FLASHBACK: Richard Nixon Hammered Extreme Bias of Liberal Press in 1962

Republicans like Ron DeSantis fight the bias and dishonesty that is the hallmark of conservatives as they prepare for an uncertain midterm election. As those on the right know, it’s not a new complaint. It goes back to 2022. Bush, Ronald Reagan. After Richard Nixon’s defeat in his race to the California governorship, on 1962 election night, he criticized the liberal biases of the press. 

In the so-called “last press conference,” Nixon blasted the assembled reporters, highlighting his days as an anti-communist crusader: “For 16 years, ever since the Hiss case, you’ve had a lot of- a lot of fun…You’ve had an opportunity to attack me and I think I’ve given as good as I’ve taken.” He lectured the press: “If they’re against a candidate, give him the shaft, but also recognize if they give him the shaft, put one lonely reporter on the campaign who will report what the candidate says now and then.” 



Showing just how long the liberal press has been a problem, Nixon argued: 

I would hope that in the future, as a result of this campaign, that perhaps they would try at least simply to see that what both candidates say is reported, that if they have questions to ask of one candidate they ask the same questions of the other candidate.

New book in the suburbs The Campaign of the Century: Kennedy and Nixon, as well as the Election of 1960Irwin F. Gellman, historian, sought to eliminate the pro-John F. Kennedy bias in journalism and in his book.The Making of the President 1960. Gellman observed, Make-up of the President author Theodore White conceded his own bias 18 years later in 1978, saying that he wrote the book “as a story” featuring Kennedy as the hero: “Young, rich, heroic, witty, well read and handsome.” 

The preface Campaign of the CenturyGellman observed: 

1960: The Making of PresidentKennedy was praised for how he treated reporters. The election was covered by forty-five to fifty newsmen. [of 1960]According to White, it is. Kennedy had been a journalist and was a Pulitzer Prize-winning author; the press “had become his friends and some of them, his most devoted admirers.” 

Most authors agree that reporters abandoned their objectivity to advance Kennedy’s candidacy. Ben Bradlee, a fourteen-year-old reporter who was mostly based outside of the United States at Kennedy’s request in 1959. Newsweek. They were close neighbors at Georgetown and became good friends. Bradlee described JFK as “graceful, gay, funny, witty, teasing and teasable, forgiving, hungry, incapable of being corny, restless, interesting, interested, exuberant, blunt, profane and loving.” 

Gellman claims that the January 20, 1961 front page was the one used by Gellman. Washington Post had this embarrassing headline: “Best Prepared President in History to Take Oath Today.” 

Bradlee would continue to serve as the executive editor. The Washington PostFrom 1965 to 1991. Does this man sound like someone capable of objectivity? This is The Post would later tell readers that “democracy dies in darkness.” But it sure sounds like it dies in smothering, fawning praise of a liberal politician. 

Things haven’t change much in the last 60 years, have they? 

You can find more flashback examples in our NewsBusters Time Machine series. Go here

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