Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), publicly opening his war on the alleged “liberal bias” of CBS television news, said Friday that conservatives across the country are buying CBS stock and that there may be a proxy battle to elect conservatives to the network’s board of directors.
Helms confirmed plans to send 1 million letters to conservatives urging a collective effort to buy enough stock to capture controlling interest in the network. That would cost at least $1 billion, analysts have estimated.
Helms is acting on behalf of a conservative organization calling itself Fairness in Media, which he said targeted CBS because it “shares my belief that CBS is the most anti-Reagan network.”
“For years, patriotic Americans have asked President Reagan and me what can be done to combat the flagrant bias in the liberal news media,” Helms said.
“Finally, I decided to assist Fairness in Media in its campaign because I share the belief that the liberal bias of the news media has seriously damaged our political process.”
Helms’ statement was the first time that he has publicly explained his role in the campaign. He and the Fairness in Media organization filed a document with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week announcing their plans.
Helms said that, in addition to urging individual conservatives to buy CBS stock, Fairness in Media may seek to conduct a proxy campaign to elect members of the network’s board of directors.
“This endeavor will be ridiculed by the same liberal Establishment that wrote off Ron Reagan’s bid for the White House and my recent reelection effort,” Helms said.
He said he owns no CBS stock and will not buy any “to avoid any possible conflict of interest.”