A Nov. 8 NewsBusters post by Brent Baker recounted a 1991 Media Research Center claim that CBS "smear[ed]" defense secretary designee Robert Gates by linking him "to the Iran-Contra affair through tabloid-style innuendo" and reporting a (leftist, Baker says) analyst's claim that "The worst case is that Bob Gates participated in a coverup. The best case is that Bob Gates is a hear-no-evil, see-no-evil, speak-no-evil bureaucrat who watched all this information come through his office and looked the other way."
We're not sure exactly what Baker is opposing here. Gates was, in fact, a CIA official during the Iran-contra affair. If he needs more evidence of this, all he needs to do is toddle on over to MRC sister site CNSNews.com, where today's "Fact-O-Rama" is dedicated to Gates' role in Iran-contra:
Gates was an early subject of Independent Counsel's investigation … into the Iran-Contra activities of CIA officials. This investigation received an additional impetus in May 1991, when President George H. W. Bush nominated Gates to be director of Central Intelligence.
Gates consistently testified that he first heard on October 1, 1986, from Charles Allen, the national intelligence officer who was closest to the Iran initiative, that proceeds from the Iran arms sales may have been diverted to support the Contras. Other evidence proves, however, that Gates received a report on the diversion during the summer of 1986 from DDI Richard Kerr.
The issue was whether Independent Counsel could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Gates was deliberately not telling the truth when he later claimed not to have remembered any reference to the diversion before meeting with Allen in October.
This investigation was substantially completed by September 3, 1991, at which time Independent Counsel determined that Gates' Iran-Contra activities and testimony did not warrant prosecution.
Were Baker's CNS brethren "smearing" Gates too by noting his Iran-contra role? He doesn't say.