Agnew quoted Walter Lippman lamenting that the networks had "a virtual monopoly of a whole medium of communication." He would follow with the famous "nattering nabobs of negativism" haymaker against the media, for their perpetual sourness toward conservatives, and for the next 35 years, Irvine's Accuracy in Media organization would document, relentlessly, that truth.
Reed confessed naivete at the beginning. He thought that if AIM's critiques were accurate and well documented, surely the media brass would "insist that corrections be made and remedial action taken to prevent repetitions of the flawed reporting. It didn't work that way." What Irvine received instead were nasty and vulgar rebuttals, the most famous being then-Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee suggesting that Reed had, shall we say, a unique way of going to the bathroom.
Reed Irvine was the pit bull of modern conservatism, dogged in his pursuit to correct the historical record if distorted by the press. His most important battleground was their skewed and long-lasting take on the subject of Soviet communism, right down to the last day of the USSR, and even beyond.
The media regularly vacillated between maddening moral equivalence and actually touting communism as the superior system of social organization, both morally and economically. Irvine and AIM met them head on, exposing the truths about the Soviet Union, Vietnam, Cuba, Nicaragua and countless other communist dictatorships, fighting the good fight in untangling the disinformation and Soviet propaganda that seeped into the bloodstream of the American press corps.
All this is part of the public record about Reed Irvine. But what is less known, and deserves underscoring, is that he was also one of the most selfless warriors in the modern conservative movement.
As the head of another organization critiquing the media, oftentimes I've been asked if there wasn't some form of competition between our organizations, "competition" being a euphemism for the contentious relations between those vying for finite funding dollars. That question required me always to recount a story.
The day the Media Research Center opened its doors, one of the very first calls I received came from Reed Irvine. He first welcomed me to the battle, then shocked me by offering me the use of his donor file to help the MRC get off the ground, a gesture I eagerly accepted.
If Reed Irvine were the calculating sort, the intent would have been to buy my everlasting appreciation. But Reed didn't have a Machiavellian bone in his body, and didn't need one to achieve the same result.