2017-07-05 18:24:02 UTC
I started reading part of Katherine Graham's autobiography and I was
interested to read about how Nixon attacked the Washington Post.
The attacks started well before Watergate. They included little things,
such as a supposed reader letter writing campaign with letters taking
the form of "I'm not a Nixon supporter but..." In 1970, Nixon directly
ordered his staff to refuse to talk to anyone from the Post, even one
reporter who with a reputation for writing some favorable pieces.
Bob Dole twice attacked the Post before the 1972 election for being
liberal elitists openly pulling for McGovern. Graham describes meeting
Dole later and basically asking him WTF, and he responds that he doesn't
read the speeches he's told to deliver.
The big threat though was the Nixon administration orchestrating
challenges to the FCC licenses of local TV stations owned by the Post.
The challenges drove down the price of the Post's stock by half. Nixon
also tried to engineer a hostile takeover of the Post by
archconservative billionaire Richard Scaife, and Graham was warned by a
banker with Nixon ties that he had heard she shouldn't go out alone if
she knew what was good for her.
There are some parallels to Trump, included Nixon's longstanding wounded
whining attitude which he used to justify anything he did as reasonable
payback. But one big difference is that Watergate had little press
attention outside of the Post until Walter Cronkite covered it in depth
several months later, and coverage by other outlets remained sketchy
until March 1973. Trump must wish he had such breathing room, although
he's done all he can to get any breathing room.