"A Tiny and Closed Fraternity of Privileged Men”: The Nixon-Agnew Anti-Media Campaign and the Liberal Roots of the U.S. Conservative “Liberal Media” Critique

Christopher Cimaglio


The Nixon administration’s antimedia campaign of the late 1960s and early 1970s, led by Vice President Spiro Agnew, is often cited as a foundational moment for the conservative critique of liberal media bias in U.S. politics. Drawing on analysis of Agnew’s speeches and contemporary conservative writing on the media, this article argues that Agnew and his supporters drew substantially on arguments from liberal media reform traditions in their attacks on a liberal media elite. Conservatives’ reworking of traditionally progressive rhetoric that opposed monopoly power in media and touted the public’s rights in the media system aided in the development of an enduring populist conservative media critique that identified liberal journalists with privilege and power and conservatives with the people.


liberal media, American conservatism, media history, media bias, media criticism

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