James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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Archive for December 15th, 2008

Nixon ‘Frosted’: more bad history from Hollywood

Posted by James McPherson on December 15, 2008

Not having seen the play “Frost/Nixon,” I was much looking forward to Ron Howard’s critically acclaimed new film version. Now, based on reviews such as those from Tom Charity and Elizabeth Drew, not so much.

Richard Nixon and David Frost were both fascinating characters (and both a bit slippery as well as more than a bit self-aggrandizing), and apparently the film is riveting. But like so much else in Hollywood, it’s also a lie. Aren’t we stupid enough about our history without fictionalizing it?

Ignorance of history leads to a world in which actors,  liars,  crooks, blowhards, political losers and overrated buffoons become leaders, television hosts and respected commentators. Yet our only hope as a nation may come from leaders who understand the real lessons of history.

For some real Frost/Nixon, see the clips below.

Nixon: “If I had intended to cover up, believe me I’d have done it.”

Nixon:”When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.”

Posted in History, Journalism, Media literacy, Politics, Video, Written elsewhere | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »