El discurso de dimisión de Richard Nixon

A las 21:01 del 8 de agosto de 1974, Richard Nixon entraba en los hogares de millones de estadounidenses. Y el mundo entero observaba como cerraba un capítulo para abrir otro. Desde el Despacho Oval, anunciaba su dimisión. La primera de un presidente en la historia de Estados Unidos en 198 años de historia. Y la única hasta nuestros días. Mañana se cumplirán 37 años del inicio del juicio por el caso que llevó a Nixon a su particular caída del Olimpo.


«Therefore, I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow»

«Good evening.

This is the 37th time I have spoken to you from this office, where so many decisions have been made that shaped the history of this Nation. Each time I have done so to discuss with you some matter that I believe affected the national interest.

In all the decisions I have made in my public life, I have always tried to do what was best for the Nation. Throughout the long and difficult period of Watergate, I have felt it was my duty to persevere, to make every possible effort to complete the term of office to which you elected me.

In the past few days, however, it has become evident to me that I no longer have a strong enough political base in the Congress to justify continuing that effort. As long as there was such a base, I felt strongly that it was necessary to see the constitutional process through to its conclusion, that to do otherwise would be unfaithful to the spirit of that deliberately difficult process and a dangerously destabilizing precedent for the future.

But with the disappearance of that base, I now believe that the constitutional purpose has been served, and there is no longer a need for the process to be prolonged.

«I have never been a quitter»

I would have preferred to carry through to the finish whatever the personal agony it would have involved, and my family unanimously urged me to do so. But the interest of the Nation must always come before any personal considerations.

From the discussions I have had with Congressional and other leaders, I have concluded that because of the Watergate matter I might not have the support of the Congress that I would consider necessary to back the very difficult decisions and carry out the duties of this office in the way the interests of the Nation would require.

I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But as President, I must put the interest of America first. America needs a full-time President and a full-time Congress, particularly at this time with problems we face at home and abroad.

To continue to fight through the months ahead for my personal vindication would almost totally absorb the time and attention of both the President and the Congress in a period when our entire focus should be on the great issues of peace abroad and prosperity without inflation at home.

Therefore, I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow. Vice President Ford will be sworn in as President at that hour in this office.

As I recall the high hopes for America with which we began this second term, I feel a great sadness that I will not be here in this office working on your behalf to achieve those hopes in the next 21/2 years. But in turning over direction of the Government to Vice President Ford, I know, as I told the Nation when I nominated him for that office 10 months ago, that the leadership of America will be in good hands.

In passing this office to the Vice President, I also do so with the profound sense of the weight of responsibility that will fall on his shoulders tomorrow and, therefore, of the understanding, the patience, the cooperation he will need from all Americans.

As he assumes that responsibility, he will deserve the help and the support of all of us. As we look to the future, the first essential is to begin healing the wounds of this Nation, to put the bitterness and divisions of the recent past behind us, and to rediscover those shared ideals that lie at the heart of our strength and unity as a great and as a free people.

By taking this action, I hope that I will have hastened the start of that process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.

I regret deeply any injuries that may have been done in the course of the events that led to this decision. I would say only that if some of my Judgments were wrong, and some were wrong, they were made in what I believed at the time to be the best interest of the Nation.

To those who have stood with me during these past difficult months, to my family, my friends, to many others who joined in supporting my cause because they believed it was right, I will be eternally grateful for your support.

«We have ended America’s longest war, but in the work of securing a lasting peace in the world, the goals ahead are even more far-reaching and more difficult.«

And to those who have not felt able to give me your support, let me say I leave with no bitterness toward those who have opposed me, because all of us, in the final analysis, have been concerned with the good of the country, however our judgments might differ.

So, let us all now join together in affirming that common commitment and in helping our new President succeed for the benefit of all Americans.

I shall leave this office with regret at not completing my term, but with gratitude for the privilege of serving as your President for the past 51/2 years. These years have been a momentous time in the history of our Nation and the world. They have been a time of achievement in which we can all be proud, achievements that represent the shared efforts of the Administration, the Congress, and the people.

But the challenges ahead are equally great, and they, too, will require the support and the efforts of the Congress and the people working in cooperation with the new Administration.

We have ended America’s longest war, but in the work of securing a lasting peace in the world, the goals ahead are even more far-reaching and more difficult. We must complete a structure of peace so that it will be said of this generation, our generation of Americans, by the people of all nations, not only that we ended one war but that we prevented future wars.

We have unlocked the doors that for a quarter of a century stood between the United States and the People’s Republic of China.

We must now ensure that the one quarter of the world’s people who live in the People’s Republic of China will be and remain not our enemies but our friends.

In the Middle East, 100 million people in the Arab countries, many of whom have considered us their enemy for nearly 20 years, now look on us as their friends. We must continue to build on that friendship so that peace can settle at last over the Middle East and so that the cradle of civilization will not become its grave.

Together with the Soviet Union we have made the crucial breakthroughs that have begun the process of limiting nuclear arms. But we must set as our goal not just limiting but reducing and finally destroying these terrible weapons so that they cannot destroy civilization and so that the threat of nuclear war will no longer hang over the world and the people.

