The Media's Hypocritical Valentines to the 1960s
by L. Brent Bozell III
April 10, 1997
They may have danced in the mud of Woodstock or toked up in
Oxford dormitories with Bill Clinton, but today's journalists are pure
products of the sixties generation when one of their icons from that radical
era passes on to some realm too cool for God. How else to explain making the
recent death of drug-addled homosexual communist poet Allen Ginsberg the
"NBC Nightly News" lead story the other night?
In front of a huge picture of Ginsberg's head, anchor Brian
Williams eulogized: "The man who died in a New York hospital room this
morning didn't just watch times change in the '60s as much as he helped change
our times. ...And so we begin tonight with the death of a poet and a man who
was much more than that."
"Ginsberg was a communist agitator, a sexual
pervert, a drugged-out loser whose nihilistic 'poetry' helped pollute the
minds of a generation of radicals." That would
have been a nice start.
Instead, reporter Rick Davis began with Ginsberg's most
famous poem, "Howl": "It was a poem of graphic sex, drugs and
protest," he said. Norman Mailer followed with an interpretation:
Ginsburg was a "genius...I knew he was going to make a revolution in the
consciences of his time." To which Tom Hayden added: "He was a
prophetic figure and poet like an Old Testament figure combined with a
hippie." Ginsberg, said Davis, was "a guru with a showman's
What this guru promoted through graphic poems -- promiscuous
homosexual sex and regular illegal drug use -- also happen to be the two
leading causes of AIDS transmission today. And yet, in a two-minute top news
story, NBC never even mentioned to its viewers that Ginsberg was gay!
No, there was no time in this lead story for anything that
might damage Ginsberg's appeal (except airing some excerpts of his
unintelligible "poetry"). For example, NBC could have cited a
sympathetic interview with Seconds Magazine, wherein Ginsberg complained about
misunderstanding of the National Man-Boy Love Association, which he declared
was "a debating society," but then added: "If you just take a
walk through the Vatican, you could say everybody loves the slightly erotic
emanation of nude prepubescent bodies."
They ignored Ginsberg's political statements as well,
including his declaration in an August 1994 article in The Progressive:
"I have no doubt that if Rush Limbaugh or Pat Buchanan or Ollie North
ever got real power, there would be concentration camps and mass death."
How's that for "grace"?
This was hardly the first time the valentines and whitewash
have come out for a fallen '60s guru. When LSD prophet Timothy Leary died on
May 31, 1996 the networks heaped praise on him as some sort of historical
figure. CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson concluded that the death announcement on
Leary's website was "the last words of the man who spent a lifetime
asking questions [were] `Why not?'" NBC declared "America's most
unusual icon died today," and warmly concluded Leary was "dying the
way he lived, following no one's rules but his own." (An appropriate
eulogy for Bill Clinton, too.)
At least Newsweek's David Gates gave readers a more complete
obituary. Gates reported that by the end of the '60s, Leary "found it
`inconceivable' that turned-on parents wouldn't share acid with kids as young
as 7." In 1970, he broke out of prison with the help of the violent
leftist Weather Underground, fleeing to the Black Panthers' "exile"
camp in Algeria. Gates reported Leary suggested it was a "`sacred act' to
shoot cops." Quite an "icon," this man.
When singer Jerry Garcia went from the Grateful Dead to just
plain dead in 1995, the networks were there en masse to pay tribute. There
again was NBC, making Garcia's death their number three story. Tom Brokaw
announced: "For millions of Americans tonight across several generations,
it's a night of mourning. The leader of their tribe is dead. Jerry Garcia, the
man who led the Grateful Dead through three decades of adulation, died
today." Reporter Bob Faw declared: "If he had a philosophy, someone
said 'If it's not fun, don't do it.'" Four nights later, 20,000 Deadheads
gathering in San Francisco was NBC's number two story of the night. Over on
ABC's "Good Morning America," Joan Lunden declared: "Jerry
Garcia became much more than a popular singer and guitarists. For Deadheads,
he was nothing short of a spiritual leader."
Remember these hypocritical valentines the next time you see
a network anchor decrying the senseless deaths of thousands to the ravages of
AIDS or telling kids to just say no to drugs.
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