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1969: Veep Spiro Agnew Blasts the TV News Media
November 13, 2017  | By TV WW
 
On this day in 1969, Vice President Spiro Agnew stood before an audience at the Midwestern Regional Republican Conference in Des Moines, Iowa and spoke out against "the tiny, enclosed fraternity of privileged men elected by no one" whom he felt showed an unfair bias against President Richard Nixon — specifically, the television news media.

Days earlier, on Nov. 3, Nixon had presented his "Silent Majority" speech, in which he announced that a quick withdrawal from Vietnam was not possible, and asked for the support of the "great silent majority" of Americans — those, he said, who were not among the "minority" who were demonstrating against the war in Southeast Asia — to stand behind his decision for continued fighting and a slow reduction of troops.


Ten days later, Agnew sharply criticized television's network news anchors, commentators and producers for their coverage of Nixon's speech. "The views of the majority of this fraternity do not — and I repeat, not — represent the views of America," Agnew opined, and then charged that the members of the TV news media were unable to shelve their own biases in favor of objective reporting.

Agnew went on to question whether the nation was being adequately served when a small minority determined what information reached the nation via television news and decided what information was not shared. He also charged that the networks, in their "endless pursuit of controversy," were capable of manipulating public opinion with one-sided reporting and unfair editing.

The entire text of Agnew's speech can be read online.

 
 
 
 
 
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