The American Gazette

Commonsense political and social commentary from "Flyover Country"

Location: Rural Michigan, United States

Monday, September 13, 2004

The battle for the flow of information, or the ghosts of the early 70's

What do these people have in common?
Dan Rather
Seymour Hersh

Each of these journalists were major players in the conflicts of the late 60's and early 70's. Let me recap a bit for any younger readers who are not familiar with the background.

Dan Rather-The first journalist to report that President John Kennedy had died. In 1964 he was made a White House correspondent.
Rather attracted notice in 1974 for an exchange with Richard Nixon. At a National Association of Broadcasters convention in Houston, Rather was both applauded and jeered when he stood to ask a question, drawing Nixon's query, "Are you running for something?" Many saw Rather's quick retort, "No, sir, Mr. President. Are you?" as an affront.
Many came to see Rather as a combative young journalist against the Nixon administration, fighting to bring the truth.
However, others saw him a bit differently. For years Rather has been accused of a leftist bias, particularly when one compares the way he reported on Nixon, Reagan and Bush I, to the Clinton years. Even those in his profession have accused him of bias, with the Washington Post reporting that he had helped raise money for the Democratic party in Texas.
Dan Rather cut his journalist teeth during the tumeoulous times of the early 70's, and has been credited with helping bring down the Nixon White House.
In 1988 Rather reported on Vietnam Vets who suffered from PTSD, 5 of the 6 purported vets were later exposed as frauds, something Rather and CBS never acknowledged or retracted. He claims the title Marine, but never got out of boot camp.

Seymour Hersh-Came to national prominence by breaking the story of My Lai. His reporting earned him a Pulitzer for that story. Since that time he has written for the New York Times, and written several books. He currently reports on military affairs for the New Yorker. Many consider him a journalistic icon.
Others do not. Instead they accuse him of overuse of anonymous resources, and of character assassination.
A couple cases that point out these issues.
The book "The Dark Side of Camelot." Some of the material in the book were from purported "secret" Kennedy Papers. These turned out to be sensational forgeries about John F Kennedy's rumored affair with Marilyn Monroe and his supposed links to organized crime. These papers were forged by Lawrence Cusack III, a Connecticut paralegal. There was a large furor over it when Hersh deleted from his book the passages referring to the fraud in 1997. In 1999 Cusack was convicted of forgery. Cusack had said the papers were from his father, a prominent attorney, "who had secretly advised Kennedy". The problem with "secrets" is they are very difficult to fact check, particularly from someone eager to believe.
Next-Hersh's book, "The Samson Option" relies heavily on Ari Ben-Menashe. Ben-Menashe has claimed that he was the Commander of the Israeli raid to free highjacked airline passengers at Entebbe in 1976, that he planted a homing device in the Iraqi Nuclear reactor at Osirak just before the Israeli raid on it in 1981, and he claims he declined an offer to become head of the Mossod. He claimed that George Bush the first, meant secretly in Paris on Oct. 19, 1980 with Iranian representatives to delay the release of the hostages there until after Reagan was elected. However Newsweek did an investigation of this and through secret service logs found that Bush I was actually meeting with the Zionist Organization of America at the Capital Hilton in Washington DC on Oct. 19 1980. In Nov. 1990 ABC news gave Ben-Menashea a lie detector test concerning his allegations about Israel and the Iran-Contra affair. According to Christopher Ishan and ABC producer Ben-Menashe failed (Newsweek Nov, 1991) As far as being the Commander at Entebbe, that is easily fact checked. Jonathan Netanyahu was the Commander, where he lost his life. IN fact Israel later checked the name of the operation to Operation Jonathon in remembrance of this man. Israel flat denies his other claims.
Another of Hersh's sources for this book was Joe Flynn, who admitted to deceiving Hersh in exchange for money. After Flynn was exposed Hersh said "he regretted not checking his facts more carefully".

Ok, what we have are two journalists who came to fame through legitimate news stories, and for all purposes reported on well.

Today we have Dan Rather claiming firmly that the documents used to smear Bush are not forgeries, against all evidence that they are.

Today, Seymour Hersh is the reporter that broke the story of Abu Gharib. Another My Lai I believe in his eyes. He has rushed into print a new book about the scandal, and to see the reviews one would think that Abu Gharib is even WORSE than My Lai.

Whenever one attempts to point out to those on the left that atrocities were not wide spread in Vietnam and attempt to give the evidence of such, they bring up My Lai. Later it can be imagined as soldiers come home from Iraq they will have to defend themselves over Abu Ghraib.

The early experiences of these journalists have imprinted upon them a need to show that the govn't is bad and wrong, and will lie to anyone to hide that. And that the military is bad and wrong, and will lie to you to hide that. One only need to take a look at the various books that Hersh has written and it is quite easy to see what his point of view is and where his focus will continue to be. Short version, the govn't and it's officials/arms are all ridiled with people who are liars, just read his book and he'll tell you so.

Dan Rather's left leaning agenda is so apparent that I don't see how anyone can't see it. The references are so numerous that it would make this post too long to go through them all.

It seems that these two journalists have one goal in mind. To bring down any conservative govn't, and to certainly smear the military. That is not to say that I do not think Abu Ghraib was right, I certainly think it was wrong. But I don't believe there was some vast conspiracy from President Bush on down. Bush is not Nixon, despite the desire of many to tar him with the same brush.

So in 2004 we have two journalists who are attempting to revisit their glory years as young men, doing so on the backs of our President, and our military.

While this is going on, they and other Pop Media holler bloody murder because of the sudden power of the blogs. Bloggers are not real journalists, we do not fact check, type in our pajama's etc... yet, those doing the most complaining are those who refuse to report on stories that millions of people are interested in. Hell, how about if they even take the time to actually look into it. Take the Swift Boat stories. Tell me what major outlet, outside of Fox, that even attempted to look into the allegations? Instead they did little more than attempt to show the men involved with this were really just secret GOP operatives, and than attempted as much character assassination as possible.

The forged documents that Dan Rather insists is not forged were brought to light, not by any major news outlet, but by bloggers.

It is the old guard attempting make the new silent. They seem not to have caught up with technology. What a shame they seem so incapable of using a little thing called google. Edward R. Murrow who used the new media of TV must be rolling in his grave.

They wonder why so many have turned to bloggers and other news sources or why Fox is outdrawing other outlets, because they don't have the courage to look into the mirror and see that they have become so biased that it has turned people off. They also can't manage to get their feet out of the contentious years of the end of the Vietnam era. As they attempt to relive the applause and glory of their earlier years, they are unable to see the reality of today.

The current times have been called the most divisive since those late 60's and early 70's. Take a look at who is reporting and where they are coming from and this should not be a surprise. One can only say thank God that things now are not as bad as then. Today is more like a bare knuckled barroom brawl, then the streets riots of the late 60's and early 70's.

Problem is I think there are certain elements of the Pop Media who would be happy to see those days come back.

How anyone in the Democratic party didn't see this coming when John Kerry won the nomination is beyond me.



Blogger Aaron Curtis said...

Well written! I have to agree with you that there are some who would like to see the chaos of the 60's and 70's return. The liberalism so prominent today got its start during that era in the midst of riots, protests and the racial tensions of that time. I think many of the liberal old guard looks back at that time as the defining point of their lives.

I think that younger liberals also yearn for the events of their parent’s time. This could be explained as a liberal right of passage. Certainly, the strange protests during this years RNC would suggest this.

I really appreciate you perspective. Admittedly, I get most of my information on the 60's and 70's from books and documentaries! I was born in '75 and don't recall very much. :-)

I will be staying in touch and visiting often.

8:58 AM  

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