Biggest News Agencies the AP or Associated Press Part 3

About one of the biggest news organizations the AP or Associated Press, who is in charge and behind the agency.



Name of Agency and Country: Associated Press, U.S.

Who's behind It: The Associated Press keeps pretty much to the middle of the road. Wes Gallagher, who retired from the presidency of the AP in 1976, exemplifies its character. During W.W.II, he led overseas staffs that reported on the Allied invasions of France and Africa, on historic postwar conferences, and on the Nuremberg trials. He started the AP's "task force" investigative team, he recruited young reporters, and he modernized the communication system. Yet it was also Wes Gallagher who said at the transfer-of-power meeting in 1976: "Too many readers are beginning to look upon the press as a multivoiced shrew, nitpicking through the debris of government decisions for scandals, but not solutions. . . . . Readers and viewers are being turned off. . . . The First Amendment is not a hunting license as some today seem to think. It seems to me we need to lower our voices. I think we have time bombs ticking away in our profession which need to be defused."

Keith Fuller, who took Gallagher's place as president, worked his way up through the ranks. A W.W. II bomber pilot who spent 14 months in a POW camp, Fuller was bureau chief in Little Rock, Ark., and Denver, Colo., before joining the New York administrative staff in 1964. His point of view is also somewhat conservative.

The Associated Press has an uneasy relationship with the federal government. On one hand, it has distributed news of certain embarrassment to some government officials. For example, AP reporters unearthed the following: illegal campaign contributions given by the dairy industry to the Nixon campaign, attempts of coal producers to influence antipollution legislation, Pentagon overpayment for M-16 rifles, navy payments for rocket launchers that never were delivered, and abuses by consulting services in the War on Poverty. AP's Malcolm Browne won a Pulitzer Prize and helped change U.S. policy with his hard-hitting stories revealing the fact that the U.S., contrary to military reports, was losing the Vietnam War.

On the other hand, the AP has killed important stories written by its reporters, possibly in response to government pressure. Reporter Seymour Hersh, when assigned by the AP to cover the Pentagon, refused to stay put in "Correspondent's Corridor," but instead nosed around the maze of offices and lunchrooms, prying secrets out of the middle echelon. (Pentagon officials dubbed him "that little ferret.") The AP distributed several of his exposes. However, when Hersh discovered Pentagon involvement with biological and chemical weapons, the AP did not distribute the 45-page, 7-part series he wrote about it, possibly because of Pentagon pressure. (It was after Hersh left the AP that he came upon the story of the My Lai massacre.)

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