Old Media Vets Hail the "Freak Kingdom" of Hunter S. Thompson

Brent Bozell decries the Saturday night fireworks celebration of the pathetic suicidal end of gonzo writer Hunter Thompson's life, which was a big story in the Sunday papers. (As L.B.B. notes, Hunter was on A-3, Pope Benedict on A-20 of the WashPost). But so-called "objective" journalists were at the front of the line of his admirers, as he spewed hate at Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and two President Bushes through his crazed, glassy, drug-hazy eyes. The New York Times story notes that CBS reporter Ed Bradley, a close Thompson buddy, spoke at the ceremony. He "described first learning of Mr. Thompson through his writings in 1972 and thinking of him as an 'off-the-wall madman'; eventually Mr. Thompson became one of his closest friends. Like others, he spoke of his grief at losing Mr. Thompson, saying he thought he had finished his crying until he started writing his tribute..."Back in February after Thompson's suicide, CNN correspondent Bruce Morton -- who covered the '72 campaign for CBS -- remembered Thompson as a bigger-than-life presence who wrote "good stuff." "He'd perked the campaign plane or the campaign bus up a whole lot, he'd come out and say, had hey, weird stuff's going to happen, Hunter is here," Morton said on CNN. "He was also, it's fair to say, a very good writer. You read his stuff in Rolling Stone magazine, and maybe it wasn't what you've seen and maybe it wasn't what had happened, but by golly, it was good stuff and it was fun." This is one more reminder that so many of the TV journalists that we '60s-born middle-agers grew up watching were completely enthralled by the radical counterculture and the anti-war movement. To them, Thompson was not some saliva-dribbling "Nixon hater." They'd save terms like that for Clinton opponents. He was "fun" and raucous as he told of telling Nixon, in full-frontal sneer, "Fifty years more of the Thousand-Year Reich!'' He was yelling what they wanted to yell. He was their secret self acting out. PS: See how one Thompson mourner (and prose poseur) in San Fran seemed completely lost in a druggy din with this article lamenting how "Few if any young writers are willing the rip the breastplate off the political helldog and yank out its dung-blackened heart and hold it aloft for all to see... You might rightly ask, But is this what journalism really needs? Expletives and guns and drugs? Don't we already have enough of that with the military and Lynne Cheney and the Catholic Church?"

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis