web analytics
November 23, 2014 / 1 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Home » InDepth » Monitor »

Tapes, Transcripts And Watergate Ruminations


Media-Monitor-logo

The recent release of yet another batch of Nixon tapes and transcripts inspired a new round of fulminations by Nixon-haters, most of whom are tellingly silent or remarkably forgiving when the misdeeds and indiscretions of other former presidents are revealed.

There was nothing in the new disclosures to surprise any student of the life and career of Richard Nixon. His insecurities, resentments and old-fashioned bigotry are all there, but we’ve known about them for decades; the only thing that never fails to baffle when one reads or listens to these Oval Office conversations is how a shrewd and calculating politician like Nixon could have so nonchalantly bared the underside of his soul over the course of two and a half years and thousands of hours – all the while knowing his words were being recorded.

With the 35th anniversary of Nixon’s resignation just a few weeks away, the newly released material – while confirming that Nixon, like a disconcerting number of his fellow presidents, was a strange and unpleasant fellow – can’t help but bring to mind the claim by Nixon partisans that Watergate would have been viewed as just politics had Nixon been a liberal Democrat or even a Republican who didn’t happen to be the longtime bete noire of liberal journalists.

Ben Stein, the former Nixon speechwriter who went on to make a lucrative Hollywood career for himself, asked a few years ago in another Watergate-related context, “Can anyone even remember now what Nixon did that was so terrible?…. Does anyone remember what he did that was bad? Oh, now I remember. He lied. He was a politician who lied. How remarkable…. He lied so he could stay in office and keep his agenda of peace going. That was his crime…. He was a peacemaker. He was a lying, conniving, covering up peacemaker. He was not a lying, conniving drug addict like JFK, a lying, conniving war starter like LBJ, a lying, conniving seducer like Clinton….”

One needn’t be as far gone as Stein in his see-no-evil appreciation of Nixon to acknowledge at least a kernel of truth in his position, especially given the revelations of the past 30 years that presidents before Nixon had engaged in the same activities that ultimately brought him down – activities that reporters had not considered a matter of public interest when the presidents involved were named Roosevelt, Kennedy and Johnson.

Such second thoughts actually started not long after Nixon’s resignation in August 1974; in a much noted article the liberal journalist Nicholas von Hoffman wrote, “In the months since [Nixon’s] departure, his defense looks better. Half a dozen Congressional committees have brought forth volumes of information all adducing that the break-ins, the tapping, snooping and harassment have been routine government activities for at least a generation.”

In his 1977 book It Didn’t Start With Watergate, the late Victor Lasky wrote, “Democratic scandals of comparable, if not greater, significance were permitted to glide by without any of the overwhelming and unrelenting attention later paid Watergate by a press which … sought to disembowel a hated president.”

Even the legacy of Woodward and Bernstein – the Washington Post reporters who broke the Watergate story and kept it alive until congressional investigations started up in mid-1973 – is no longer viewed as a purely heroic one. The duo’s excessive reliance on unnamed sources has, over the years, come under increasingly critical scrutiny; Watergate, the liberal historian Alan Brinkley told The New York Times, “created a model of journalism that is easily abused and debased. It created generations of people trying to replicate that role by digging in more and more unsavory ways….”

As the late Theodore White noted in his The Making of the President 1972, “At some point in the 1960s [journalists] had begun to see themselves as creators of the news – not the recorders, but the shapers, of events.”

“It was Nixon’s misfortune to be in office,” wrote former Nixon speechwriter Ray Price, “when both ‘advocacy journalism’ and the notion that the media should be ‘adversary’ to the government enjoyed their greatest modern-day vogue.”

The late Vernon Walters, who served as deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency during the Nixon years, was more direct, telling authors Gerald and Deborah Strober that “the idea of this man [Nixon] winning the largest number of electoral votes since George Washington…this drove the media absolutely insane; they had to get rid of him. It was not a professional thing with the media; it was an emotional thing….”

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Tapes, Transcripts And Watergate Ruminations”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Arab butchers in the Har Nof massacre left Canadian-Israeli Howie Rothman in a coma. Above: Rothman and two of his children.
Canadian-Israeli in Coma from Har Nof Massacre
Latest Indepth Stories
Kfar Kana Riots

Riot started when Muslim students wore the Pal. kaffiyeh and Druze students demanded them removed

Dalia Lemkos, HY"D Is this the image you think of when you hear the word "settler?"

The “Media” didn’t want us to know what a kind, giving, loving young woman Dalia was.

A “Palestine” could become another Lebanon, with many different factions battling for control.

Temple_Mount_aerial_from_south_tb_q010703bsr-300x225

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

Having a strong community presence at the polls shows our elected officials we care about the issues

Israel’s Temple Mount policy prefers to blames the Jews-not the attackers-for the crisis.

When Islam conquered the Holy Land, it made its capital in Ramle of all places, not in Jerusalem.

I joined the large crowd but this time it was more personal; my cousin Aryeh was one of the victims.

Terrorists aren’t driven by social, economic, or other grievances, rather by a fanatical worldview.

The phrase that the “Arabs are resorting to violence” is disgraceful and blames the victim.

Tuesday, Yom Shlishi, a doubly good day in the Torah, Esav’s hands tried to silence Yaakov’s voice.

Because of the disparate nature of the perpetrators, who are also relatively young, and given the lack of more traditional targets and the reverence Palestinians have for their homes, one now hears talk of Israel returning to a policy of destroying the houses of terrorists’ families.

In any event, the Constitution gives Congress what is popularly described as the “power of the purse” – that is, the power to raise revenues through taxation and to decide how the money should be sent.

It is difficult to write about such a holy person, for I fear I will not accurately portray his greatness…

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Comptroller DiNapoli celebrates Sukkot with Crown Heights Jewish community leaders at the sukkah of Rabbi Chanina Sperlin of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council.

The New York State comptroller manages the state’s $180.7 billion pension fund, audits the spending practices of all state agencies and local governments, oversees the New York State and Local Retirement System, reviews the New York State and City budgets, and approves billions in State contracts and spending.

Front-Page-102414

While not all criticism of Israel stemmed from anti-Semitism, Podhoretz contends the level of animosity towards Israel rises exponentially the farther left one moved along the spectrum.

When you grow up in a home where your parents went through what my parents went through, you realize that life has to be meaningful. You have to be there for other people.

“It’s a lousy column and a dishonest one,” Halberstam wrote. “So close it. Or you will end up just as shabby as Safire.”

Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state

These are not necessarily the best all-around biographies or studies of the individual presidents listed (though some rank right up there), but the strongest in terms of exploring presidential attitudes and policies toward Israel.

The Clintonan “engagement” liberals remember with such fondness did nothing but embolden Arafat and Hamas and Hizbullah as they witnessed Israel’s only real ally elevate process ahead of policy.

What really makes one wonder about the affinity felt by certain Jews for Grant was the welcome mat he put out for some of the country’s most pernicious anti-Semites.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/tapes-transcripts-and-watergate-ruminations/2009/07/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: