March 3 Radio: Feldstein Probes Nixon-Anderson Battles

By Andrew Kreig / Project Director's Blog

Washington Update this week probed the decades-long battle between Richard Nixon and Jack Anderson that helped shape the nation’s history during the Nixon Presidency. At noon (EST) March 3, Update hosts my co-host Scott Draughon and I examined new revelations about those battles with Dr. Mark Feldstein, a professor and renowned investigative reporter who authored Poisoning The Press: Richard Nixon, Jack Anderson and the Rise of Washington’s Scandal Culture. The show on the My Technology Lawyer Radio Network is now available worldwide by archive. Click here. We began the show with a Washington news round-up, including fall-out from several recent probes by our Project. Also, we described a sneak preview March 2 of Robert Redford’s latest film, a gripping real-life drama about the Lincoln assassination plot that holds fascinating parallels to the Vietnam-era tensions.

Among Feldstein’s book’s endorsers are Brit Hume, senior political analyst at FOX News and a former Anderson correspondent who took the lead one of Anderson’s biggest scoops, a political payoff that helped send Attorney General John Mitchell to prison. “I lived through a lot of this while working for Jack Anderson,” Hume says, “and found it a fascinating and evenhanded account.” Feldstein’s publisher describes the book as, “The disturbing story of an unprecedented White House conspiracy to assassinate a journalist” as well as “the larger tale of the bitter quarter-century battle between the postwar era’s most embattled politician and its most reviled newsman.” It continues:

The struggle between Nixon and Anderson included bribery, blackmail, forgery, spying, and burglary as well as the White House murder plot. Their vendetta symbolized and accelerated the growing conflict between the government and the press, a clash that would long outlive both men.

Mark Feldstein traces the arc of this confrontation between a vindictive president and a flamboyant, crusading muckraker who rifled through garbage and swiped classified papers in pursuit of his prey—stoking the paranoia in Nixon that would ultimately lead to his ruin. The White House plot to poison Anderson, Feldstein argues, is a metaphor for the poisoned political atmosphere that would follow, and the toxic sensationalism that contaminates contemporary media discourse. Melding history and biography, Poisoning the Press unearths significant new information from more than two hundred interviews and thousands of declassified documents and tapes. This is a chronicle of political intrigue and the true price of power for politicians and journalists alike. The result—Washington’s modern scandal culture—was Richard Nixon’s ultimate revenge.

For nearly 20 years, Feldstein was on the other side of the camera as an on-air correspondent, specializing in investigative reporting at CNN, ABC, NBC and local TV stations in Phoenix, Tampa and Washington, DC. His work has won more than 50 journalism awards, including broadcasters’ most prestigious prizes: two George Foster Peabody public service awards, the Columbia-DuPont baton for investigative reporting, the Edward R. Murrow broadcasting prize, and nine regional Emmys. In the nation's capital, he was best known for his exposes of drug use and corruption by former Washington Mayor Marion Barry and his administration. A member of the faculty at the George Washington University, he has lectured and taught at many universities. Feldstein has won top academic awards for historical research from the American Journalism Historians Association and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, with a number of other leadership positions in journalism and related communications. Details.

Regarding additional information, the site has the most complete, digital collection of the Nixon tapes in existence, which includes approximately 2,300 hours of the 2,371 hours of tapes currently declassified and released by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). In addition, it has transcribed approximately 2,000 pages of conversations on many topics, from conversations dealing with the installation of the taping system in February 1971 to Cabinet Room conversations recorded in July 1973.

Below are significant articles on legal reform and related political, security and media factors. The articles contain a sample of news. See the full article by visiting the Project home page's section on News Reports, and clicking the link.

News Media, A Pawn in Their Game: How the Justice Department Uses the Media, Harvey Silverglate, March 2, 2011. Much has been made of "journalistic obedience" in the reporting of national security issues. At, Harvey Silverglate explores how the phenomenon plays out in the context of the criminal justice system, where deference to government too often allows authorities to use the media, rather than face its scrutiny.

Nieman Journalism Lab, A hive of long-form journalists: Gerry Marzorati and Mark Danner on a new model for long form, Lois Beckett, March 1, 2011. Yesterday at the Berkeley School of Journalism, former New York Times Magazine editor Gerald Marzorati and author and former New Yorker writer Mark Danner sat down to talk about the “the fate of long-form journalism in a new media age.”

Salon Unclaimed Territory, Shifting Editorial Standards, Glenn Greenwald, March 1, 2011. Journalists and editors love to endlessly tout their own objectivity, yet their editorial conduct is so often driven by their sentiments and allegiances toward the parties involved in the story. Nobody -- not even the Guardians of the National Security State -- loathes Assange the way that journalists do; recall that they led the way in condemning him and calling for his prosecution for doing what they're supposed to do. These Beacons of Objectivity thus use entirely different editorial standards -- far more unfavorable ones -- when reporting on him.

Washington Post /Associated Press, Army charges WikiLeaks suspect with 'aiding enemy', Robert Burns, March 2, 2011. An Army private suspected of leaking hundreds of thousands of sensitive and classified documents to the WikiLeaks anti-secrecy group was charged Wednesday with aiding the enemy, a crime that can bring the death penalty or life in prison. The Army filed 22 new charges against Pvt. 1st Class Bradley E. Manning, including causing intelligence information to be published on the Internet. The charges don't specify which documents, but the charges involve the suspected distribution by the military analyst of more than 250,000 confidential State Department cables as well as a raft of Iraq and Afghanistan war logs.


Legal Schnauzer, Clarence Thomas Faces Call for Disbarment, Roger Shuler, March 2, 2011. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas should be disbarred for his failure to truthfully complete financial-disclosure forms over a 20-year period, according to a complaint filed by the watchdog group Protect Our Elections.

FireDogLake / Emptywheel, Progressives Demand House GOP Committee Chairs Investigate Hunton & Williams, Marcy Wheeler, March 1, 2011. When I first posted on Hank Johnson’s letter demanding an investigation into Hunton & Williams’ appropriation of counterterrorist techniques to attack citizen speech, I was a bit skeptical. The focus is not just on how such a campaign violates the law, but also how it represents the application of DOD-developed programs to private citizens exercising their First Amendment rights.

Political Prosecutions?

Jersey Journal, Jersey City political figure and MUA board member pleads guilty to taking bribe, has no present plans to resign, Terrence T. McDonald, March 2, 2011. A Jersey City political operative and Municipal Utilities Authority board member admitted yesterday to accepting a $10,000 bribe from a government informant, becoming Hudson County's 13th defendant in the massive 2009 corruption sweep to plead guilty. Joseph Cardwell, 69, pleaded guilty in federal court in Newark to one charge of bribery in connection with Operation Bid Rig III, which resulted in 46 arrests of public officials in Hudson County and beyond. "He did today what was right for him and his family," said Anna G. Cominsky, one of Cardwell's attorneys. "Joe accepted responsibility for his actions, but this guilty plea does not define him." Click for Indictment.

Jackson Clarion-Ledger / Associated Press, Paul Minor back in court before resentencing, March 1, 2011.  Imprisoned former attorney Paul Minor was back in federal court Tuesday, where he asked a judge to approve subpoenas he hopes will help his case during a re-sentencing hearing next week. Minor, a 64-year-old decorated Vietnam veteran, was considered one of the best tort lawyers in Mississippi before being convicted in a high-profile judicial bribery case in 2007. He had made a fortune by suing tobacco, asbestos and other companies.


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