Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fawn Brodie's Richard Nixon: The Shaping of His Character 5

On page 294 of Richard Nixon: The Shaping of His Character, Fawn Brodie talks about an investigative reporter by the name of Drew Pearson:

"Both [Joseph] McCarthy and Nixon had been castigated by Drew Pearson, Washington gadfly columnist and radio commentator.  Although Pearson had been called a liar by FDR, Truman, and a score of congressmen, he was nevertheless widely feared for the general accuracy of his exposures and his willingness to risk libel suits.  Only long after his death was he recognized as one of the nation's most courageous investigative reporters."  Brodie then goes on to describe the time that Senator Joseph McCarthy beat Pearson up (and I mean literally).

Pearson worked with another famous investigative reporter, Jack Anderson.  On page 277, Brodie refers to a discovery that Pearson and Anderson made in her attempt to argue that Nixon indeed benefited some of the wealthy contributors to his controversial fund: "Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson discovered that two oilmen contributors, who had been refused government permission to explore for oil on a military reservation, were now beneficiaries of a Nixon bill to open up that reservation for exploration."

Don Fulsom in Nixon's Darkest Secrets states that Jack Anderson may have had a religious motivation for his muckraking: "A strict moralist, Anderson's stated lifetime goal was to keep government honest.  A devout Mormon, he viewed his reportorial undertaking as a noble summons from the Almighty" (page 85).  I did not know that Anderson was a Mormon.

I suppose that my attitude towards investigative reporters is love-hate.  It does give me pleasure when wrongdoing is exposed.  When I was growing up, relatives of mine would lament the hypocrisy in the political and religious systems and would say, "Now, when the two witnesses come on the scene, that will be exposed," or "When God is judging these people at the White Throne Judgment, their misdeeds will be exposed."  (The two witnesses are those two prophets in Revelation 11.)  My Dad one time said, "60 Minutes does a better job preaching the Gospel than those Armstrongite churches," or something to that effect.  He was praising 60 Minutes for uncovering wrongdoing.

On the other hand, investigative reporting can mix facts with rumor, and it can wrongfully ruin people's reputations.  This was a concern that was expressed about Drew Pearson, according to this wikipedia article.  Moreover, Nixon did not like the way that his secret plans for negotiating with foreign leaders would end up in Jack Anderson's column, for that sort of hindered the negotiations by tipping the foreign leaders off to our strategies.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Search This Blog