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Subject: Murray Baron, Labor Lawyer - Head of Accuracy in Media

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Date Posted: September 26, 2002 12:52:27 EDT

Murray Baron, a labor lawyer and consultant and former Liberal Party leader who became the president of the conservative journalism criticism group Accuracy in Media, died on Monday in Greenwich, Connecticut

In a long career in labor in which his personal politics gradually veered to the right, he struggled to keep unions honest and free of undue influence from either communism or criminals. He worked closely with Robert F. Kennedy in his investigation of James Hoffa, the Teamsters leader, said Mr. Baron's wife, Claire.

His labor interests led him into politics. He joined the Socialist Party, in part because of its opposition to communism, and later became a founder of the New York Liberal Party, whose Senate nomination he once sought.

Murray Baron was born in Brooklyn on June 28, 1908. His parents, Eastern European socialists, lived in France and left for New York from England. His father was a cigar maker and his mother a union organizer. He graduated from Columbia University and Brooklyn Law School and began working for unions, particularly the International Ladies Garment Workers Union and the International Pocketbook and Luggage Workers Union.

He joined the wage and hours division of the Labor Department. In the late 30's, he won what was then a large back-pay settlement for 10,000 knitted-goods workers, a quarter of a million dollars.

He joined the Socialist Party, then headed by Norman Thomas, and worked as a party organizer in the South. He met Claire Librescot, his wife of 68 years, in the party. He is also survived by their daughter, Lynn Baron Henson of Philadelphia.

In 1936, he ran as a socialist for president of the New York City Board of Aldermen, but lost.

In his political thinking, however, Mr. Baron gradually became one of what he called "one of the most ignored groups in the country anti-Communist liberals." He was a founder of the Liberal Party in New York State in 1944 and was one of the first members of Americans for Democratic Action, founded in 1947.

He was the Manhattan Liberal Party leader, and in 1968 challenged Senator Jacob K. Javits for the Liberal Party's nomination to the United States Senate. His argument was that Mr. Javits, while a good man, was also still a Republican allied with Richard M. Nixon and other Republican leaders.

Mr. Baron lost by more than 2 to 1, an outcome his wife said he not only expected but welcomed. "He said, `I couldn't do it if I wasn't positive I was going to lose,' " she said.

Reed Irvine, chairman of Accuracy in Media, said that Mr. Baron joined the group in 1972, three years after its founding. He became president in 1976.

As president of Accuracy in Media, Mr. Baron joined Mr. Irvine in constant and vocal criticism of what they saw as a leftist political tilt in newspapers and television. Their weapons were speeches, letters, meetings with executives and attendance at publishing companies' annual meetings by virtue of having bought some of their stock. One frequent target of Mr. Baron's criticism was The New York Times, the paper he said he had read and often memorized since childhood.

In a notable encounter in 1992, at the CBS shareholders' meeting, Mr. Baron took on Dan Rather, the anchor of "The CBS Evening News," for criticizing greed. He suggested Mr. Rather's next contract negotiations be taped and shown in prime time so that viewers could see "how greed manifests itself even in the networks."

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