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AFP Reporter Grills Dan Rather on Bilderberg

By Mark Anderson

AFP grilled former CBS News anchorman Dan Rather and former CNN Commentator Catherine Crier, among others, about the Bilderberg Group during the National Conference for Media Reform in Minneapolis, June 6-8. Bilderberg was meeting in Chantilly, Va. at the same time.

Rather denied even having heard of the Bilderberg Group when asked about this matter by AFP during a June 7 press conference attended by 25 other reporters. Despite gestures from a moderator to keep the questions for Rather brief, AFP pressed on to concisely describe Bilderberg to Rather as the very thing he had just mentioned when he answered a previous question and noted that media representatives often are corrupted by rubbing elbows with the corporate elite.

Bilderberg meetings have been going on for decades, AFP informed Rather. Rather only speculated that perhaps media members who attend elite gatherings like Bilderberg might glean some useful information or establish worthwhile connections, but he acknowledged that if the decisions that attendees make at such gatherings remain secret, that is a problem. He would not elaborate.

Massachusetts reporter Michelle Fahey of Spare Change, while exiting this press conference, felt that Rather was not being honest when he claimed he has never heard of Bilderberg. Anthony Jasa of,
who filmed AFP’s exchange with Rather, said he did not buy it either.

AFP also raised the specter of Bilderberg at a spirited, more crowded panel discussion that included Ms. Crier and Jeff Cohen, founding director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College.

Crier, whose prior news jobs included positions at Fox News and ABC, did not raise her hand when she and the other panelists were asked during the discussion whether they had at least heard of the Bilderberg Group. Cohen, however, raised his hand. He surmised that the upper-crust corporate interests at Bilderberg hold so much control over major-media advertising that they probably would threaten to pull the financial plug if any major U.S. media were to consider reporting on the Bilderberg meetings.

Afterwards, Crier—a former Texas judge considered to be an inquisitive reporter—commented to AFP that she may look into the Bilderberg matter.

Cohen, the only conference participant questioned by AFP who openly acknowledged the Bilderbergers, told independent writer Sheila Casey of Rock Creek Free Press that he did not believe that the 9-11 tragedy was an inside job, having heard a debate between producers of the popular independent documentary Loose Change and two Popular Mechanics writers.

Casey demanded to know why the “progressive media” represented at the Minneapolis conference—which postures as a real alternative to the corporate press—still seems to ape the corporate media in ignoring various compelling insights on what really happened on 9-11-01, thereby towing the government line by default. She did not get a solid answer to that question.

AFP also questioned well-known television personality and documentary news maker Phil Donahue on the issues of depleted uranium (DU) and 9-11 after a showing of his new film, Body of War, which documents the life of Kansas City soldier Tomas Young. The young man was shot just five weeks into his Army service in Iraq; an AK-47 bullet severed his spine and paralyzed him from the chest down. He had ventured to the Mideast to “kick some butt” after 9-11.

Donahue said he had heard of the DU issue but indicated that it was beyond the scope of his inquiry. He brusquely thanked this reporter for bringing it to his attention, after DU was basically described to him as an armor-piercing weapons component that leaves radioactive aerosols, residues and fragments and sickens combatants and non-combatants alike, and that it is strongly implicated as a common factor in causing various mysterious illnesses in soldiers whose primary wounds (from bullets, shrapnel, etc.) do not always explain all their symptoms.

As for looking into explanations besides the government’s tale about the events of 9-11-01, Donahue—whose recent Public Television appearances with PBS fixture Bill Moyers showed him as a determined critic of the Bush regime for fooling America into the current war on the basis of lies—told AFP that looking into other 9-11 explanations is wasteful.

“This kind of rabbit-chasing gives fodder to the war-makers,” Donahue remarked, after 9-11 researcher and activist Kevin Barrett told him that a growing number of professors and retired military and intelligence personnel doubt the government’s conspiracy theory that 19 “flying Muslims” with box cutters commandeered airliners with such murderous precision.

“I don’t believe we should waste our time when people are coming home in pine boxes,” Donahue added, seeming to dismiss the idea of examining the actual basis of why the soldier he profiled in his film went to war in the first place.

Even impeachment was not an option to Donahue, who, despite his strong misgivings about the current Oval Office regime, nevertheless believes it’s too late and unwise to impeach the Grand Decider.

“If you impeach this president, you’re going to earn even greater wrath,” Donahue cautioned, even as some New Hampshire state Democrats continue pushing House Resolution 24 to urge the U.S. Congress to impeach Bush as a matter of principle for the same war-related reasons that Donahue cited.

This media reform conference hit on many valid concerns, cited disturbing examples of media malpractice and provided insight on how regulatory improvements could curb consolidation. Independent media is making a difference, but there was still considerable reluctance among the high profile attendees and several others to tackle three of the most fundamental issues of the day that are consistently covered by AFP: the Bilderbergers, depleted uranium and alternative views of 9-11. Impeachment and the proposed North American Union also seemed to be
non-issues in terms of panel topics, although the Zionist-Israeli lobby’s meddling in U.S. affairs was acknowledged by the Cohen-Crier panel.

“Sadly, the Fourth Estate has become the fifth column of democracy, colluding with the powers that be,” Moyers stated in his speech at the conference, unwittingly describing the big media-Bilderberg collaboration. He added that U.S. media employment is at a 15-year low and conglomerate owners such as Sam Zell of the Tribune Company want to cut up to 500 pages a week out of the many newspapers the company owns, fire reporters and editors, and rely instead on canned statistics, lists and charts.

Moyers encouraged attendees to forge ahead and break the big media monopoly.

Moyers, FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein and others outlined several good points and strategies, such as battling FCC regulations that allow entire media markets (radio, TV, newspapers) to be gobbled up by single owners. Keeping the internet free and independent also was trumpeted.

But AFP detected uninterest among those leading the media reform movement in tackling specific hot-button issues such as Bilderberg that might risk their social standing or career status. Others in the movement may not share this reluctance, but until they correct this flaw, genuine media reform may prove elusive.

Mark Anderson can be reached at [email protected].

(Issue # 25, June 23, 2008)

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