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Dishonest Journalism

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by Mustang

It’s been with us for a long time — and by using the phrase “a long time,” I mean from the country’s beginning.  And dishonest journalism has been rather nasty for the same amount of time.  It is even evil in its silence — when choosing not to report newsworthy material for political purposes.



In 1964, Senator Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) was a presidential candidate.  His two main political rivals at the time were President Lyndon Johnson (D-TX) and Governor Nelson Rockefeller (R-NY), a socialist.  In his acceptance of the Republican nomination, Goldwater said, “Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice; moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” When The New York Times reported Goldwater’s speech, they misquoted him, saying, “Extremism is no vice.”


All the newsmakers of the time wasted no time attacking Goldwater.  Rockefeller, Martin Luther King, Jr., Roy Wilkins, head of the NAACP — all of whom predicted that a Goldwater presidency would spell the end of America.  President Johnson condemned Goldwater for using tactics of “fear and smear.”

“Daisy” Ad (1964



Most voters only know what The New York Times told them, echoed incessantly in the press and radio/television media.  It was a massive hit job and one that the NYT no doubt took great pride in accomplishing.  Except Goldwater never said, “Extremism is no vice.”  He said, “Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice.”


We cannot know how the United States might have evolved under a Goldwater presidency; we can only assess how well our country did under Lyndon Johnson, whose remarkably successful campaign advertisement focused on a little girl playing with flowers in an open field and being vaporized by an atomic explosion.  Mr. Johnson could not have labeled the ad in any other way than “fear and smear.”


There is considerable doubt that a Goldwater presidency would have taken our country to war in Vietnam.  There are several thoughts about this, but at the top of these, it is not likely that Mr. Goldwater would have told a lie about the Gulf of Tonkin incident.  If anything, Goldwater would have likely followed Eisenhower’s policy of supporting South Vietnam materially while avoiding the introduction of ground troops.  This means that the United States would not have lost 58,000 dead Americans, an additional 303,000 wounded veterans, or a defeat at the hands of treacherous congressional Democrats.


President Johnson, an outlaw if ever there was one, was not Goldwater’s only adversary.  He was also a nemesis of Republicans in name only (RINOs) — men who attacked Goldwater for being a dangerous extremist.  Dr. King labeled him “as dangerous as Hitlerism,” but he was no such thing.  If anything, Goldwater’s actual statement probably falls somewhere between what we might expect from Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln, Patrick Henry, or Thomas Paine.


Mr. Goldwater also told us, “Any government that is big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have.” He told us that Johnson’s Great Society would fail, and it did.  We could not afford a trillion-dollar welfare state in 1964, and we can’t afford such expenditures now.  American voters weren’t listening in 1964 and aren’t listening as we approach elections in 2024.


In this context, one wonders if we should turn to The New York Times and demand an apology for participating in the disaster that America has become.  We might demand an apology, but I don’t think we would get one.  The NYT only publishes garbage; they don’t make people consume it.


The bane of the Goldwater campaign was dishonest journalism, but it was a boon to every Democratic contender, including Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden.  Voters need to know this.  The press is not trustworthy. 



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