A few days ago in his National Review column, Conrad Black, (or Lord Black of Crossharbour, to use his British title), the former publisher of the London Telegraph and Chicago Sun-Times and author of the acclaimed biography Richard M. Nixon: A Life In Full, gave his views about the recent CNN special Our Nixon. which juxtaposed footage filmed in a mostly informal manner by members of the Nixon White House’s staff with voiceover commentary that oftentimes could have almost have been co-written by Don Folsom and Elizabeth Drew, to name two of President Nixon’s most implacable and vitriolic critics in the media.
Lord Black points out that while “all the original film [in the special] was completely innocuous and not in the slightest discreditable to Richard Nixon,” the footage, and its accompanying commentary, “were spliced together in a completely dishonest and unprofessional pastiche designed to reinforce the imposed conventional wisdom that Nixon was evil.” He continues:
There was nothing [in Our Nixon]that would remind the viewer that Nixon extracted the U.S. from Vietnam while preserving a non-Communist government in Saigon; that he ended segregation while avoiding the court-ordered idiocy of school busing for racial balance; ended the riots, the skyjackings, and the draft; opened relations with China and the main Arab powers; started a Middle East peace process; signed the greatest arms-control agreement in history; founded the Environmental Protection Agency; reduced the crime rate; and proposed serious campaign-financing reform and comprehensive medical care.
Lord Black’s observations are those of a man who has studied carefully the history not only of the Nixon presidency but of the United States itself, from colonial times to the present. Several months ago, he published a carefully documented, highly insightful and thought-provoking history of America as a strategic power, Flight Of The Eagle, which is well worth the while of anyone wishing to understand the process by which this nation became a superpower.