"Truth Tour"

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The "Truth Tour", also known as the "'Voices of Soldiers' Truth Tour",—which "brought right-wing talk-show hosts to Iraq" in 2005 to "tell 'the good news that the old-line liberal news media won't tell you about"—was the creation of the Republican Party-affiliated public relations firm Russo Marsh & Rogers (RM+R), Aaron Glantz wrote July 31, 2006, for Inter Press News Service.

This is the same firm, Glanz wrote, that also "founded the 'Stop Michael Moore' campaign to discredit the film Fahrenheit 9/11 and a group called 'Move America Forward', which has brought parents of dead soldiers to be counter-protesters at peace demonstrations."

Second "Truth Tour"

The second "Truth Tour" was discussed July 5, 2005, by John Kasich, who was substituting for Fox News's vacationing Bill O'Reilly, Marie Therese reported for News Hounds.

The "outing" was "being sponsored by the newly created Office of Media Outreach, a taxpayer-funded publicity arm of the Department of Defense. Kasich's conservative guest, Move America Forward co-founder, Melanie Morgan, made it sound as though the tour was a private venture, while her liberal counterpart, the ever-feisty Ellis Henican of Newsday argued that it is a propaganda trip," Marie Therese wrote.

"Kasich opened the show by saying that the Truth Tour would be an effort to show 'the other side of the war'," she wrote, saying that "A group of conservative radio talk show hosts are heading to Baghdad for a week long 'Truth Tour,' hoping to report the progress there which they say is being largely ignored the by the mainstream media."

Marie Therese wrote that, according to Fox News, "The 'Truth Tour' [had] been pulled together by the conservative Web cast radio group Rightalk.com and Move America Forward, a non-profit conservative group backed by a Republican-linked public relations firm in California"—Russo Marsh & Rogers.

Joining former California State Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian of Move America Forward on the second "Truth Tour" was (as stated) Melanie Morgan (KSFO, San Francisco), Mark Williams (KFBK, Sacramento), Lt. Col. (USAF-Ret.) Robert B. "Buzz" Patterson, Martha Zoller (WDUN, Gainesville/Atlanta), Michael Graham (WMAL, Washington, D.C.), two reporters from David Horowitz's FrontPage Magazine and Center for the Study of Popular Culture, Marie Therese wrote.

  • Note: According to Martha Zoller [1], wrapping up her trip report about Iraq August 9, 2005, her group consisted of "Buzz Patterson of Rightalk, Melanie Morgan of KSFO in San Francisco, Mark Williams of KFBK in Sacramento, Michael Graham, WMAL in Washington, DC, Howard Kaloogian of Move America Forward, Brad Maaske of KMJ in Fresno and an expert on Saddam Hussein, Filmmaker Dan Hare, Navy and Commercial pilot and 9-11 family member, Producer Holly Williams, Nancy Alexander, Move America Forward Former Executive Director Sioban Guiney" and herself, "Martha Zoller of WDUN and Rightalk."
  • Note: "Truth Tour" participants included three members of Move America Forward's Board of Directors and Staff: Howard Kaloogian is its founder; Melanie Morgan is its Chairman; Lt. Col. Buzz Patterson is a Board Member. [2]

Marie Therese wrote that, during the Fox News segment, an angry Melanie Morgan said "Our trips are being paid for by ourselves and our radio stations and the United States government is not paying one dime to take care of us other than providing us with a smelly cot to sleep on and a military transport into Iraq and for you to suggest otherwise is insulting to me and it's insulting to the .... American Broadcasting Company (ABC) for whom I work. I am paying $3500 of my own money to get over to Iraq. Some of our other hosts are paying up to $15,000 of their own money and I really resent that implication that we are being bought off by the US government."

Too Much "Truth Tour"

On August 8, 2005, AltHippo at TPM Cafe wrote: "You may recall that upon returning from the Truth Tour, Michael Graham's world view was so enriched that he wrote: 'We are at war with a terrorist organization named Islam.' Graham was promptly suspended by WMAL here in Washington."

Graham was fired on August 22, 2005, according to WMAL (owned by the Walt Disney Company), because he said "'Islam is a terrorist organization' 23 times on his July 25 program. On the same show, he also said repeatedly that 'moderate Muslims are those who only want to kill Jews' and that 'the problem is not extremism. The problem is Islam.'" [3]

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