It remains the most influential indictment of American journalism ever made. Forty years ago today, this famous figure began railing against the corporate media. “A broader spectrum of national opinion should be represented among the commentators of the network news,” he argued, explaining that “men who can articulate other points of view should be brought forward, and the American people should be made aware of the trend toward the monopolization of the great public information vehicles and the concentration of more and more power over public opinion in fewer and fewer hands.”...Reporter Lance Morrow in also observed in 1996, “...issues of media bias, arrogance and unaccountability that are still banging around in the American mind.”
This spokesman for democratic media reform was none other than the Republican vice president of the United States, Spiro Agnew.
Some Agnew timeless gems:
“A spirit of national masochism prevails, encouraged by an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals.”Back to Sokolow:
“...have never done a productive thing in their lives,”... “They take their tactics from Fidel Castro and their money from daddy.”
“...we have more than our share of the nattering nabobs of negativism...”
“...pusillanimous pussyfooters,” “vicars of vacillation,” and “the hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history.” Democrats are “radic-libs” and “ideological eunuchs...”
“...tiny and closed fraternity of privileged men, elected by no one...”
Were Agnew alive today, he would undoubtedly be pleased by his contribution to the current media environment. Never have the American media been bombarded by such constant criticism — from both the right and the left. The motivations, assumptions and biases of professional journalists are closely and constantly examined, and the authority of their work has correspondingly eroded.
This was Agnew's ultimate goal; he envisioned a future where journalists would be called down “from their ivory towers to enjoy the rough and tumble of public debate.” Relishing the cacophony and name-calling incited by his speech, Spiro Agnew would have loved the blogosphere. For better or worse, we live in his world. (emphasis mine)