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Congress will soon debate whether to continue to provide federal
grants for “Arts and Humanities.” As a longtime supporter of liberal
arts in particular, I will urge my Representative and two Senators to
vote “yes.” But I also urge an amendment to prohibit government
subsidies to radio and TV stations that broadcast news.

“Public” stations are even more susceptible to infection by political
money than such commercial private-sector enterprises as ABC, NBC, CNN,
etc. They are not unlike some wayward welfare recipients. They have
“off-the-record” jobs providing catering services to the rich and
powerful — who in return keep them well fed.

In the name of the “humanities,” public broadcasters work both sides
of a Washington street that is closed to their private-sector
competitors. In receiving subsidies they feed at federally-funded
troughs intended for the poor. At the same time the president’s most
user-friendly media celebrities (such as Jim Lehrer, Nina Totenberg and
Doris Godwin) get invited to White House parties — and sometimes enjoy
sleepovers.

The same broadcasters also work both sides of beyond-the-beltway
streets. They solicit tax deductible “charitable” contributions (mostly
less than $100) from middle and low-income households. At the same
time, they cozy up to Fortune 500 corporations and other tax
shelter-seeking donors who make six-figure contributions.

It is not surprising that public radio and TV continuously bash the
recently elected anti-establishment governor of Minnesota. He now
advocates that they no longer be granted government subsidies. To
overcome their bias against him, he has his own website and competes
with them on the Internet.

Because of personal experiences of my own, I “feel the pain”
inflicted by public broadcasters on the wrestler-governor Jesse
Ventura. Similarly, I have also discovered the benefits of the
Internet.

Shortly before Christmas 1998, on very short notice I received two
requests for interviews regarding the impeachment of President Clinton.
The first came from National Public Radio Ohio, which on two-hour notice
asked me to be interviewed for a half-hour, following Father Robert
Drinan, a Jesuit Priest.

At the time of Watergate Father “Bob” was among my Nixon impeachment
allies — including Judiciary Committee Chairman Peter Rodino, Elizabeth
Holtzman, Charlie Rangel, and the Congressional Black Caucus. In 1998 I
described them in WorldNetDaily and Insight Magazine as “shameless
defenders of Clinton.”

In accepting the invitation of NPR Ohio, I advised them of my
then-pending article, “Father Bob, now and then.” It told that because
of his crusading political stridency the pope had given Bob an
ultimatum: “Get out of Congress or get out of the Jesuit order.” I
agreed to e-mail it to NPR promptly. Within thirty minutes, NPR Ohio
advised me that the program had been cancelled — attributing the
cancellation to the “unavailability of Father Drinan.” I then advised
NPR Ohio that I would welcome an opportunity to be scheduled for another
interview at any convenient time. It was an offer that still remains
unaccepted.

The next day, with an even shorter notice, I was invited for an
interview by NPR Wisconsin for a half-hour — following an interview of
a White House counsel to President Clinton. I accepted, but made no
mention of any of my Internet articles. An hour later the first
interview began, with NPR permitting me to listen. Following it, six
persons “called in” — all of whom were laudatory defenders of President
Clinton.

I was then introduced as a rare kind of Democrat. With unveiled
astonishment, the interviewer quoted an article I had published in the
Wall Street Journal — stating that the current members of the Judiciary
Committee had “a moral, ethical, legal, and constitutional
responsibility to vote to impeach President Clinton.” I then reaffirmed
the same view and said that I was not all that rare — and President
Carter’s former Attorney General Griffen Bell was also an advocate of
Clinton’s impeachment.

I added that I was dismayed by the fact that to date, with the one
exception of the Wall Street Journal, no major media outlet have come
forward to publicize the views of my friend and fellow-Democrat, Henry
Ruth — who voted for President Clinton in both 1992 and 1996.

I advised NPR’s listeners that Henry was the highest-ranking deputy
of Watergate prosecutors Archibald Cox and Leon Jaworski — and that in
a Wall Street Journal article he had written, “President Clinton is
corrupting the soul of the Democratic Party.”

I then urged NPR Wisconsin also to interview Henry Ruth and Griffen
Bell — whom I was sure would accept invitations. After that my brusque
interviewer turned to call-ins. The first was from a lady with a Henry
Kissinger-like accent. She called me “the shameless one.” She
explained that she was probably older than I — and unlike me had
experiences in Nazi Germany from which she was a refugee. She added,
“President Clinton has done more for our economy than anyone in our
history.”

I tried to reply politely. I said I didn’t want to ask her age, but
that my recollections went back as far as Germany’s Weimar Republic. I
explained that Hitler had been elected chancellor by a majority of
socialist democrats who believed that he would be good for the German
economy.

The irate interviewer challenged me with: “How do you dare compare
President Clinton to Hitler?” I said that I was simply “comparing those
who now defend a morally corrupt president to those who supported Hitler
for economic reasons.” I was then chastised by the interviewer for my
lack of “civility.”

The next morning, after a sleepless night (still disturbed by the NPR
interview) I awoke early, turned on CNN and heard the announcement that
some 70 percent of Americans were defending President Clinton against
impeachment. I then had even more chilling recollections.

Years ago I bought a now-lost second hand book — translating the
letters between Thomas Mann and Hermann Hesse in the Weimar years. As I
recall, Mann (who had a Jewish wife) had been president of the Prussian
Literary Society — Germany’s most prestigious writers. Hesse was also a
member.

The Brown Shirts infiltrated the society and mustered enough votes to
oust Mann as president and expel Hesse — who then fled to Switzerland,
his original homeland. Mann and other anti-Nazi members regrouped and
eventually mustered enough votes to restore Mann to the presidency –
and restore Hesse’s membership.

Mann wrote to Hesse and urged him to return to Germany and help fight
the good fight. Hesse replied prophetically that in his view it was
inevitable that more than 90 percent of the Germans would soon
completely embrace the ends-justify-the-means doctrine of
totalitarianism. He decided that to help keep alive the free spirit of
German literature his own place was in his homeland in Switzerland.

My final chilling recollection was a lecture I attended in
Switzerland in 1953 — when I was a student at the University of
Zurich. At that time the Rosenbergs had been put to death in the United
States. On Swiss television I had seen Catholic religious groups
demonstrating in nearby Southern Germany. Opposed to capital
punishment, they were raising money to contribute to the support of the
Rosenbergs’ orphaned children.

McCarthyism was then raging in the United States. Mann, who until
then had been a refugee in California, returned to Germany for the first
time. He then visited Zurich and gave what I believe was his last
public lecture — which I attended. A month or so later Mann died in
the Zurich “Kantonspital.”

My translation of a portion of Mann’s last lecture is:

    It was not without trepidations that I have revisited my German
    “heimatland.” I have some doubts about the possibility of the revival
    of democracy in “entnazifiziert” [de-nazified] Deutschland.” But sadly,
    to tell you the truth, I also see evil rising dangerously in North
    America. I fear that today, even in Germany — of all places — there
    are more outspoken anti-totalitarian writers than in my adopted country.

By Christmas morning my chills passed. I accessed the worldwide
web — and sent and received holiday greetings by e-mail. I remembered
that WorldNetDaily and many fine young writers are rapidly growing in
popularity, along with the Internet. I slept well that night, with
renewed faith in our future.


Jerome Zeifman formerly served as the House Judiciary Committee’s chief
counsel. His book “Without Honor: The Impeachment of President Nixon
and the Crimes of Camelot” is now out-of-print but is being republished
in e-book form. Comments may be sent to
jzeifman@yahoo.com.

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