By now, of course, it’s well established that the media is out to destroy the right wing and shill for the left. This should come as a surprise to no one.
What came as a surprise to me was how long it’s been going on and how far-reaching its effects have been.
I’ve been reading A History of the American People by Paul Johnson, a little bit at a time for a while now. Great book, by the way. Johnson’s opinion of the Watergate affair was that a press, who had eagerly shilled for FDR, JFK and LBJ, but who hated Nixon, destroyed him over minor issues when they had actively covered up much larger transgressions in Nixon’s predecessors. Well, no big shocker there.
The big shocker to me was how their actions led directly to the disaster that was the ’70’s. Nixon had gotten us out of Vietnam, but had not turned tail and run. He had negotiated a settlement that fixed the border between North and South and that included an American air and naval presence offshore, so that America could easily come to the aid of the south if the north broke the truce. Of course the north did break the truce, but by the time they did, Nixon had been forced out and Gerald Ford was president, appointed to the Vice President post in the wake of the different scandal that forced Spiro Agnew out and then succeeding Nixon. Being unelected, he was very weak, and was only allowed through the nominations process by a Democratic congress because he would be weak, having no coalition, no mandate, no strong principled positions. But Ford was a good guy, and tried very hard to get Congress to do something when the Communists invaded the south, but of course they didn’t.
The presidency was neutered for the rest of the decade. Ford could do very little, and Carter was even worse, emboldening our enemies and alienating our friends. All this because the press decided that they didn’t like Nixon, and set out to destroy him.
Now this is all Johnson’s take on it. I know that Johnson’s pretty conservative, so perhaps he’s biased. But the resemblance to our own day, where a press eager to witchhunt Bush for anything they can come up with, when they covered up far greater offenses under Clinton, is a little shocking, and chilling in the consequences if they succeed in getting Kerry elected.