Originally published via Armageddon Prose:
Say what you will of Richard Milhous Nixon — I wouldn’t describe him as anything remotely like a personal hero of mine — but the man understood the mechanics of power.
Given that the corporate state media of his day largely did him in with Watergate, and granted his seemingly naturally endowed paranoia (some might say rightly so) with respect to his political enemies, it’s not surprising he had the following words — shockingly accurate for the time they were uttered (1983) — regarding what he called the “media elitist complex.”
(What’s also not surprising, but scandalous, is that public schoolchildren will never be treated to these words; the only factoid they’ll learn about Richard Nixon, if they learn anything at all, is that he was a crook, as if he somehow stood out as uniquely morally deficient in the long legacy of not just immoral but in many cases outright criminal American presidents.)
“[The media] have much more power than most people would like to think. When we think of the media in this country, the problem is that they have a sense of self-righteousness, a double standard on issue after issue after issue. They can find everything wrong with somebody else, but they will not look inside and ever admit that they could be wrong themselves. And what was involved here in the Watergate thing was the unfairness of it… They allowed their advocacy to get ahead of their reporting, which is their job to do. You know, President Eisenhower, in his farewell address, wrote about and warned against the power of the military-industrial complex. I didn’t get a chance to make a farewell address, but when I get old enough and decide to retire… if I make a farewell address, I think I would warn against the media-elitist complex…
I think we ought to hear a little bit of discussion of the imperial media and its power. You see, presidential power is limited… The media’s power is unlimited.”
The Deep State, of course, long ago realized it could capitalize on the “unlimited” power of the media to pursue its totalitarian ambitions, skirting First Amendment prohibitions on government censorship by infiltrating and co-opting media companies, including social media companies, to disseminate its narratives, ignore or marginalize counter-narratives, and censor and surveil its political opposition.
Ben Bartee, author of Broken English Teacher: Notes From Exile, is an independent Bangkok-based American journalist with opposable thumbs.
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