against then-CBS News anchor Dan Rather. [25]

1990s and 2000s

During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, AIM accused CNN of being too sympathetic in coverage of Iraq and Saddam Hussein’s regime. [26]

Accuracy in Media questioned the cause of death of Clinton administration deputy White House counsel Vince Foster in 1993. [27] The organization lost in both the D.C. District Court and D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in its Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to compel the release of Foster’s death scene photographs. [28] Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, a Republican, determined in 1997 the death was a suicide. [29]

Irvine retired as AIM chairman in 2003 and became the chairman emeritus. His son Don Irvine became the chairman. Reed Irvine died at age 82 in 2004. [30]

Leadership

Adam Guillette is the president of Accuracy in Media. Guillette previously founded the Florida chapter of Americans for Prosperity. He was also a former vice president of right-of-center investigative journalism group Project Veritas. [31]

Don Irvine is the publisher of Accuracy in Media. He is the son of AIM founder Reed Irvine and chairman of AIM’s sister organization Accuracy in Academia. He runs the “Bias Watch” blog for the AIM website. [32]

References

  1. Woo, Elaine. “Reed Irvine, 82; Created Group to Confront Perceived Bias in Media.” The Los Angeles Times. November 19, 2004. Accessed May 7, 2021. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2004-nov-19-me-irvine19-story.html ^
  2. “History of AIM.” Accuracy in Media. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.aim.org/about/history-of-aim/ ^
  3. Kaufman, Michael. “Reed Irvine, 82, the Founder of a Media Criticism Group, Dies.” The New York Times. November 19, 2004. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/19/us/reed-irvine-82-the-founder-of-a-media-criticism-group-dies.html ^
  4. Kaufman, Michael. “Reed Irvine, 82, the Founder of a Media Criticism Group, Dies.” The New York Times. November 19, 2004. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/19/us/reed-irvine-82-the-founder-of-a-media-criticism-group-dies.html ^
  5. Accuracy in Media. LinkedIn. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/company/accuracy-in-media/about/ ^
  6. “History of AIM.” Accuracy in Media. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.aim.org/about/history-of-aim/ ^
  7. Bluey, Rob. “Media Watchdog Exposes ‘Fake News’ With Citizen Activism, Investigative Journalism.” The Daily Signal. December 16, 2019. https://www.dailysignal.com/2019/12/16/exposing-media-bias-in-an-era-of-fake-news/ ^
  8. Kaufman, Michael. “Reed Irvine, 82, the Founder of a Media Criticism Group, Dies.” The New York Times. November 19, 2004. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/19/us/reed-irvine-82-the-founder-of-a-media-criticism-group-dies.html ^
  9. Kaufman, Michael. “Reed Irvine, 82, the Founder of a Media Criticism Group, Dies.” The New York Times. November 19, 2004. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/19/us/reed-irvine-82-the-founder-of-a-media-criticism-group-dies.html ^
  10. Kaufman, Michael. “Reed Irvine, 82, the Founder of a Media Criticism Group, Dies.” The New York Times. November 19, 2004. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/19/us/reed-irvine-82-the-founder-of-a-media-criticism-group-dies.html ^
  11. Woo, Elaine. “Reed Irvine, 82; Created Group to Confront Perceived Bias in Media.” The Los Angeles Times. November 19, 2004. Accessed May 7, 2021. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2004-nov-19-me-irvine19-story.html ^
  12. Woo, Elaine. “Reed Irvine, 82; Created Group to Confront Perceived Bias in Media.” The Los Angeles Times. November 19, 2004. Accessed May 7, 2021. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2004-nov-19-me-irvine19-story.html ^
  13. Kaufman, Michael. “Reed Irvine, 82, the Founder of a Media Criticism Group, Dies.” The New York Times. November 19, 2004. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/19/us/reed-irvine-82-the-founder-of-a-media-criticism-group-dies.html ^
  14. “History of AIM.” Accuracy in Media. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.aim.org/about/history-of-aim/ ^
  15. Woo, Elaine. “Reed Irvine, 82; Created Group to Confront Perceived Bias in Media.” The Los Angeles Times. November 19, 2004. Accessed May 7, 2021. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2004-nov-19-me-irvine19-story.html ^
