The Cold War ended more than a decade ago, at least in those parts of the world that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) controlled. Cold warriors, though, are with us still, and veterans of both sides of the conflict frequently occupy the same general geography.
On October 22, 1985, Izvestiya, the state-run newspaper in the then-still existent Soviet Union, ran an article on the founding of Accuracy in Academia (AIA). The very existence of the organization founded by Reed Irvine, who is, in turn, the founder of AIA’s parent organization, Accuracy in Media, made Izvestiya nearly apoplectic.
Of all of the press coverage that AIA has received in its history, the Izvestiya write-up is arguably the most historically significant. For this reason, Campus Report will quote from it at length in the following paragraphs. Entitled ‘The Hunt For Freethinkers,’ the piece took aim at the infant group’s purpose.
“By the look of things, henceforth students, with the start of their activities, will take out fountain pens and tape recorders,” Izvestiya predicted, without explaining how students took notes in the present and past. “Teachers at universities are quivering with fear,” the Soviet press organ reported. “They tremble at the utterance of each word.” We have yet to meet any trembling teachers, at least of the Marxist variety.
“For who knows?” Izvestiya asked rhetorically. “Are the students taking notes on their lectures for their own purposes, or are they listening for the purpose of reporting what the teacher says to the ultra-right organization, Accuracy In Academia?”
Izvestiya normally confined itself to attacking U. S. government policies and American society in general. Leveling a front-page broadside at a small non-profit group represented somewhat of an editorial departure for the journal. The attention Izvestiya devoted to AIA, then, gave the watchdog group quite a distinction.
“The reactionary newspaper, The Washington Times, crows over the report that Accuracy In Academia, which has only existed for a few days, already has gathered voluntary informants on 110 university campuses throughout the United States,” Izvestiya noted.
“At the call of their spiritual mentor, worshippers and apprentices of McCarthy hunt for teachers who have the courage to adhere to liberal convictions,” according to Izvestiya. The McCarthy that Izvestiya refers to is the late Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, R-WI, famous for his investigations of communists in U. S. government jobs.
“ By such measures, these teachers are labeled ‘Marxists,’ which in contemporary America is pregnant with the most serious consequences,” Izvestiya asserted.
“For example, political science professor Bertell Ollman knows this from personal experience, for he dared admit that he was actually on the side of Marxism. Solely because of that he was not allowed to compete to fill a position at the University of Maryland.”
Six years later, the Soviet Union itself imploded and the Cold War ended. Last October, AIA celebrated 18 years of life and is still in business. Izvestia is still in business too, although under new management. And by the way, so is Bertell Ollman. A professor of politics at New York University, he teaches ‘Socialist Theory’ for undergraduates and ‘Communism’ and ‘Methods of Political and Social Analysis’ at the graduate level.
This college professor’s own online vitae lists him as a “principal in major libel suit against the journalists Evans and Novack (sic) (1978-’83).” Although Rowland Evans passed away in 2001, Robert Novak, who never had a “c” in his last name, still writes a syndicated column and presides over televised news forums on CNN.