(VP Spiro Agnew - ran around threatening revoked FCC licenses)
At the height of the war between the White House and the Media, The National Press Club ran a panel discussion featuring Bill Monroe of NBC News, Ben Bagdikian and Fred Friendly of CBS. Members of the White House Communications staff were invited; Herb Klein, Pat Buchanan and Dean Burch, but declined. The subject was The Media and The Administration and a few interesting myths were put to rest.
Ben Bagdikian: “The fact is, that the press of this country is overwhelmingly conservative and Republican. We are in danger of not enough criticism of government, not too much. Most of the new that leaves this town (D.C.) is pretty much what public officials say, with not enough time and energy put into testing the validity of what they say. It’s only human that a public official wants it that way, but it happens to be lousy journalism and bad for democracy. Now Democrats weren’t in love with the press either in their time. And we shouldn’t expect to be loved. We dish it out and we ought to be able to take it when it’s given back to us. But when it comes to the press, I think there’s a difference between Republicans and Democrats. The Republicans have had a sympathetic press for so long and in so many places, that they now regard any departure from this as a theft of a natural right. Now it’s not really the Republicans fault either. It’s the fault of the majority of papers in this country who’ve conditioned their local conservative readers to believe that it is the natural born duty of every publication to support Republicans. Let me be specific: a paper’s endorsing a Presidential candidate in 1968, 80% endorsed Nixon, which is about what it’s been with one exception, for Republican candidates in every Presidential race in this generation. And its not just the small town papers. Endorsement by circulation size is about the same percentage. And if we’re talking about a press out of step, how about 80% for Nixon, while the readers vote 43 ½% for Nixon?”
Bagdikian says pretty much what most everyone felt, even as far back as 1972. The idea that mainstream media is a bastion of liberal thought is really a myth cooked up by the GOP. And it's plain to see this myth still holds true today, even more so.
It's interesting to note that the systematic dismantling of network news departments and FCC regulations being abandoned really started with the Nixon administration. It's only been the past 20 odd years we've actually witnessed the long-term effects of those massacres.