MAKING IT PERFECTLY CLEAR by Herbert G. Klein

MAKING IT PERFECTLY CLEAR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This rambling look at Richard Nixon's political career offers familiar material, but its focus on press-related events provides some fresh angles. Former White House Communications Director Klein comments frankly on low points of Nixon's career. He was a Washington newsman during the 1950 Senate campaign against Helen Gahagan Douglas, and he's ""glad I had no part in the idea"" of labeling her a ""pinko."" But Klein was part of the 1962 California gubernatorial campaign: he was briefing the press after Nixon's defeat when the candidate interrupted to deliver the notorious ""last press conference"" speech. ""I looked at Nixon and listened to those rambling first words, and I knew we were in trouble,"" Klein recalls; from his point of view, the press did cover the campaign fairly. In the White House, says Klein, Ron Ziegler alternated between ""insecurity and overconfidence""; was ""completely dominated"" by Haldeman; and endured ""continued needling"" by Ehrlichman. He admits that CBS was hated more than the other networks ""for reasons I do not understand"" (Klein credits Dan Rather with the best network interview of Nixon). Nor could he understand the names on the ""Enemies List"": Joseph Kraft wrote favorable columns in 1968; James Reston was ""a personal friend""; Rowland Evans was ""accurate and independent"" (but a Kennedy intimate). Klein also criticizes administration efforts to prevent publication of the Pentagon Papers and claims that a plan he and Ziegler devised for smoothing media relations during Watergate was never followed. Although Klein ""always shuddered at the term 'new Nixon',"" which he says the press invented, he considers reporting today ""the best it ever has been"" and he condemns recent court decisions restricting press access. Old Nixon stories with a new twist--a (discreet) press partisan behind enemy lines.

Pub Date: Sept. 12th, 1980
Publisher: Doubleday