We have opened the new relation with the Soviet Union. We must continue to develop and expand that new relationship so that the two strongest nations of the world will live together in cooperation rather than confrontation.

Around the world, in Asia, in Africa, in Latin America, in the Middle East, there are millions of people who live in terrible poverty, even starvation. We must keep as our goal turning away from production for war and expanding production for peace so that people everywhere on this earth can at last look forward in their children’s time, if not in our own time, to having the necessities for a decent life.

Here in America, we are fortunate that most of our people have not only the blessings of liberty but also the means to live full and good and, by the world’s standards, even abundant lives. We must press on, however, toward a goal of not only more and better jobs but of full opportunity for every American and of what we are striving so hard right now to achieve, prosperity without inflation.

For more than a quarter of a century in public life I have shared in the turbulent history of this era. I have fought for what I believed in. I have tried to the best of my ability to discharge those duties and meet those responsibilities that were entrusted to me.

«There is one cause above all to which I have been devoted and to which I shall always be devoted for as long as I live.»

Sometimes I have succeeded and sometimes I have failed, but always I have taken heart from what Theodore Roosevelt once said about the man in the arena, «whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again because there is not effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deed, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumphs of high achievements and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.»

I pledge to you tonight that as long as I have a breath of life in my body, I shall continue in that spirit. I shall continue to work for the great causes to which I have been dedicated throughout my years as a Congressman, a Senator, a Vice President, and President, the cause of peace not just for America but among all nations, prosperity, justice, and opportunity for all of our people.

There is one cause above all to which I have been devoted and to which I shall always be devoted for as long as I live.

When I first took the oath of office as President 51/2 years ago, I made this sacred commitment, to «consecrate my office, my energies, and all the wisdom I can summon to the cause of peace among nations.»

I have done my very best in all the days since to be true to that pledge. As a result of these efforts, I am confident that the world is a safer place today, not only for the people of America but for the people of all nations, and that all of our children have a better chance than before of living in peace rather than dying in war.

This, more than anything, is what I hoped to achieve when I sought the Presidency. This, more than anything, is what I hope will be my legacy to you, to our country, as I leave the Presidency.

To have served in this office is to have felt a very personal sense of kinship with each and every American. In leaving it, I do so with this prayer: May God’s grace be with you in all the days ahead.»

La huella de Nixon en el discurso de dimisión de Francisco Camps

Más de 900 días separan las primeras informaciones sobre los trajes de Camps y su dimisión. Casi 37 años separan la dimisión de Richard Nixon de la de Francisco Camps. Dos figuras marcadas por la corrupción, la lucha por mantenerse en el cargo y la creación de un universo de enemigos paralelo. Y no es lo único que les une.

El 8 de agosto de 1974 Richard Nixon se dirigió a la nación desde el Despacho Oval para anunciar su dimisión. En aquel discurso, el presidente usó tres recursos discursivos, como señala Jeffrey Feldman, para articular su intervención y enmarcar su mensaje: el cambio de dirección en el marco, jactarse de lo conseguido y la asociación con terceros. Esas técnicas también se vieron en el discurso que dirigió Camps en su renuncia.

El cambio de dirección en el marco

Nixon justificó su renuncia por un tema de dedicación.

“America needs a full-time president and a full-time Congress”.

La lógica de evitar un proceso para permitir el funcionamiento de las instituciones. Para Camps, ese cambio en la dirección está en el servicio al Partido Popular, a Rajoy y a España. Tal y como expresa en esta frase del discurso:

“ofrezco este sacrificio personal para que Mariano Rajoy sea el próximo presidente del gobierno, para que el Partido Popular gobierne España y para que España sea esa gran nación que los españoles queremos.”

El tema del sacrificio es una constante en el discurso de Camps. Lo hace de forma expresa en tres ocasiones: un sacrificio personal, de partido y por España. El sacrificio de Nixon se expresa de forma velada en esa lógica del funcionamiento de las instituciones.


Jactarse de lo conseguido

Nixon presentaba, a las puertas del estallido del caso Watergate, una buena hoja de servicios. Reelegido para el cargo, había puesto fin a la Guerra de Vietnam y tenía índices de popularidad parecidos a los de Kennedy. Esos logros fueron puestos de manifiesto en su discurso. Esa técnica busca poner encima de la mesa lo logrado por lo desgastado.

Camps también usó esa técnica:

“Paco Camps es un gran presidente, es el mejor presidente para nuestra tierra»
“Ser los mejores, los primeros, el mejor ejemplo de gobierno y de proyecto colectivo”
“Somos los mejores, eso es lo que quiero decirle a todos los valencianos. Somos los mejores, este es el mejor territorio, esta es la más grande comunidad de España y la mejor región de Europa y por eso han ocurrido las cosas que han ocurrido.”


