Ed Driscoll

Captain Dan's Production Of Secret Honor

Ever see the Robert Altman movie, Secret Honor? Chances are, you probably haven’t, as it received very little box office on its initial run in 1984, and only occasionally appears on the cable movie channels. But everyone should, at least once. There’s only one actor in the entire movie: Philip Baker Hall in a fascinating performance as Richard Nixon (with a Chivas Regal assist, as Leonard Maltin wrote), wandering his study at 2:00 in the morning shortly after resigning, and talking into (of course) his tape recorder. It ended with Altman and Hall’s Nixon raving and drooling into the tape deck’s mic:

Kennedy…F*** ’em!
Kissinger…F*** ’em!
Hoover…F*** ’em!

And on and on. That was the obsessive left’s portrait of Nixon, but it’s also a reminder: those who hate can easily become whom they hate. Or as the real President Nixon said in his farewell speech to his staff, “always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself.”

For Exhibit A of both of those aphorisms in action, Brent Bozell writes of Dan Rather:

New burps and rages are coming out of a book by Rather’s memo-mangling producer, Mary Mapes, risibly titled “Truth and Duty.” In an early excerpt, she attacked “hyperconservative” blogs, and couldn’t believe the “mainstream press” would fall for the “far right” blogger critiques. Mapes warmly remembered Rather signing off a phone call “by saying something that had become a shorthand for us over the years: “F-E-A.” That was code for “F— ‘Em All,” a sentiment that needed to be expressed from time to time in any newsroom.”

That’s a sorry slogan for Dan Rather, who routinely claimed it’s his job to be fair and accurate, and, as he said in 1997, “I do agree that one test of a reporter is how often he or she is able to keep their emotions out of what they are doing and keep their own biases and agendas out of it.” Rather perpetually flunked that test. To honor Rather now, after his transparently dishonest reporting on Bush’s service record and the Nixonian stonewalling afterward, is to perpetuate the idea that honest journalism is a myth.

Via Power Line.