Martin Plissner

Martin Plissner, the former political director of CBS News, is the author of
The Control Room: How Television Calls the Shots in Presidential Elections.

Recent Articles

Flunking Statistics

W hen William F. Buckley Jr. launched America's conservative movement half a century ago, the requisite foe came readily to hand. In God & Man at Yale , Buckley identified the university he had just left -- and, by implication, the country's entire higher-education establishment -- as the driving force behind "agnosticism and collectivism" in American life. The specter of radical leftists in control of the nation's campuses would invigorate Republican platforms and speakers for a generation. Years later, Richard Nixon, as president, found a fresh antagonist for conservatives to demonize: the liberal media. As with Buckley, the choice had personal roots. The formative battles of Buckley's career had been with the Yale faculty; Nixon's were with the press. In the enemies lists compiled by Nixon's staff, journalists outnumbered all other categories, including college professors, by a ratio of nearly 3-to-1. Elevated by a master to great Satan for the right, the news media retain that...