Richard ReevesCommentary by Pete du Pont
January 23, 1997
Host intro: The natural antipathy that politicians have for reporters is often reciprocated. Commentator Pete du Pont of the National Center for Policy Analysis says it's bad for the country. But he says a recent story holds a glimmer of hope.
Politics tended to harden my heart toward reporters and pundits. At best, they don't know half the story. At worst, they know less and pretend they know more. They've helped to coursen the politics. But I thought I had seen everything until I saw one of them apologize for it -- gracefully and generously, and admitting that he and his kind have hurt politics.
In 1975, columnist Richard Reeves he wrote a book about then-president Gerald Ford called "A Ford, Not a Lincoln." You can tell from the title it wasn't complimentary.
But in an article called "I'm sorry, Mr. President" in the January issue of Forbes American Heritage Magazine, Reeves acknowledges that Ford was an intelligent, skillful politician. Regarding the Nixon pardon, Reeves now says that Ford was courageous he -- Reeves -- was wrong.
Reeves believes journalists and politicians have turned politics into a nightmare in which the anti-Washington flames he helped fan with his reporting have turned into a conflagration. He's sorry about that, too.
It may be too late to save civil politics, but if more journalists will admit to what Richard Reeves has, it would be a start. Then, we'll go to work on the politicians.
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA, we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you tomorrow.
Host outro: People are standing in line to hail Larry Flynt as a First Amendment hero. Pete du Pont asks to be excused.