Pentagon, Jon Meacham And Cronkite discussed on MSNBC Morning Joe
The pentagon papers were was. It was a major major american event. Jon meacham a half century later. What's the legacy the pentagon papers. Lucia spirited prison within the government In fact the commissioning of the study was And then we have to have the courage of face facts. We can't become active to our own ideology barrow narrative to are wishful thinking. Eleanor roosevelt once said the besetting sin of the american people is wishful thinking and a gone papers. Tell us that followed the truth. We have to have the courage to stay after it. Pursue it publish. It and a healthy democracy understands weaknesses and addresses. Kurt anderson john brings up such a great point in my house. We were all republicans we all love the nixon. We all believed that the world was chaotic. I say we my mom and dad. I was playing. T-ball is about five years old six years old but still there. Was that feeling around the house. We watch cronkite every night. I always joke. My dad said cronkite was a communist when he said that's the way it was. My dad believed him and my dad. My dad was was entrenched. Just like i know a lot of people are right now for donald trump but it was this constant hammering. This constant hammering that the media did. And i remember the morning. I was eating cereal. My dad read looked at the newspaper and he finally said after years probably going all the way back to the alger hiss case. He finally looked put down the papers and he quietly said if this man has done half of what they say he's done he should be thrown in jail. That was a twenty twenty five year old journey for my father but it was the media. It was this type of reporting that finally made my father put down that newspaper and say nixon should go to jail. It was shocking to me. But i understood it much later on but what we're talking about this morning a lot of times we think it doesn't matter it dies. It does have an impact getting the truth out there and putting it all on the line i think we had. That sounds like we have the same dad. Back then Joe my my father was the same way back and and the thing about also the pentagon papers and this month. The supreme court hurt and decided this case at the end of the month. This was a two weeks where it might have gone the other way and we would have had in the united states versus the new york. Times might have gone the other way and we would have a different country today and it was also the time when richard nixon began. He didn't use the trump phrase enemy of the people that the press was but that was how he shifted. And that was really when when the right in this country started going down that long pass or thinking of the press as it's true enemy as traitors all that the other thing just a you know. We've been talking a lot about the washington post this week. The other amazing thing about the washington post this week is the company went. Public katharine graham on this monday. Fifty years ago took had her. Can you imagine the stress in the day that we ending and had to do this. As you say heroic thing we're publishing. I'm going to make my friends angry. And we're going to go forward because it was important to get out. And again as we see all of the attempts these days recently to to bug and marginalized reporters and journalists by the trump administration and find their notes and and get their electronic records. And all that i. It's a reminder that this this kind of approach really began years ago was richard nixon. I mean the line from trump vietnam to watergate and then the two of them to kind of anything to win trumpism is just clear. That's what we try to do. In and history does repeat itself. jon meacham. We've been talking about the trump administration getting data records from reporters. I remember mort halperin actually The help had their home phone line. Bugged for nineteen twenty twenty one months he was a member of the nixon administration and they bugged his phone for twenty one months. And now we're finding out that don mcgann was also targeted by the trump administration. And you're hearing bar Sessions and all these other trump administration officials saying they knew nothing about it so it seems that here. We are fifty years later reading stories. It sound a lot like they came out of nineteen seventy-one nineteen seventy-two. Oh absolutely no the phrase for. I think it's our time who said called the but most of watergate is the white house horrors right just one thing after another and the ratings the me the great lesson of watergate is it was a case where the system broke and then the system repaired itself and this is hugely important for where we are now right because it was barry goldwater i. It was john rhodes it was Republicans in the house and in the senate and to go to your bar. Sessions point elliot. Richardson bill ruggles house and people in the justice department. Who said no. The constitution is more important than the passing temporary favor of the occupant of the lighthouse house. That sounds very grand but these guys did it in real time. They broke with their party. They broke with their personal interests and put the constitution ahead of their personal interests and their party interest. That's not some homeric owed to lost golden bipartisanship. Mrs nice not that. It's a real human drama. It was a close run thing as well instead of waterloo. But they did it to the question now is who are those republicans in the house and in the senate and the justice department win the pendulum's swings again we will in fact stand up and say no assistant is more important than my personal interest. Well and susan page. There's quite a bit of reporting to do right now. The question is if bar if sessions if they weren't involved in this if they didn't approve this thin who approved the bugging of phones the collection of data phone data from political opponents in the opposing party. And now again. This morning we're hearing about don mcgann. Who was the person that that recommended the same thing inside the trump administration if the attorneys general all at the time didn't support that move so they attorneys general. If it's true as they are saying that they didn't know is that reassuring or is it alarming because somebody knew that they were doing some democratic members of congress and the white house counsel. You know if you're thinking about echoes of watergate enemies list because this is look we need to know more. We need to investigate but this is looking like there was an enemies list in the trump justice department against critics of president trump not because of national security grounds but because of political considerations so very much We are not fifty years past. But we're not in a new and different place. Susan page and jon meacham. Thank you very much and kurt anderson. Thank you as well. The new podcast is entitled nixon at war. I can't wait can't wait till listen to that. That's extraordinarily tastic.