The Media’s Double-Standards

I know, taking note of media double standards is an insult to shooting fish in a barrel, but every now and then you find something that stands out for special recognition.

One of the things we hear endlessly from the media is that the Trump Administration has been hostile in unprecedented ways. Oh? As it happened, I stumbled across an account of the Kennedy Administration’s treatment of the media as assembled by Fletcher Knebel in Look magazine in late 1962 (sorry—no link):

The Washington press corps has taken almost as many lumps in 19 months of Kennedy rule as during the three previous administrations put together.

—Kennedy personally has called down at least six Washington correspondents either for their writings or for their publications.

—Three Kennedy Administration officials have threatened to sue newspapers.

—Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy has reproved at least four newspapermen for stories he disliked.

—The Federal Bureau of Investigation questioned six newspapermen in connection with stories concerning policies of the Kennedy Administration.

—Pentagon security officials quizzed three correspondents.

—The White House cancelled 22 subscriptions to the New York Herald Tribune.

—Administration officials, reporters charge, put “the freeze” on some reporters who offended them.

—White House Special Counsel Theodore C. Sorenson has reprimanded some newspapermen.

—White House Press Secretary Pierre Salinger has rebuked about a dozen reporters for their stories.

—White House aide Arthur Schlesinger Jr, a Pulitzer-Prize historians, called one columnist “an idiot.”

—Even the Kennedy women have gotten into the act. Ethel Kennedy, wife of the Attorney General, and Mrs. Jean Smith, sister of the President, braced one correspondent for his story about dunkings in the Bob Kennedy pool.

Keep in mind that the press corps in 1962 Washington was largely leading sycophantic cheerleading for JFK, covering up JFK’s philandering, drug abuse, abuse of power (leaking personal tax returns of his enemies anyone?) and infirm health. If the media back then reported on JFK as they have about Trump, JFK would have been impeached within a year.

That said, I am sure Schlesinger was right about the columnist, and the reporter who wrote up the “dunking” in the pool was just warming up for Chappaquiddick.

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