2.22.2005

Watergate 2005

I'm dreary about linking to Richard Reeves, I know, but I never see anyone else doing it and I agree with him so often:

"The American press is barely being protected by its own owners, many of them entertainment corporations prone to erase any facts inconvenient to those who write tax laws and approve mergers and acquisitions. The straight American press, and most of it is, is being nibbled to death by a Greek chorus of know-nothing mouthpieces mocking anyone brazen enough to question the orthodoxy of the day or the cut of the emperor's wardrobe.

Imagine Watergate 2005, with Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly preaching their sermons on the patriotism of a 29-year-old reporter who was close to being fired for forgetting where he abandoned rental cars (private property) and whose parents were both communists -- that would be Carl Bernstein. Disney and Viacom and Fox have their virtues, I'm sure, but they are no Graham and Bradlee. Graham bet the company on journalism. I think she would be laughed off the business pages today -- and, in fact, over a lifetime she did decide to (or have to) plead for Wall Street's forgiveness for her own brave brand of Americanism.

Now the laughers are in charge. In the last year, the White House has explicitly stated that it believes it has no obligation to deal with the press as anything but another special interest. In the past week, federal judges have ruled that Time magazine and New York Times reporters should go to jail for what they know, even if it was never published. Another federal court ruled that the governor of Maryland has the right to order state employees never to answer questions posed by The Baltimore Sun.

So it goes in the land of the free."


As noted, I agree, but implicit in his argument is that Nixon's fall was a good thing that ought to have happened, an assumption I imagine most modern Republicans would disagree with vehemently, what with Woodward and Bernstein guilty of the far greater crime of being from the Washington Post.

This despite the fact that Nixon started the EPA and consorted with Communists like Mao and Brezhnev; he was just hated so by the liberals that the right wing counts him as one of their own. Clinton reaps a similar benefit on the opposite side, of course; but I think the effect is less.

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