Those of us old enough and politically savvy enough to remember the Nixon White House cannot help but compare the Obama Administration's war on Fox News to the Nixon White House campaign against Daniel Schorr (photo at left) and other journalists who had earned its ire. It was a great career boost for Schorr, who became a featured speaker on the civil liberties banquet tour and may well in part owe his present "Senior News Analyst" position at NPR to the ill-advised persecution campaign initiated by President Nixon.
Charles Krauthammer has written one of the best columns I have seen regarding the foolishness of the Obama Administration's attempt to discredit Fox News in order to discourage criticism of the President's policies and performance. That column may be read at Townhall.com among other places.
While there have been some lukewarm and unduly respectful attempts by other media outlets to question or criticize the Obama Admnistration's anti-Fox campaign, generally the reaction of the news media has been shameful. One can only imagine the media reaction that would have ensued had the George W. Bush Administration conducted a similar campaign against MNBC, whose criticisms of President Bush more than matched those of the Obama Administration by Fox News, both in viciousness and lack of respect.
The media community's reaction to the heavy-handed Obama Administration tactics has been muted and mild. MNBC stars such as the odious Keith Obermann and Rachel Maddow have actually applauded it.
NPR political commentator Ken Rudin felt compelled to make a public apology for merely comparing the Obama Administration's anti-Fox News campaign to the attacks on the media by President Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew. To his credit, Mr. Rudin had made the following observation on NPR's Talk of the Nation:
"Well, it's not only aggressive, it's almost Nixonesque. I mean, you think of what Nixon and Agnew did with their enemies list and their attacks on the media; certainly Vice President Agnew's constant denunciation of the media. Of course, then it was a conservative president denouncing a liberal media, and of course, a lot of good liberals said, 'Oh, that's ridiculous. That's an infringement on the freedom of press.' And now you see a lot of liberals almost kind of applauding what the White House is doing to Fox News, which I think is distressing."
Stung and chastened by the flood of criticism of his remarks from the outraged politically correct left, Mr. Rudin made the sort of public confession of error that one normally expects from a purged Chinese Communist Party official rather than an American political analyst. He described his comparison as a "boneheaded mistake" and said that his comparison was "foolish, facile, ridiculous and, ultimately, embarrassing to me." It probably cost him invitations to some reallly good White House holiday parties as well.
To my knowledge, NPR's Daniel Schorr has been absolutely silent on the subject.
While it is certainly true that the Nixon Administration went far beyond what the Obama Adminstration has so far attempted, to the point of employing illegal wiretaps and FBI investigations of its media critics, if the press continues to be cowed by the Obama White House, we can expect more of the same bully boy tactics, and even more objectionable ones.
I guess that with the liberal media, it is a question of whose Fox is being Schorred.