Friday, June 27, 2008

Remembering The `Eisenhowergate Scandal'

Republican Party presidential candidates used to generally get preferential mass media coverage in the 20th century (before wealthy U.S. corporation executives began to also bankroll Democratic Party presidential candidates more heavily) since most of the people who own the Big Media conglomerates used to just be Republican Party supporters. Yet corruption and scandal plagued most Republican administrations during the last half of the 20th Century. During the 1950s, for example, there was an “Eisenhowergate Scandal” which the then-Republican Party-biased mass media chose to ignore. As Jack Anderson and Drew Pearson wrote in their 1968 book The Case Against Congress:

“By all odds the most astonishing conflict-of-interest case to be ignored by the press in recent years involved President Eisenhower. The conflict involved gifts to his farm in Gettysburg and the way the upkeep of the farm was handled.

“…The upkeep of the Eisenhower farm was paid for by three oilmen…During his 8 years in the White House, Dwight Eisenhower did more for the nation’s private oil and gas interests than any other President. He encouraged and signed legislation overriding a Supreme Court decision giving offshore oil to the Federal Government…

“On January 19, 1961, one day before he left the White House, Eisenhower signed a procedural instruction on the importation of residual oil…One of the major beneficiaries of this last-minute executive order happened to be Cities Service…The chief executive of Cities Service was W. Alton Jones, one of the three faithful contributors to the upkeep of the Eisenhower farm.

“Three months later [apparently it was actually nearly thirteen months later, on March 1, 1962], Jones was flying to Palm Springs [and nearby Palm Desert] to visit the retired President of the United States when his plane crashed and Jones was killed. In his briefcase was found $61,000 in cash and traveler’s checks [in 1960s money]. No explanation was ever offered—in fact none was ever asked for by the complacent American press—as to why the head of one of the leading oil companies of America was flying to see the ex-President of the United States with $61,000 in his briefcase.”

(Downtown 8/26/92)

Next: Cosmopolitan’s Historic Hearst Connection