(The following article originally appeared in the October 27, 1993 issue of the now-defunct alternative Lower East Side weekly, Downtown. Between 2007 and its recent bankruptcy, Reader’s Digest has been owned by Citigroup board member Tim Collins’ Ripplewood Holdings’ private investment/leveraged buy-out firm. See below for parts 1 to 4 of article).
In addition to apparently collaborating historically with the CIA, the Reader’s Digest apparently acted, historically, as a propaganda tool of the Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI]. As Unreliable Sources: A Guide To Detecting Bias In News Media by Martin Lee and Norman Solomon recalled, “The Federal Bureau of Investigation, led by J. Edgar Hoover from 1924 to 1972, had long cultivated sympathetic contacts in the media” and “these included journalists such as…Reader’s Digest editor Fulton Oursler.”
In 1973, the book Investigating The FBI also noted that “Over the years, Hoover maintained extremely close ties with several magazines—U.S. News & World Report and Reader’s Digest being perhaps the closest.” The FBI, for instance, “fed” Reader’s Digest Washington bureau editor John Barron “information on a spy case and then, during the trial, deposed him as a professional witness,” according to Theirs Was The Kingdom by John Heidenry. The same book also recalled that “Hoover’s byline appeared frequently in the Digest, which was his favorite publication,” “between 1942 and 1972 at least 12 articles” by FBI Director Hoover were published by Reader’s Digest, and the magazine’s Washington bureau during the 1950s and 1960s was used by Hoover “as if it were his own personal PR firm.” (end of part 5)