Friday, June 03, 2005

It's still about the Constitution

At the risk of sounding like a major fan of "Larry King Live," your blogstress feels compelled to note last night's remarkable show. Dan Rather had been the scheduled guest--reason enough for a journalist to watch, given the circumstances by which the Texan was forced from the CBS News anchor chair. But in the wake of the stunning revelation by Mark Felt's family that their patriarch was the famous Watergate source, Deep Throat, King added an extra hour with Woodward and Bernstein. Most fascinating was both men's insistence that nobody, not even they, truly knows the full scope and details of the Watergate conspiracy.

As noted here yesterday, the timing of the Felt revelation is exquisite, given the administration's vilification of Newsweek for the use of an anonymous source in the Koran-flushing item run in Periscope several weeks ago. Appearing after the first hour of Larry King with Woodward and Bernstein, Rather made note of how the Nixon administration tried to make the Watergate story about the political proclivities of the most troublesome reporters. King showed a clip of Nixon himself on the King show, claiming that he had been targeted by a liberal media because he was a conservative:

RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Oh, no, no. As far as Dan Rather and the -- my other critics in the media, and I have a number of them -- I have a number of friends, as well, as I pointed out in my book, as you note -- I realized that their attitude toward me was due to the fact that they simply disagreed with me. I was a conservative. They were liberal.

Rather responded to King with the money quote:

RATHER: Well, first of all, I don't want to debate the word conservative, but by my definition, a conservative is someone who wants to conserve the Constitution of the United States and the American tradition and law that no one is above the law.

Clearly not the mindset of the 37th president of the United States, who subverted the governing document at every turn.

Today, we are led by a president and cronies with--if it is possible--even greater contempt for the Constitution of the United States. Rather noted that Nixon almost got away with Watergate and, were it not for a couple of courageous "people at the top" of several media organizations, most notably the Washington Post, he would have. In other words, Woodward and Bernstein got to save the country because Katharine Graham and Ben Bradlee sanctioned their work. Likewise, the honchos at CBS News backed Rather as he badgered the president, reporting on the Post's coverage.

Yo, media moguls, time to step up.

NOTE: While admitting mistakes made while reporting the pre-election story about the 43rd president's truant status in the Texas Air National Guard, Rather refused to back off the substance of the story. "The last line of this has yet to be written," he said.

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