Belated Obituary for a Flawed Greek Oracle
January 13, 2002
by Bruce Walker
Liberals do not allow their enemies even the peace of the grave. Senator Joseph McCarthy, an imperfect man and an imperfect patriot, was one such example. Vice President Spiro Agnew was another. Agnew is the only Vice President ever to be forced to resign from office which, considering "No Controlling Legal Authority Gore," must have made Agnew a very bad man - right? Considering that Harry Truman, the only Vice President who had once been a member of the Ku Klux Klan and who entered government from the corrupt Pendergast Machine in Kansas City, must have made Agnew really awful. Right? Really?
Hardly. Nominally, Spiro Agnew was forced to resign as Vice President because of a bribe he allegedly took many years earlier while Governor of Maryland. The complete hypocrisy of the pampered elitist left is breathtaking. Even Jerry Landauer, the Wall Street Journal reporter who "broke" the story on Agnew said that the Vice President might have been the most honest Governor in the history of Maryland.
There are some striking similarities between Joe McCarthy and Spiro Agnew on one hand, and their liberal enemies on the other hand. Agnew, like McCarthy, was a strong champion of black civil rights. As Republican Governor of Maryland, he won passage of the open housing laws for blacks, repealed the state law against racial intermarriage, and supported state anti-poverty programs.
Both Agnew and McCarthy fought in combat against the Nazis in the Second World War; Agnew won awarded the Bronze Star for courage under fire. Both men rose from immigrant, blue collar backgrounds, so unlike the sliver spoon patrician background of Democrat leaders like FDR and Teddy Kennedy. Both were "tough hombres" in the sense that they fought back against evil and lying when they saw it.
While Joe McCarthy warned America about the very real dangers of communists in our government (and actually underestimated that danger) Spiro Agnew’s crime was that in his famous "Des Moines speech" in 1969, he noted the primary source of information for most Americans were the three outrageously liberal television networks: ABC, CBS, and NBC.
It is difficult for any conservative - any thinking person at all - to comprehend the depths of this Dark Age in public dialog. The vast majority of the print media, movie industry, and publishing houses were just as liberal. The effect was not so much to present the leftist agenda affirmatively (that was massively repudiated after just two years in the Republican Landslide of 1966) but to sever communications among conservatives, demonize anyone who proposed a conservative thought, and to spread oceans of disinformation. The stunned news media simply broadcast Agnew’s Iowa Speech without comment.
Want a sample of this horrible, terrible, dangerous, extremist speech? Here is the toughest stuff that Vice President said at Iowa in 1969:
Well, that is terrible, isn’t it? So terrible that liberals began immediately plotting Agnew’s destruction. And while Ted Kennedy, who was obviously guilty of manslaughter, not only remained in the United States Senate, but was chosen by Democrats to be Majority Whip - Spiro Agnew, the first Vice President of Greek descent, was forced into disgrace and obscurity.
Was Agnew right in his accusation of liberal bias in the media? The question seems almost ridiculous these days. Of course he was right! Bernard Goldberg’s best seller, Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News, simply reconfirms what was well documented decades earlier. Every poll of journalists in every presidential election since 1968 has shown the overwhelming majority of journalists voted by huge margins for Democrats. In 1972 and 1984, mainstream journalists were five times as likely to vote Democrat as the average American.
This bias manifested in outright lying on many issues. The infamous CBS documentary "The Selling of the Pentagon" for example, had an Assistant Secretary of Defense’s answers to several questions edited and replaced as answers to other totally unrelated questions. That network’s award winning "Hunger in America" began with a solemn announcement from a hospital that "This child has just died of hunger," when nutrition had nothing to do with the infant’s death.
The ABC documentary, "Arms and Security: How Much is Enough?" - broadcast a few days before the 1972 Presidential Election - was filled with gross errors. The program announced as fact that 60% of the federal budget was alleged to be spent on defense, when the actual percentage was 38%. The need for a supersonic bomber was dismissed because the B-52 was already supersonic - which it was not. The documentary was filled with other errors that revealed either no research at all, or a deliberate bias to understate the need for a strong national defense.
Perhaps an example of the most egregious bias was in 1975, when George Wallace, a populist and pro-defense Democrat, scolded the socialist and anti-American Swedish government for allowing Nazi troops to cross Sweden during the Second World War. The Washington Post took the unprecedented step of proclaiming on the front page that Governor Wallace was wrong and that the Swedes did not allow German troops to cross its borders. Any student of modern history is well aware of the fact that German troops did cross Sweden and it is impossible to impute anything less than malice or gross incompetence by the nation’s leading newspaper.
Bias is rampant in television, movies, colleges, and similar institutions of influence on public opinion and information. Except for Dan Rather and a few utterly out of touch types like him, no one seriously questions that there is a strong liberal bias in network television, motion pictures, academia, and any other places in which liberals can place themselves. Today the argument is more trying to "explain" the bias.
Spiro Agnew died in 1996. Despite his war record, despite being a strong champion of civil rights for blacks in what was then a truly bigoted state, despite his obvious political courage, and despite being proven right by history, Spiro Ted Agnew remains the only Governor of Maryland whose portrait is not displayed in the state capital. Mr. Vice President - in Heaven now, I am quite sure - thanks for your guts. You challenged the Nazis of the Networks, and you paid a horrible price. Decades after you began the fight, we are beginning to win that fight.