It has now been more than four decades since the Washington Post and New York Times led the charge to bring down Richard Nixon and his administration’s massive web of corruption and political subterfuge schemes. They did so by aggressively and tirelessly seeking out the truth, and reporting back to the American people clearly and comprehensively.
Today, both publications have become willing accomplices in suppressing the same type of information they worked so tenaciously to expose all those years ago. By openly and unapologetically acting as institutional surrogates for the Clinton campaign, these same institutions, and nearly every other mainstream media outlet in America, have gone hands-off in exposing what may very well turn out to be the most explosive and damaging corruption scandal in American politics since “Tricky Dick” was reelected back in ’72.
Not by coincidence, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have stepped in to fill the void. And boy, are the “truth seekers” mad about that!
My, How Times Have Changed
On June 17, 1972, five men were arrested for breaking and entering the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, both reporters for the Washington Post at the time, unflinchingly pursued the complete truth behind the break-in. Little did they know that summer how vast was the network of lies and corruption their investigation would eventually uncover.
The editors at the Post initially put the story on the back burner, while the Nixon administration deftly stonewalled the reporters’ probes. By September, though, the Post and New York Times were fully on board with the investigation, and the administration had gone into full cover-up mode. Even though the FBI had confirmed that the administration had conducted a political sabotage conspiracy, it was not enough to keep Nixon from being reelected in a landslide in November. But the die was cast. The American press made it clear this story would not end until all the facts were in and Nixon and his henchmen were fully exposed.
Fast-forward to 2016. We are now two weeks away from the general election, and once again a potentially devastating story appears to be developing, related to a web of corruption and deceit that could eventually rival the Watergate scandal. Just like 1972, the Post and the Times are fully engaged. Except this time, the “two lions of journalism” have little interest in covering the avalanche of revelations pouring forth against the Clinton campaign. Instead, both publications are working around the clock to bring the Democratic nominee to power. That’s not all. Nearly every other mainstream media outlet in the country has jumped on the bandwagon.
It would be incorrect to think that until now the mainstream media has been a relatively objective source for news. This has been going on for a long time. Few could argue that back in the ’70s, editors Ben Bradlee at the Post and Abe Rosenthal at the Times were not absolutely salivating at the chance to bring Nixon down. But they achieved this objective in relentless pursuit of the facts, not the willing suppression of the same.
One would think, given the self-inflicted meltdown the Donald Trump camp finds itself in right now, the media might at least feign some level of balanced reporting, but they’ve made it very clear they’re not taking any chances. They’re going to keep digging dirt on Trump, and they’re going to continue to minimize, to the best of their ability, a story that may well have historic and damaging implications, both for the nation as a whole and our entire political system moving forward.
Although this may prove to be a very successful political tactic for this year’s presidential election, it is likely to forever damage the reputation of mainstream American journalism, and it most certainly will continue to encourage the American public to look elsewhere for the unvarnished truth.
White Knight or Black Pawn?
Enter WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange. As many people know, WikiLeaks is essentially a disseminator of private, confidential, and oftentimes classified communication that belongs to both private individuals and public officials. They obtain it through the dark art of hacking.
The organization’s willing violation of right-to-privacy provisions, as enumerated directly or indirectly in the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and even Ninth Amendments to our Constitution, should be enough for all Americans to take pause. These are not nice people, and by their actions alone they have demonstrated a blatant disregard for the American way of life.
The Clinton campaign and Obama administration have seized upon this and used it very effectively in pulverizing the credibility of Assange and his efforts. Further, they have claimed that Russia is behind all of this and that there is a very good chance Trump is working in tandem with Russian President Vladimir Putin in order to influence the general election. This has also given the media every excuse in the book to minimize reporting on the WikiLeaks revelations.
That said, a paradox exists that cannot be ignored. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the mainstream media are all telling us that Putin and Assange are the bad guys. Bad guys they might be, but in effect they are providing information to the American people that Clinton and Obama do not want them to have, because if the American people have this information, they would not approve of what Clinton and President Obama have done.
Color me reactionary, but I don’t think Putin and Assange are the folks we should be most concerned about right now. They are only influencing the election based upon larger disclosure of the facts. Clinton, Obama, and the media are influencing the election based on attempts to suppress and distort the facts.
