US President Richard Nixon caused a sensation with his own enemies list
Politics like so many things has a habit of repeating itself. And so it goes with the so-called Vision Vancouver media hit list, which were are assured by blogger Alex G. Tsakumis will be provided more evidence for on his site. The most famous example of an "enemies list" in political history is the one produced by US President Richard M. Nixon with the help of key aides.
According to Wikipedia Nixon's enemies list included newsman Daniel Schorr as well as actor Paul Newman and a host of other celebrities, political figures and institutions:
The full list includes many notable people and publications, including Jane Fonda, Bill Cosby, Gregory Peck, Ted Kennedy, Shirley Chisholm, Joe Namath, Bella Abzug, Barbra Streisand, Carol Channing, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.
As #1 on Vision's reputed hit list I'm quite happy to be in the company of many of the esteemed journos in the list of 15. Apparently Paul Newman was damn proud to be on Nixon's list. Writer Hunter S. Thompson, who wrote scathingly about Nixon, was deeply disappointed about not being on Nixon's hit list.
Now I know why I've been reading comments from everyone from Charlie Smith, Bob Mackin and Jeff Lee, as well as my colleague Daniel at their disappointment of not being higher on the so-called hit list. I guess I get to breath the rarified air of being on top – for now. As for Nixon's list, I'd be happy to be compared to anyone of the folks on that list, with the possible exception of Carol Channing – she was a little odd.
Wikipedia states that the official purpose, as described by the White House Counsel's Office, was to "screw" Nixon's political enemies, by means of tax audits from the Internal Revenue Service, and by manipulating "grant availability, federal contracts, litigation, prosecution, etc." Certainly there can be no doubt that the Vision hierarchs would like to – at the very least – "screw" those who are not playing their game.
Some media have been flagged already in Vancouver as being "Vision-friendly". Amazingly, there are entire news broadcasts today in our city that would never think of producing one pixel of bad coverage for Gregor Robertson. There are a sampling of other broadcasters, journalists and commentators who are far more coy about their support for Vision. Just thank your lucky stars that there are at least 15 folks (and several editors, and staff behind them) recognized for standing up in some way to Vision's sometimes bullying ways.
For the past two days Gregor Robertson's chief of staff has been calling news editors to castigate them for the hit list story coverage. There have been threats of lawsuits from the City of Vancouver to media outlets. It's a heavy hand instead of laughing it off as they probably should. The pressure must be huge for news room editors and media brass to stand up to these threats. These guys are heroes, folks.
Vision with the time left in their mandate will try to make the lives of their critics as uncomfortable as possible. They've already tried to attack me personally through spurious interpretations of my past and my business dealings. They've searched high and low for the elusive "financial backer" of CityCaucus.com, never once considering that this might be the effort of dedicated volunteers.
The toxic work environment at Vancouver City Hall, which Penny Ballem and Gregor Robertson blithely shrug off as the result of "change", is the direct result of the type of us vs them culture Vision continually espouses. It would never occur to them that in order to correct any inefficiency or lethargy within the ranks of the civil service that you might use honey instead of vinegar, or trust rather than antagonism. But when you're boys might be out on a witch hunt for "enemies" to your cause, you don't expect happiness and light.
We're going into the final year before the election campaign begins. As much as I can I'm going to continue to hold Vision Vancouver's City Hall to account. Like when Nixon left the White House in disgrace, talking that final grim march to the helicopter, it would give me great pleasure to see the backs of motley crew who seek to "screw" Vancouver media they don't like.
- post by Mike