Rich Galen

You may only know about "Watergate" because every scandal since then has been appended with the word "-gate." A part of the Watergate scandal was the publication of what became known as Richard Nixon's "Enemies List."

According to a memo from White House Counsel John Dean, this was a list of people whom were determined to be political opponents of the Nixon Administration and how the White House intended to "use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies."

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Most of the "enemies" were union executives, major fundraisers for Democrats, and cultural "radic-libs" as they were apparently called in the White House, like Paul Newman.

But what caught the public's attention was when the list was released and the Nixon White House targeted the managing editor of the Los Angeles Times, the chief political columnist for the Washington Star newspaper, and CBS correspondent Daniel Schorr.

According to broadcast lore, Schorr, who was covering the Watergate Hearings for CBS, found out he was on the list as he was reading it aloud on the air.

The notion of a President wanting to use the full power and force of the Federal government to intimidate people who disagreed with him, was appalling. It might have happened in every Presidency since Washington, but no one had taken the time to codify the process by putting it into an official memorandum.

And the concept of attempting to intimidate the press was, for many people, among the most serious of misdeeds by Richard Nixon.

So, where is the outrage over the public war the White House is waging against the Fox News Channel?

Can't find it.

The whole thing started last week when Anita Dunn, WH communications director, said during an interview on CNN:

"Fox News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party. Let's not pretend they're a news network the way CNN is."

The drama continued on the Sunday news shows when Senior Advisor to Obama, David Axlerod said on ABC's "This Week" of Fox,

"It's not really news. It's pushing a point of view. The bigger thing is that, other news organizations, like yours, ought not treat them that way."

I can remember when CNN was a new concept and ABC, CBS and NBC news divisions didn't treat CNN like it was a serious news organization.

The Lad called last night and asked why the White House was doing this.


Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at Mullings.com.