AIM was founded by Reed Irvine in 1969. At the time, Irvine was an economist with the Federal Reserve Board.
AIM claims to be politically neutral but nonetheless has many intimate ties with neoconservative movements. It regularly attacks journalists that write about and seem sympathetic to leftist and even centrist causes. AIM supported Nicaraguan Contra leaders such as Jose Francisco Cardenal. AIM also supports the Committee for a Free Afghanistan, a US group that has backed the Afghan rebels beginning in 1981.
AIM publishes a bimonthly newsletter called the AIM Report of which Irvine is the editor and that serves as a forum from which he can disseminate his political ideas. In these newsletters Irvine often encourages subscribers to write to people or organizations which he believes AIM can force to change policies.
In the early days, AIM was essentially the project of Irvine and then-executive secretary Abraham Kalish. Kalish and Irvine would send letters to the editors of many newspapers trying to make a name for themselves as well as championing their "cause". If a letter was rejected, AIM would buy space in that paper and print the letter. Beginning in 1975, AIM began purchasing stock in major media companies. This allowed Irvine to attend their annual meetings and make AIM's views known. He has been described as combative and occasionally rude during those encounters. Irvine now has an annual private meeting with the publisher of The New York Times, which according to critics, seem to be more of a way to spare other shareholders from Irvine's outbursts than a sign that he is an important individual whose views are to be heeded. Irvine's charges are not dismissed out of hand; they are investigated. However, Times vice-chair Sydney Gruson claims "I never find any merit in AIM's allegations."
Critics say AIM's attacks on the media seem to have little to do with actual misrepresentation or inaccuracies in media accounts. They observe that Irvine and AIM is quick to attack groups that do not fit in the group's ideological niche. Any group or individual, from left to centrist, are suspect in AIM's eyes. Publisher of the Washington Post, Donald Graham, notes that Irvine tends to "throw around accusations about people being communists."
AIM is renown for its ad hominem attacks. At CBS's meetings, Irvine frequently denounced Walter Cronkite as a Soviet dupe. At a 1986 meeting, Irvine requested that Cronkite be removed from the CBS board of directors for allegedly supporting unilateral disarmament. Another example of an attack on issue orientation rather than journalistic merit is AIM's assault against Helen Marmor. In 1983, Marmor produced a documentary for NBC concerning the Russian Orthodox Church. AIM contended that "it ignored the repressive religious policies of the Soviet state."
AIM also denounced the Times reporter Raymond Bonner for his reporting in January, 1982, of the El Mozote massacre in El Salvador. AIM devoted an entire edition of its AIM Report to Bonner, reporting that "Mr. Bonner had been worth a division to the communists in Central America." The issue included some insinuations about Bonner's political sympathies, noting that he had once worked for Ralph Nader, omitting that he had been a Marine Corps officer in Vietnam, and all but calling him a communist agent.
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Irvine claims that seventy-five percent of AIM's funding comes from contributors donating US$100 or less.
He does not comment on where the rest comes from except to name three: the Allied Educational Foundation, Shelby Cullom Davis, and Richard Mellon Scaife.
Other groups that have supported AIM include Mobil Oil, Union Carbide, and various power companies.
In 1985 AIM received a US$20,000 grant from the Adolph Coors Foundation and US$7000 from the Texaco Philanthropic Foundation.
In 1986, it received $5000 from Texaco.
Irvine claims that seventy-five percent of AIM's funding comes from contributors donating US$100 or less. He does not comment on where the rest comes from except to name three: the Allied Educational Foundation, Shelby Cullom Davis, and Richard Mellon Scaife. Other groups that have supported AIM include Mobil Oil, Union Carbide, and various power companies. In 1985 AIM received a US$20,000 grant from the Adolph Coors Foundation and US$7000 from the Texaco Philanthropic Foundation. In 1986, it received $5000 from Texaco.