Columnist: Nixon Pardon Praise Smoothed Way for Libby Commutation

By: E&P Staff

When President Ford pardoned Richard Nixon in 1974, many newspapers condemned the move. But over the years, many papers changed their opinion and praised the 1974 pardon for allegedly helping to stabilize the country. That praise was particularly evident in last December’s obituaries for Ford.

Did that praise make it easier for President Bush to commute “Scooter” Libby’s sentence this month? Media writer Norman Solomon thinks so — and says so in his latest Creators Syndicate column.

“The president’s corrupting intervention for Libby has occurred after numerous years of media coverage that implicitly — or even flagrantly — promoted the idea that the president and vice president should not be held accountable when they violate the law,” Solomon wrote.

He added: “When media outlets widely praised the Nixon pardon after Ford died, the spin was helping to make it easier for Bush to pull Libby off the legal hook. And when countless journalists continue to insist that proposals to impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney are far-fetched — and unworthy of serious news coverage — the media establishment is reinforcing the assumption that the nation’s most powerful officials should be above the reach of the law.”

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