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THE DECAY OF AMERICAN MEDIA — Patrick L. Smith on the decline and fall of American journalism; Peter Lee on China and its Uyghur problem; Dave Macaray on brain trauma, profits and the NFL; Lee Ballinger on the bloody history of cotton. PLUS: “The Vindication of Love” by JoAnn Wypijewski; “The Age of SurrealPolitick” by Jeffrey St. Clair; “The Radiation Zone” by Kristin Kolb; “Washington’s Enemies List” by Mike Whitney; “The School of Moral Statecraft” by Chris Floyd and “The Surveillance Films of Laura Poitras” by Kim Nicolini.
Waiting for Him to Eat His Words...

Safire the Shameless

by JOHN L. HESS

William Safire has called for amending the constitution so that Arnold Schwarzenneger can run for president. Yes, Schwarzenegger the Nazi groper. Safire has announced his retirement as a commentaytor for the Times–and I’ve been waiting for him to shut up already, so I can record another of his sins, but he keeps frothing away, so here goes.

The Times hired Safire just after Watergate, in time for him to escape the criminal prosecutions that followed. But he remained loyal–kept sharing Nixon’s wisdom with readers, bragging about his long hours at the great man’s knee. How he wept at the funeral! Well, not long ago the tapes of a good-old-boys’ session between Nixon and Billy Graham were made public. They reeked with anti-semitism, with hostility toward Jews in Government and contempt for their toadies at the Times. I’ve been waiting ever since for Safire to eat his words. Not a sound.

Another war criminal who taped his own phone calls was Henry Kissinger. A couple of weeks ago a packet of them came to light–full of groveling, nauseating pandering by eminent members of the mediocracy–notably Ted Koppel and Marvin Kalb. He told them what to write, edited their copy on the phone. They couldn’t deny it–they just brazened it out. Did it hurt their careers? Not so you can notice it. Well, since they won’t say they’re sorry, I’m just mean enough to tell their listeners that they ought to be — again and again.

JOHN L. HESS is a former writer for the New York Times, a career he chronicles in his excellent new book My Times: a Memoir of Dissent. Hess is now a political commentator for WBAI. Hess’s blog can be read at: johnlhess.blogspot.com