There is no doubt that, whatever his reasons, if Putin is involved he is not acting on behalf of or for the benefit of the American people. But it is also certain that, given what we know now, Obama, Clinton, and their loyal propaganda corps are not reacting to his maneuvers on behalf of or for the benefit of the American people. They are doing what benefits themselves, which is to maintain power, and they will do whatever is necessary to accomplish that objective.
To think they are taking such a hard line against Putin’s Russia and Assange’s WikiLeaks solely to protect our constitutional liberties and national security would be naïve. They are working tirelessly to deflect and delegitimize a substantial amount of very incriminating evidence by attempting to destroy the reliability of the originators of that evidence. This is a standard progressive tactic straight out of the Saul Alinsky playbook.
Some Things Never Change
Lest we mistakenly assume that the sanctimony and righteous indignation that mainstream outlets are spewing against Assange and Putin somehow gives the moral high ground to a revered and prestigious publication like the Washington Post, a further reflection on Watergate and the Nixon downfall might be helpful.
Many would agree that Woodward and Bernstein put “investigative journalism” on the map. They didn’t invent it, but they certainly raised the craft to a respected level. It would be a mistake, however, to assume that investigative journalism, at least as the two tenacious Post reporters practiced it, was anything less than hardball reporting. When the individual who was primarily responsible for revealing the full range of corruption behind the Nixon administration is surreptitiously referred to as “Deep Throat,” you know you’re not operating on the same plain as Walter Cronkite or Edward R. Murrow. There was some very dark matter rising to the surface.
Few people still alive know just how sordid this investigation really got, although several written accounts have been published that go far beyond the glorified portrayal in the film version of that period, titled “All The President’s Men.” One thing is certain: reporters didn’t always adhere to standard journalism protocols when attempting to get to the bottom of this vital story. Few people then or now were concerned about the privacy rights of John Erlichman, Bob Haldeman, G. Gordon Liddy, or any other of Nixon’s merry pranksters. The stakes were too high. The rules were off the table.
Whether we like it or not, in many ways, when we measure the tactics WikiLeaks employs today against those of many mainstream news organizations back then, the game has never really changed. It has just switched from analog to digital.
I realize this presents a moral equivalence that many principled, thoughtful Americans would find unacceptable. That is fair and understandable. But there have been times in our nation’s history when we found it necessary to do whatever was required to protect the safety and freedom of our republic. The measures taken back in the ’70s to expose the corruption of the Nixon administration is an example of that. I think this is another one of those times.
The Truth Shall Set Her Free—From The White House
On July 30, 1974, Nixon was forced to turn over a series of taped recordings related to numerous meetings and conversations conducted at the White House. These tapes included enough damaging evidence to put the final nail in the coffin on Nixon’s administration. It was also revealed that 18.5 minutes of tape had been erased. The furor that erupted from all corners, including the media, was enormous. It was considered one of the most reprehensible single acts in the history of American politics. Unforgivable, unconscionable, disgusting—all of those outcries were fair and appropriate.
But this is no longer 1974, and we are no longer talking about Richard Nixon. It is 2016, and we are talking about Hillary Clinton. Her staff and their accomplices have erased some 33,000 emails; they have had hard drives acid-washed; they have crushed multiple cell phones with hammers; with the help of the FBI, they have had laptops destroyed. The reaction to all of this from our esteemed mainstream media? “She’s answered all of these questions. It’s time to move on.”
The investigative journalism big media outlets employed in the ’70s to expose widespread political corruption and deceit is now being used to uncover the past moral transgressions of a flawed Republican candidate. It’s juicy stuff indeed that certainly warrants publication if the facts support the allegations. But to use this tabloid-worthy information to at least partly deflect from an already overwhelming amount of damaging evidence, as verified by the actual words of the perpetrators themselves, is—how should I say it—deplorable.
The mainstream media has done an excellent job thus far in suppressing the real case against Hillary Clinton. But as the avalanche of evidence against her continues to mount, the truth will overwhelm their effort to limit the reporting. By that time, even they will be forced to abandon the charade.
The way things stand right now, it might be too late to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House, but, as Richard Nixon learned back in 1974, it will never be too late to show her the door.
To that, I say to Assange, go for it! We’ll deal with you later.