1971-04-08 00:00:00

The New York Times Unveiling of The Pentagon Papers 1971

In 1971, the Pentagon Papers, a secret United States Department of Defense history of the United States' political and military involvement in the Vietnam War from 1945 to 1967, were leaked to Neil Sheehan of The New York Times by former State Department official Daniel Ellsberg. The papers revealed, among other things, that the government had deliberately expanded its role in the war all while President Lyndon B. Johnson had been promising not to do so. The document increased the credibility gap for the U.S. government, and hurt efforts by the Nixon administration to fight the ongoing war. The New York Times began publishing excerpts as a series of articles on June 13, 1971 and controversy and lawsuits quickly followed. President Richard Nixon was incensed by series, telling National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger that “People have gotta be put to the torch for this sort of thing.” After initially failing to get The New York Times to stop publishing, Attorney General John Mitchell and President Nixon obtained a federal court injunction that they cease publication of excerpts. On June 18, 1971, The Washington Post began publishing its own series, having obtained portions of the papers from Ellsberg. That same day, the Post received a call from the Assistant Attorney General, William Rehnquist, requesting they stop publishing. The U.S. Supreme Court merged both cases into New York Times Co. v. United States. On June 30, 1971 the Supreme Court held in a 6–3 decision that the injunctions were unconstitutional prior restraints and that the government had not met the burden of proof required. The ruling made it possible for The New York Times and The Washington Post newspapers to publish the then-classified Pentagon Papers without risk of government censorship or punishment. This is generally considered a victory for an extensive reading of the First Amendment, but its decision did not void the Espionage Act or give the press unlimited freedom to publish classified documents.

1972-06-08 03:46:47

The Watergate Scandal

The Watergate scandal was a political scandal in the United States involving the administration of U.S. President Richard Nixon from 1972 to 1974 that led to Nixon's resignation. The scandal stemmed from the Nixon administration's continuous attempts to cover up its involvement in the June 17, 1972 break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters. Nixon is the only U.S. president to have resigned from office and it is believed that, had he not done so, he would have been impeached by the House and removed from office by a trial in the Senate.

1972-08-17 12:58:12

The Washington Post's Uncovering of Watergate Scandal

Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein play a lead role in uncovering the Watergate scandal. Their reporting reveals widespread lawbreaking in the office of President Richard Nixon and his administration. In 1974, facing impeachment, Nixon becomes the only president in US history to resign from office.

1973-06-07 00:00:00

Media Titan Rupert Murdoch Buys The San Antonio Express Newspaper

Australian and British media titan Rupert Murdoch moves to the US and buys his first newspaper, The San Antonio Express. Murdoch will go on to alter the course of American history with his support for right wing policies, conservative politicians and his fight against government regulation. Murdoch will follow a template he has pioneered in Australia and England in which he uses his media outlets to elect politicians favorable to his business interests. In the coming years Murdoch will create Fox News and build one of the largest media empires in the US with nearly 30 TV stations as well as newspapers and magazines including The New York Post. Murdoch and his media empire will push an aggressively conservative agenda, champion conspiracy theories and play a role in the election of Ronald Reagan, Donald Trump, Margaret Thatcher and others.

1979-05-04 00:00:00

Britain Elects First Female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 4, 1979 - 1990 and was Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. She was the longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century and the first woman to hold that office.

1980-10-16 12:58:12

Cable News Network (CNN) Founded

Cable News Network (CNN) is founded by Robert "Ted" Turner in Atlanta, Georgia. It is the world’s first 24hr news channel and the first all-news television channel in the US. Previous to CNN’s founding, most Americans got their TV news in a 30 minute broadcast at 6pm every evening from the “Big Three” networks: NBC, CBS and ABC. CNN will revolutionize the news gathering business for television; its success will inspire the creation of Fox News in 1996.

1985-04-04 00:00:00

Rupert Murdoch Becomes Eligible To Own American TV Stations

Australian media magnate Rupert Murdoch becomes a US citizen, allowing him to fully own American television stations. Murdoch, who already owns The New York Post and is credited with helping elect Ronald Reagan in 1980, will greatly expand his media empire in the following years and create Fox News. His right wing agenda, combined with his close friendship with Donald Trump , and his brilliance in the media and business will alter the course of American history.

1986-04-26 00:00:00

Nuclear Power Disaster At Chernobyl In Ukraine

On April 26, 1986, a sudden surge of power during a reactor systems test destroyed Unit 4 of the nuclear power station at Chernobyl, Ukraine, in the former Soviet Union. The accident and the fire that followed released massive amounts of radioactive material into the environment. It is considered the worst nuclear disaster in history.

1986-07-10 00:00:00

US Senate Allows Broadcast of Floor Debates

The U.S. Senate joins the U.S. House of Representatives in allowing broadcast coverage of floor debates. (C-Span). This seemingly innocuous rule will have major unintended consequences when Newt Gingrich, a Georgia Republican, will use late night speeches to a largely empty chamber to help build a conservative political movement across America.

1987-04-23 00:00:00

FCC Revokes Fairness Doctrine Passed In 1949

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) revokes the Fairness Doctrine passed in 1949. Almost overnight, the government standards that forced broadcasters to focus on ethical and fair news-gathering went out the window. For the previous 38 years, the Fairness Doctrine had required TV and radio stations that hold government broadcast licenses think of themselves as “public trustees” and present controversial issues of public importance. The stations had to present these issues in a way that was honest, equitable, and balanced. The doctrine also required broadcasters to devote airtime to opposing or contrasting viewpoints. The Fairness Doctrine had created the groundwork for the previous four decades of relatively objective, balanced American broadcast journalism created with a level of standards and ethics in mind, especially on NBC, CBS and ABC, the three stations that, in many parts of America, were the only stations available until the 1990s. The Fairness Doctrine’s repeal under pressure from President Ronald Reagan in 1987 sets the stage for the explosion of right wing talk radio and eventually an avalanche of unchecked conspiracy theories spread by pundits, who are not journalists. In 1927, as the first regulation of broadcasters was first being considered, an American congressman observed, “American thought and American politics will be largely at the mercy of those who operate these stations, for publicity is the most powerful weapon that can be wielded in a republic. And when such a weapon is placed in the hands of one person, or a single selfish group is permitted to either tacitly or otherwise acquire ownership or dominate these broadcasting stations throughout the country, then woe be to those who dare to differ with them. It will be impossible to compete with them in reaching the ears of the American people.” — Rep. Luther Johnson (D.-Texas), in the debate that preceded the Radio Act of 1927 (KPFA, 1/16/03)


Copy this timeline Login to copy this timeline 3d Game mode