When Spiro Agnew was compelled to resign the vice presidency after pleading no contest to tax evasion charges, I made the mistake of accepting an invitation to appear on David Susskind’s televised talk show. It was, I naively thought, an opportunity to discuss in detail how that complicated politician had gotten in trouble accepting cash and groceries while governor of Maryland and as vice president.
But the 1973 Susskind program quickly devolved into a clash of loud opinions among William Rusher, Roy Cohn, Pete Hamill, Jules Witcover and Frank Van Der Linden, as I sat mostly mute. During a commercial break, a producer came to me and said, “Get in there and mix it up.” I did not, and never again accepted an invitation to appear on the increasingly tendentious telecasts that masquerade as news analysis. Read more