The Grenada episode has shown, with crystal-clear unambiguity, that the press in America is not only held in contempt and deeply distrusted, but hated-pure and simply. Why is it so? Perhaps the ubiquitous blab—broadcast and printed—that is churned out with a monotonous regularity evokes a loathing of the producers, the liberal media. A case in point is the copy of a Gannett News Service operative, John Hanchette, which is so saturated with mindless venom that it oozes from the pages. Mr. Hanchette describes the case of a Columbia University journalism professor, one Penn Kimball, who after a life of maintaining a leftist posture—obtained, under the Freedom of lnformation Act, his FBI records, and consequently discovered that he has been observed, watched, and monitored as a possible security risk, especially after he applied for a job with the State Department. Mr.Kimball has produced a book entitled The File, which, in turn, has set all of the Hanchettes in the land into a liberal frenzy. Writes Mr. Hanchette:
Penn Kimball doesn’t have to wait until January to find out what 1984 is like. He’s been there for almost 40 years. Kimball, 68, could have stepped directly from the pages of George Orwell’s 1984, the novel about a nightmare society in which a tyrannical Big Brother government monitors the very thoughts of its every citizen.
He thus proves that he never read Orwell, and that the name is evoked only to satisfy his narcotic need for vitriolic anti-Americanism:
He since has held important positions on Time, Collier’s, New Republic and The New York Times. He worked as staff aide to senators and governors, including Averell Harriman and Chester Bowles. He taught Sunday School. His wife ran a Brownie troop.
In Orwellian Oceania, Mr. Kimball would have been pulverized without committing any transgression, just on the ground of the flimsiest suspicion that he would have perpetrated an act of mental independence. In Soviet Russia, the closest embodiment of Big Brother ism on earth, as Orwell himself ob served, anyone who dared to ask the KGB for his files would be killed on the spot by the lowest clerk, who would act on the presumption that the person making the request is a dangerous maniac in the throes of some psychological rabies. In America, according to Mr. Hanchette’s own information, Mr. Kimball publishes books, teaches at premier universities, contributes to magazines, and publicly chastizes the hapless security agents that try to keep tabs on someone who is innocent before proven guilty, but whose innocence needs a bit of checking. And then the press complains that it is hated without making its Hanchettes think before they start writing.