  16. “History of AIM.” Accuracy in Media. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.aim.org/about/history-of-aim/ ^
  17. “History of AIM.” Accuracy in Media. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.aim.org/about/history-of-aim/ ^
  18. Woo, Elaine. “Reed Irvine, 82; Created Group to Confront Perceived Bias in Media.” The Los Angeles Times. November 19, 2004. Accessed May 7, 2021. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2004-nov-19-me-irvine19-story.html ^
  19. “History of AIM.” Accuracy in Media. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.aim.org/about/history-of-aim/ ^
  20. Kaufman, Michael. “Reed Irvine, 82, the Founder of a Media Criticism Group, Dies.” The New York Times. November 19, 2004. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/19/us/reed-irvine-82-the-founder-of-a-media-criticism-group-dies.html ^
  21. Associated Press. “Media Critic Accuses Turner’s TBS of Bias.” The New York Times. July 22, 1989. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/1989/07/22/arts/media-critic-accuses-turner-s-tbs-of-bias.html ^
  22. Kaufman, Michael. “Reed Irvine, 82, the Founder of a Media Criticism Group, Dies.” The New York Times. November 19, 2004. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/19/us/reed-irvine-82-the-founder-of-a-media-criticism-group-dies.html ^
  23. Corry, John. “’Television’s Vietnam,’ A Documentary on 31.” The New York Times. October 1, 1986. Accessed May 7, 2021.  https://www.nytimes.com/1986/10/01/movies/television-s-vietnam-a-documentary-on-31.html ^
  24. Kaufman, Michael. “Reed Irvine, 82, the Founder of a Media Criticism Group, Dies.” The New York Times. November 19, 2004. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/19/us/reed-irvine-82-the-founder-of-a-media-criticism-group-dies.html ^
  25. Sullivan, Patricia. “Media Watchdog Reed Irvine, 82.” The Washington Post. November 18, 2004. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A58852-2004Nov17.html ^
  26. Sullivan, Patricia. “Media Watchdog Reed Irvine, 82.” The Washington Post. November 18, 2004. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A58852-2004Nov17.html ^
  27. Kaufman, Michael. “Reed Irvine, 82, the Founder of a Media Criticism Group, Dies.” The New York Times. November 19, 2004. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/19/us/reed-irvine-82-the-founder-of-a-media-criticism-group-dies.html ^
  28. “National Archives and Records Administration v. Favish.” 2004. Accessed May 7, 2021. https://books.google.com/books?id=6V_lVpZGyIIC&pg=PA246#v=onepage&q&f=false ^
  29. “Report: Starr Rules Out Foul Play In Foster Death.” CNN. February 23, 1997. Accessed May 7, 2021. https://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1997/02/23/starr.report/ ^
  30. Kaufman, Michael. “Reed Irvine, 82, the Founder of a Media Criticism Group, Dies.” The New York Times. November 19, 2004. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/19/us/reed-irvine-82-the-founder-of-a-media-criticism-group-dies.html ^
  31. “Who We Are.” Accuracy in Media. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.aim.org/about/who-we-are/ ^
  32. “Don Irvine.” Accuracy in Media. Accessed May 5, 2021. https://www.aim.org/expert-bio/don-irvine/  ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: April - March
  • Tax Exemption Received: October 1, 1971

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2019 Apr Form 990 $527,811 $843,191 $1,232,851 $13,350 N $406,363 $0 $32,943 $75,100 PDF
    2018 Apr Form 990 $375,677 $982,237 $1,513,025 $10,614 N $284,941 $0 $41,878 $91,346
    2017 Apr Form 990 $671,528 $1,097,746 $2,224,433 $103,343 N $514,942 $0 $55,787 $155,800
    2016 Apr Form 990 $653,824 $970,208 $2,577,238 $105,494 N $608,275 $148 $68,995 $184,798
    2015 Apr Form 990 $578,688 $960,918 $2,978,637 $116,971 N $513,763 $400 $74,415 $175,293 PDF
    2014 Apr Form 990 $413,457 $1,046,074 $3,185,424 $106,215 N $358,397 $0 $80,413 $193,644 PDF
    2013 Apr Form 990 $1,413,639 $977,950 $3,633,269 $49,272 N $1,364,692 $0 $67,062 $164,850 PDF
    2012 Apr Form 990 $575,110 $1,099,583 $2,648,944 $44,259 N $553,903 $0 $20,040 $123,314 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Accuracy in Media

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