Erlich, Reese W. 1947-

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Erlich, Reese W. 1947-


Born July 5, 1947. Education: Graduated University of California, Berkeley.


Office—P.O. Box 19261, Oakland, CA 94619.


Ramparts (magazine), began as part-time typist, became reporter, 1968-69; KQED-FM, San Francisco, CA, media critic, 1988-1999. Hosts radio program Perspective on Jazz, syndicated on National Public Radio stations; freelance reporter for companies including the Australian Broadcasting Corp., Radio Deutsche Welle, Latino USA, National Public Radio, and Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Radio. Also worked as a reporter for Monitor Radio and as a contract reporter for Common Ground; producer of radio documentary series, including The Iran Project, Perspectives in Jazz, The Struggle for Iran, 2001, The Russia Project, 2002, and Crossing East; creator of television documentary Prison Labor/Prison Blues. Has taught journalism at San Francisco State University, California State University at Hayward, and the University of California Berkeley Extension.


First place, Project Bay Area Censored competition, Media Alliance, 1993; Silver Hugo, Chicago International Film Festival, 1996, for investigative reporting; California Council for the Humanities grant, 2000; depth reporting prize, Northern California Chapter of Society of Professional Journalists, and Bronze World Medal for national/international news, New York Festivals, both 2002, both for radio series The Russia Project; Peabody Award (with others), Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, 2006, for radio series Crossing East.


(With Norman Solomon) Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn't Tell You, introduction by Howard Zinn, afterword by Sean Penn, Context Books (New York, NY), 2003.

The Iran Agenda: The Real Story of U.S. Policy and the Middle East Crisis, foreword by Robert Scheer, PoliPointPress (Sausalito, CA), 2007.

Contributor to books, including America's Prisons, Greenhaven Press, and Alternative Papers, Temple University Press. Contributor to periodicals, including St. Petersburg Times, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, and the Dallas Morning News; contributor to the news service New York Times Syndicate.


Reese W. Erlich is a freelance reporter, broadcaster, and documentary producer. A fan of jazz music, he hosts a regular program on the subject for National Public Radio. As a regular contributor to international news stations and newspapers, he exhibits a deep interest in foreign politics. His first two books, Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn't Tell You and The Iran Agenda: The Real Story of U.S. Policy and the Middle East Crisis, reveal his distrust of the U.S. government's policies in those countries. He believes that the U.S. government has falsely portrayed both Iraq and Iran as threats in order to justify war. As San Francisco Chronicle contributor Ruth Rosen explained in a review of Erlich's first title, the author "deftly separated propaganda from reality and implicitly predicted the harsh and chaotic consequences that would result if the United States attacked Iraq. Read it again today and it seems eerily prescient."

With The Iran Agenda, Erlich attempts to show that the U.S. government is misrepresenting the situation in Iraq to average Americans, many of whom do not understand the history of that country or America's interference in its politics. For example, Erlich points out that it was the United States who first helped Iran build a nuclear program, including its first nuclear reactors; it was also America who orchestrated regime change in Iran, helping to overthrow the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953 to place the Shah of Iran in power. The shah was eventually overthrown and the government became a religious autocracy under Ayatollah Khomeini. Erlich contends that the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush began trying to convince the American public that Iran was a threat because, in Rosen's words, "U.S. so-called ‘strategic interests’ benefit corporations whose profits depend on domination of the region."

Not all reviewers of The Iran Agenda were convinced by Erlich's arguments. A Publishers Weekly contributor felt that the author did not support his thesis with clear evidence, adding that "Erlich's effort is unlikely to convince people who don't already agree with him." Writing for the Persian Mirror Web site, Ari Siletz appreciated Erlich's effort, commenting that "the value of The Iran Agenda is its usefulness as a tool of argument in discussions with curious Americans who ask us to be their tour guides on the Iran subject." Siletz concluded: "To undo years of [skillful] propaganda, equal skill is needed. And Erlich is certainly a talented story teller."



Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, June, 2005, "Tell Me Lies: Propaganda and Media Distortion in the Attack on Iraq," p. 340.

Publishers Weekly, August 20, 2007, review of The Iran Agenda: The Real Story of U.S. Policy and the Middle East Crisis, p. 60.

San Francisco Chronicle, October 21, 2007, Ruth Rosen, "Review: What's Fueled the U.S.-Iran War of Words," review of The Iran Agenda, p. M3.


Children of War Web site, (January 7, 2008), brief biography of Reese W. Erlich.

Global Exchange Web site, (January 7, 2008), brief biography of Reese W. Erlich.

Persian Mirror, (January 7, 2008), Ari Siletz, review of The Iran Agenda.