The New York Times Watergate Double Standard as Social Media Accused of Blacking Out FBI E-Mail Story

October 30th, 2016 11:05 PM

The more things change the more they stay the same.

Let’s begin with a specific Sunday. October 21, 1973.

The three tier headline of The New York Times, all in capital letters, covered the entire top of the paper in true banner style. It read as follows:


The previous night, a Saturday night, President Richard Nixon had finally had enough of the Special Prosecutor assigned by his own Attorney General Elliot Richardson to investigate the blossoming “Watergate scandal.” A scandal that had begun in June of 1972 when a handful of men with ties to Nixon’s “Committee to Re-Elect the President” were caught burglarizing the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate office complex.  (Quickly dubbed in the press as “CREEP”). 

Nixon had won an overwhelming re-election that November of 1972, but by 1973 allegations of a presidential cover-up — run by the president himself — had launched a Senate investigation and demands for a special prosecutor from outside the Justice Department. A Justice Department run by Nixon’s appointed attorney general, Richardson, and his deputy, William Ruckelshaus.  Richardson had complied with the appointment of his old friend, Harvard Law professor Archibald Cox — Cox, as Nixon well knew, also a longtime ally of Nixon’s legendary archenemies the Kennedys.

During the Senate Watergate Committee hearings it had come to light that Nixon (like his predecessors Lyndon Johnson, John Kennedy and Franklin Roosevelt) had installed a taping system in the Oval Office. Now Cox had issued a subpoena for Nixon’s tapes — and Nixon was refusing. Angered, Nixon — on a fine October Saturday — abruptly ordered Richardson to fire Cox. Richardson refused — and resigned. Ditto Ruckelshaus. It fell to the number three official at Justice, Solicitor General Robert Bork - to do the deed. (Bork, of course, later gaining fame as a Reagan Supreme Court nominee rejected by the Senate in a controversial and bitter confirmation battle.) To say the least, a media firestorm erupted.

As of that Sunday morning, the press, led by the Times and its fellow liberals at The Washington Post and the broadcast networks (the birth of cable news was seven years away) were headlining their outrage. The idea of a corrupt White House trying to corrupt the Justice Department had sent the Times and the rest into a frenzy.

Tell the Truth 2016 

So too had the Times and its liberal media colleagues earlier zeroed in on then-Acting FBI Director L. Patrick Gray, with Gray resigning in April of 1973 after revealing that he had destroyed documents relevant to the FBI’s Watergate investigation. 

How the world changes. 

Today we have an Attorney General who meets in secret with the ex-President husband of a subject of an FBI investigation who also happens to be the soon-to-be Democratic nominee for president. The Director of the FBI — who made a terribly bad decision that effectively granted favored status to Hillary Clinton for her mis-handling of classified information, a status denied a number of military officials ranging from ex-Generals David Petraeus and James Cartwright (the latter of who is facing a possible five years in prison and a $250,000 fine) to those of lesser rank who made some version of the same mistake — has now changed course.  

After, it should be noted, there were reports of an uproar among FBI agents who felt their Director had involved the agency in politics instead of enforcing the law equally for all.

And where now is The New York Times as the issue of corruption in the Justice Department and the White House arises yet again? Where is the paper now that news from those James O’Keefe Project Veritas videos that the husband of a member of Congress, listed as visiting the White House hundreds of times, is caught on camera boasting of ties to the Clinton campaign and the White House as it set about trying to instigate violence at Trump rallies? 

Here’s a sample from this week as the news of Comey’s reversal exploded into public view. On the front page the Times reports: “Justice Dept. Strongly Discouraged Comey on Move in Clinton Email Case.”

The paper’s story began:

WASHINGTON — The day before the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, sent a letter to Congress announcing that new evidence had been discovered that might be related to the completed Hillary Clinton email investigation, the Justice Department strongly discouraged the step and told him that he would be breaking with longstanding policy, three law enforcement officials said on Saturday.

Senior Justice Department officials did not move to stop him from sending the letter, officials said, but they did everything short of it, pointing to policies against talking about current criminal investigations or being seen as meddling in elections.

That Mr. Comey moved ahead despite those protestations underscores the unusual nature of Friday’s revelations, which added a dramatic twist to the final days of the presidential campaign. His action reignited a firestorm that Mrs. Clinton believed she had put behind her when the F.B.I. decided in July not to charge anyone in the investigation into the handling of classified information on her private email server.

Got that? Just as Richard Nixon pressured his own Justice Department to fire the Watergate Special Prosecutor — which Richardson to his everlasting credit refused to do — so now comes the news that this time around it was the Obama Justice Department trying to pressure Comey into not sending his letter to Congress revealing the FBI’s new discoveries involving the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal.  Outrage from the Times? Zero. Zip.

Now move ahead to the 21st century and the world of Social Media. Take a look at this headline from the Zero Hedge web site: "Social Media Blackout? FBI Emails Are Not 'Trending' On Twitter, Facebook, Buzzfeed, Or Snapchat"

Reports the site:

In the 24 hours since FBI Director Comey dropped perhaps the biggest bombshell of the entire Presidential campaign, sending Democrats (and media) scrambling headless-chicken-like for answers (and blame-scaping), does anyone else find it odd that 'FBI Emails' does not appear to be a hot topic, trending, big deal on any social media?

In other words? In other words, sites who have owners or editors allied with the liberal world or Hillary Clinton specifically seem mysteriously to find that the hottest topic of the moment - the renewed FBI look at the e-mails tied in to its sexting investigation of Huma Abedin soon-to-be ex-hubby Anthony Weiner — is not “trending.”  Really? In a social media world which has a legendarily hair-trigger response to any story that explodes into hot public view (a Trump tape, a divorce action from Brad and Angelina to name but two examples) — and there is no reaction to the news of Director Comey’s latest decision on Hillary’s e-mail scandal? Mere days before the election.


As noted, the more things change, the more they stay the same. It was OK with The New York Times when there was a scent of corruption from the Nixon White House and its attempt to meddle with the Justice Department. That meant a journalistic firestorm. But when the FBI Director of today is pressured — unsuccessfully — by the Obama Justice Department to withhold news of newly discovered e-mails tied to the once-closed Hillary investigation — the Times simply shrugs.

And in the world of social media? Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

In sum? What it all comes down to is that liberal media bias in 1973 hasn’t changed a wit in 2016 — a full 43 years almost to the day. The only difference is that in 21st century America the bias has now infected the new world of social media.

Shocking, yes? No.