Andy Lightbody

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Andy Lightbody was the military and aerospace editor for CBS Radio, the Gulf War/military analyst for Channel 11 Multi Media Television–Los Angeles (now FOX News), and a regular guest on numerous shows seen and heard on CNN, the BBC, NHK and other international network programmes.[1] Lightbody's promotional statement note that his 'broadcasts on CBS Radio (KNX in Los Angeles) won him a “Golden Mike Award” as part of the Best News Program for 1990.'[2] They do not mention the expose published by the Los Angeles Times in 1991 which revealed the 'he lacks the academic and military credentials he has claimed.'[3]


Record and controversies

According to a 1991 expose in the Los Angeles Times:

When events in the Persian Gulf sent local broadcast outlets scrambling for "military experts," Andy Lightbody was in the right place at the right time. A stocky, bearded, 37-year-old Irvine man with a distinctive tenor voice, Lightbody had been reporting regularly since 1987 as military and aerospace editor for KNX-AM (1070) radio in Los Angeles and was hosting a show on cable's Financial News Network. He had made 2,100 radio and television appearances, according to his 10-page resume, and had been quoted in numerous publications, including The Times.
Then he really got busy. Some days during the Gulf crisis, Lightbody was heard almost hourly on KNX, as well as on other CBS radio network stations around the country. His rapid-fire observations were picked up by Fox's KTTV Channel 11, where he was seen nightly during the war. Even before the Aug. 2 Iraqi invasion, Lightbody had enough work to sign with the William Morris Agency in New York and the Walters International Speakers Bureau of Pasadena, one of the largest in the country. He now averages five speeches a month at $2,000 each, mostly to defense and aerospace industry groups such as Rockwell and General Dynamics.
Lightbody's accomplishments are even more striking in light of the fact that he lacks the academic and military credentials he has claimed. While he is described in promotional literature as an "investigative reporter," his journalism career is based largely on picture books and magazines--some published by his father-in-law--full of Pentagon and defense contractors' handouts. Similarly, his half-hour Financial News Network show, "High Tech News," which repeats four times weekly, often features photographs, models, video and animation from defense contractors and company representatives.
Although Lightbody has claimed at various times to be a graduate of Loyola University and a former Air Force officer, he is neither, records show. He attended Loyola, but his only college degrees are from the University of Beverly Hills, a defunct, never-accredited institution; his military record consists of three years as an ROTC cadet ("technically, he was never in the service," said Ralph W. McCann, chief of the Air Force Reference Branch of the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis), and his highest aviation certification is a student pilot's license.
In recent interviews with The Times, Lightbody acknowledged that he may have "erred" on these points in resumes, books and in an earlier taped interview. He said that listing the Loyola degree in one of his books was an error, but he did not explain why he claimed to be a Loyola graduate in the earlier Times interview. The status of the University of Beverly Hills, he said, "comes as a major shock to me." He said that he left the ROTC program because "the Air Force violated its contract" with him, but he did not say why a resume submitted to one broadcast employer identifies him as "a former Air Force officer."
But he insisted that none of this diminishes his credibility, and that he is not unlike any "beat" reporter in journalism who developed expertise on the job. "The excellent relationship I have with the defense and high-technology industries, as well as the military, was never based upon where I went to school or military background," he said in a written statement.
"I am self-taught," he added, "thanks to thousands of books and articles I have read. . . . In addition, I have worked with and built sources and contacts in the military, the government and industry." While his reports are salted with phrases like "Pentagon people we talked to" and "we talked to several pilots," he declined to provide any names of sources apart from military or contractor public affairs and media representatives. Still, citing the many "second seat" flights he has taken in military aircraft and other vehicles, Lightbody said in the written statement, "I'm anything but an armchair reporter."
Erik Simonsen, a public relations spokesman for Rockwell International familiar with Lightbody's aerospace reporting, said, "I think he's very articulate in that subject area, getting a lot of high-tech language across to the public in a way that's understood. It's nice to have someone there who can explain exactly what's happening." Col. Thomas A. Hornung, head of the Air Force's Western division public affairs office, has worked with Lightbody on a number of projects and said that he found him to be "very fair" and "very good at what he does." He cited Lightbody's "understanding of aerospace issues" and his training "as an Air Force pilot" as his strong points.
Informed of Lightbody's military record, Hornung said he was surprised but that he nonetheless found Lightbody to be "very accurate in what he had to say about the Air Force."[4]

