In defense of honest journalists and politicians

The repetitious and repugnant lies issuing from one sector of the political spectrum (and assorted Internet troll helpers) this Presidential campaign season caused another missive to the editors of the Lancaster (PA) newspaper to issue from my keyboard. Herewith, a lament of those burdened by an overdose of mendacity:

To the Editor:

The latest flap over Hillary Clinton’s emails has brought with it another chorus of “Lock her up” from those convinced she has actually committed some sort of crime. The tragic truth about Clinton hating is that most of those who engage in it don’t know they are victims of a long-running, mendacious political strategy.

It started around 1970. Richard Nixon and his cronies decided to attack the integrity of reporters who told the truth about their nefarious deeds. To raise doubt in the public mind, they sent out Vice President Spiro Agnew (also a crook) with the message that journalists were biased, untruthful hacks. Agnew gave us the memorable phrase, “nattering nabobs of negativism.” His charges were not true.

The research into media bias, which I have studied carefully, concludes most mainstream journalism then and now is not biased. Nonetheless, Republican hacks, like Rush Limbaugh (who lies a lot), have repeated the lies so long people now believe them. As a professional journalist working since the 1970s, I can honestly say these have sometimes been discouraging years.

Republicans used the technique again after Sept. 11, 2001, lying repeatedly to Congress and the nation until we approved an ill-advised invasion of Iraq. The cost in human lives of that lie is incalculable.

And since the 1980s, Republicans have used the strategy to hound the Clintons. They have repeated a host of ugly lies over and over, until many of us have come to believe them. Honest research into those lies reveals that the Clintons are not criminals and never were, despite the ravings of Republican attack dogs. I would encourage people to vote for Hillary Clinton, but if you reject her, don’t do it on the basis of scurrilous lies spread by her indecent, political enemies.

(I am happy to report the above was, in fact, included in today’s letters to the editor section.)



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