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Story ID:9988
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Any City Any State USA
Person:American Press
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By Fred Wickert

Among the freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution is Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press. It is a part of what we commonly call THE BILL OF RIGHTS. Millions of Americans have always believed that what you read in the newspapers and hear on the radio and see and hear on television is the truth. If you saw it in the news it has to be true, right? Well, I am sorry to say that it is not right.

I suppose that for the majority of us we tend to think the media was pretty reliable up until Dan Rather got caught falsifying documents to show on the news which proved smears of George Bush when he was running for President. Before that, Connie Chung shocked the country when she set up the mother of the then Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich in a TV interview to say that around home Newt referred to Hillary Clinton as a Bitch. It cost Connie Chung her career. If it happened now she could just possibly get a raise. Not for getting Hillary called a Bitch, but for embarrassing a Republican Congressman. What she did was not a lie. What Dan Rather did was a lie.

Ever since those days in our history it has become increasingly worse. There were a number of incidents that I was witness to long before that and some of them had to have been because somebody with great power told the media to shut up, and the media complied. I will tell you some of the things I was witness to that happened long before the Dan Rather and Connie Chung fiascos.

There was a highly respected veteran syndicated columnist in Washington at the time whose name was Yarbourough. One day I was reading an article he had written in his syndicated column. The paper I was reading was the Washington Post but the article appeared in papers all over the country. The article was talking about a new wide body passenger jet that was being shown off at Dulles International Air Port. The plane landed and took off two or three times and he wrote how quiet it was and how there was very little smoke coming out of the engines. Then he went on to complain about another jet that was shooting landings and take offs at Dulles that day. He described at great length how loud and noisy the plane was and how it left trails of black smoke behind it when it took off. He then added that the tax payer had a stake in the plane making all the noise and smoke and then he identified the plane as Air Force Two. He called it a Boeing 707.

I knew instantly that the article in the paper lied. I knew he lied because the day he claimed all this was happening, Air Force Two never moved. It sat in the hangar in Andrews Air Force Base. I knew that for a fact because I was there guarding it. If it had been at Dulles shooting landings and take offs, I would certainly have known because I was guarding it that day. Further, I knew what airplane he was watching. It did belong to the Presidential fleet and it was made by Boeing, but it was a VC-135. A VC-135 was an air to air refueling aircraft known as KC-135 that had a kit for seating and bathrooms and a kitchen put in it on the cargo deck so that it could comfortably fly passengers. The Secretary of State and Congressman and Senators often flew on them on trips overseas. Air Force Two was a small business type jet that was normally not used to go overseas. Occasionally the Vice President if going to Europe, did use one of the VC-135’s. The news writer may have seen him use one at some time and thought that it was Air Force Two but it was not. I wrote a letter to Mr Yarborough and told him what the facts were . I did not get a reply and there was no retraction printed.

One night, I believe in 1971, but I am not sure because it might have been 1972, I was working the midnight shift in Presidential Security at Andrews Air Force Base. Early in the morning between four and five, there was breaking news coming over the radio. There had just been an arrest made at Water Gate of a number of men for burglary at the offices of the Democratic party. A list of names was given of those who had been arrested. There was no more about it until the eight o’clock news in the morning. Again there was a list of names of the people arrested. Something was different. There was one more name in the original report. That name was never heard again. It was quickly covered up. There were many great length reports about how some alert security guard had detected that the locks on the doors had been taped over and that was how they were caught. That was a lie. No such security guard ever made such a report. There was a double agent working for the Democrats who had infiltrated the Republicans. He was one of the burglars who was involved and he had told them it was coming and when. They were there waiting for them when they broke in. He was arrested along with the others and later released and his name removed. It was never reported.

Near the time when LBJ , (Lyndon Baines Johnson) was leaving the White House there was a big scandal in the news involving some business man who had been friends with LBJ in the past. I do not recall the name of the man. The scandal had to do with a fraud scheme involving many millions of dollars and it had to do with grain silos. The scandal was in the news for weeks and finally a Texas business man with connections to LBY went to prison for it. The millions of lost money was never recovered. Many years later in the early 1980’s I was watching Television. Suddenly the station broke into programming with a flash news bulletin. Tey reported the man who went to prison in the grain silo scandal had just been released from prison. He was asked where the money was. His answer was that he did not know. He said he took the fall but there were two others in it with him. One of them was LBJ. Originally there had been four but one of them was going to go to the authorities and LBJ had him killed to keep his mouth shut. LBJ and the other guy had both died while he was in prison and he did not know where they put the money. He was supposed to get his share when he got out of prison. There was to be full story with further details on the regular eleven o’clock news. When the news came on at 11:00 P.M. I was glued to the TV set wanting to hear all about it. There was never one word said about it. Not one. There was never anything said in any news anywhere about it. Never again. The man who just got out of prison after serving time for it was briefly in the news again a short time later. It was reported that he had suddenly died and I have never heard him mentioned again.

To completely shut off any report from any news source so quickly and so completely takes enormous power. I have no idea who, but somebody possessed such power. I believe the President at the time was a Republican so I doubt very much if the black out was ordered by the white house, but I suppose it could have been just because LBJ was a former President. I just don’t know.

I do know that I personally have witnessed things in the news I knew to be completely false and the media had no interest in correcting it. I have also witnessed the media being controlled by someone with enormous power. Freedom of the press is only an illusion.

Photo: Author guarding Air Force Two

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