After exposing Lightbody, the Times reported the fallout:

KNX radio has "severed relations" with Andy Lightbody, the all-news station's military and aerospace editor, following a Los Angeles Times profile that raised questions about his credentials. Station news director Robert Sims said he was "concerned" by the issues raised in The Times story but declined further comment. Lightbody, reached Tuesday at his home in Irvine, said he had no comment.
The announcement that Lightbody was dropped came in a one-sentence electronic message issued by Sims to KNX editors on April 2, the day after The Times article appeared...
In a statement that followed the article, he said he has "logged hundreds of hours of flight time" and that his "ability to 'fly and fly-in' a host of military aircraft is well known. My decision not to seek various flight ratings is strictly a personal one. It has never been the subject of question with the military in my covering subjects related to high performance aircraft."
While Lightbody was reporting on defense, aerospace and high technology issues for KNX, which is owned and operated by CBS, he also was reporting for Fox Channel 11 and the Financial News Network on cable. A spokesman for the CBS Radio Stations News Service in Washington, which had been distributing Lightbody's reports to other network-owned affiliates and had been discussing a syndicated, high-technology program, declined to comment on Lightbody's status.
Dick Tuininga, news director for Fox Channel 11 where Lightbody had been a contract employee until March 31 serving as a military analyst, would not say whether Lightbody's contract has been renewed. He did say, though, that "currently, we do not have anything on the burner for him." In the future, "we would use him as the need arises," Tuininga said.
Lightbody also was averaging $10,000 a month in speakers fees, mostly from defense contractors, according to his agent, Lilly Walters of Pasadena. However, in a subsequent letter to The Times, Lightbody said the $10,000 figure was "a misrepresentation," adding, "I only wish my talents would be in such demand." Lightbody said his speaking engagements go "far beyond" the defense community. "I regularly address everyone from civic groups to international corporations and associations. Many have not relation to the 'military' at all," he said.[5]

According to Lawrence soley, Lightbody was also 'shunned' by 'reporters who had previously believed Lightbody to be one of the country's leading military experts'[6]

However, the isolation did not last long. The LA Times reported on 5 July 1991 that Lightbody

dropped as military and aerospace editor at KNX-AM radio following reports that he fudged his academic and military credentials, is on the air again. The Irvine resident's "Technology Reports" can now be heard weeknights on XEKAM-950 AM, a high-powered Tijuana station covering Southern California. . . . Station manager Luis Alvarado is unconcerned about Lightbody's resume: "We're always getting viable information from Andy."[7]

Personal information






  1. Andy Lightbody, The Terrorism Survival Guide website, accessed 3 Sept 2009
  2. Andy Lightbody, The Terrorism Survival Guide website, accessed 3 Sept 2009
  3. 'Military Expert' Has a Gap in His Credentials - Broadcasting: Andy Lightbody has claimed a background he doesn't have, but several media employers have expressed satisfaction with his work By MARK I. PINSKY, TIMES STAFF WRITER Los Angeles Times, April 01, 1991
  4. 'Military Expert' Has a Gap in His Credentials - Broadcasting: Andy Lightbody has claimed a background he doesn't have, but several media employers have expressed satisfaction with his work By MARK I. PINSKY, TIMES STAFF WRITER Los Angeles Times, April 01, 1991
  5. KNX Shows 'Military Expert' the Door - Radio: The CBS station fires Andy Lightbody following a Los Angeles Times story questioning his credentials Los Angeles Times, By MARK I. PINSKY, TIMES STAFF WRITER April 10, 1991
  6. Lawrence Soley (1992) The News Shapers: The Sources Who Explain the News, New York: Praeger, p. 150
  7. ORANGE COUNTY NEWSWATCH By Jeffrey A. Perlman, and Jim Newton, Los Angeles Times, July 05, 1991