Asociación con terceros

Nixon invoca a Theodore Roosevelt en su discurso. Camps no lo hace. No cita a terceros que sean referencia para él. Pero sí que asocia lo ocurrido con terceros. Es lo que él llama “el sistema”. Ese enemigo a su figura y al Partido Popular que encarna el PSOE. Ejemplos de ello los encontramos en frases como:

“Hemos luchado contra un sistema, un sistema duro y brutal.”
“Un sistema que ha traído paro, desconcierto, tensión y crispación a todo nuestro país.”


Y algunas diferencias…

Nixon y Camps son plenamente conscientes de la importancia de ese discurso. Saben que fijará el marco con el que muchos interpreten sus dimisiones. Nixon, más centrado en el legado, es plenamente consciente del fin de su carrera política. Camps, por el contrario, dedica gran parte del discurso a defender su honorabilidad. ¿Con ese gesto Camps señala que está dispuesto a volver?

No es la única diferencia entre los dos. Nixon habla más de la nación que del partido. Camps, habla sobretodo del partido y centra su dimisión en un sacrificio por el partido. Un sacrificio por Rajoy.


El discurso infográfico de dimisión

España, mejor o proyecto. Son las palabras más repetidas por Camps. Comunidad Valenciana, Partido Popular… forman parte también de ese ranking. Detalles como ese, así como los titulares o los momentos en que Camps fuerza su voz; se contienen en la infografía del discurso de dimisión que mostramos a continuación.

Discurso Infográfico de la dimisión de Francisco Camps

Spiro Agnew y el poder de la televisión

El debate sobre el poder del medio, el que sea, en la influencia política no es nuevo. Por mucho que a medida que avanza el uso y la influencia de las redes parece que descubramos un nuevo tema de discusión. Para la política, para el poder, esa es una preocupación que se pierde en el tiempo.

Por ello, cuando nos cuestionamos el poder de las redes en las revoluciones de la primavera árabe o su influencia en los diferentes comicios electorales, es interesante recuperar un curioso discurso del que fue vicepresidente de Nixon de 1969 a 1973.

Spiro Theodore Agnew reflexionó en ese discurso de noviembre de 1969 sobre lo ocurrido tras el discurso de Nixon sobre Vietnam. El vicepresidente se cuestiona sobre el poder de los tertulianos, analistas y comentaristas que, tras la aparición presidencial, moldearon la opinión pública con sus comentarios y análisis.

«Every elected leader in the United States depends on these men of the media»


«I think it’s obvious from the cameras here that I didn’t come to discuss the ban on cyclamates or DDT. I have a subject which I think if of great importance to the American people. Tonight I want to discuss the importance of the television news medium to the American people. No nation depends more on the intelligent judgment of its citizens. No medium has a more profound influence over public opinion. Nowhere in our system are there fewer checks on vast power. So, nowhere should there be more conscientious responsibility exercised than by the news media. The question is, «Are we demanding enough of our television news presentations?» «And are the men of this medium demanding enough of themselves?»

Monday night a week ago, President Nixon delivered the most important address of his Administration, one of the most important of our decade. His subject was Vietnam. My hope, as his at that time, was to rally the American people to see the conflict through to a lasting and just peace in the Pacific. For 32 minutes, he reasoned with a nation that has suffered almost a third of a million casualties in the longest war in its history.

When the President completed his address — an address, incidentally, that he spent weeks in the preparation of — his words and policies were subjected to instant analysis and querulous criticism. The audience of 70 million Americans gathered to hear the President of the United States was inherited by a small band of network commentators and self-appointed analysts, the majority of whom expressed in one way or another their hostility to what he had to say.

It was obvious that their minds were made up in advance. Those who recall the fumbling and groping that followed President Johnson’s dramatic disclosure of his intention not to seek another term have seen these men in a genuine state of nonpreparedness. This was not it.

One commentator twice contradicted the President’s statement about the exchange of correspondence with Ho Chi Minh. Another challenged the President’s abilities as a politician. A third asserted that the President was following a Pentagon line. Others, by the expressions on their faces, the tone of their questions, and the sarcasm of their responses, made clear their sharp disapproval.

To guarantee in advance that the President’s plea for national unity would be challenged, one network trotted out Averell Harriman for the occasion. Throughout the President’s address, he waited in the wings. When the President concluded, Mr. Harriman recited perfectly. He attacked the Thieu Government as unrepresentative; he criticized the President’s speech for various deficiencies; he twice issued a call to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to debate Vietnam once again; he stated his belief that the Vietcong or North Vietnamese did not really want military take-over of South Vietnam; and he told a little anecdote about a “very, very responsible” fellow he had met in the North Vietnamese delegation.

All in all, Mr. Harrison offered a broad range of gratuitous advice challenging and contradicting the policies outlined by the President of the United States. Where the President had issued a call for unity, Mr. Harriman was encouraging the country not to listen to him.

A word about Mr. Harriman. For 10 months he was America’s chief negotiator at the Paris peace talks — a period in which the United States swapped some of the greatest military concessions in the history of warfare for an enemy agreement on the shape of the bargaining table. Like Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner, Mr. Harriman seems to be under some heavy compulsion to justify his failures to anyone who will listen. And the networks have shown themselves willing to give him all the air time he desires.

Now every American has a right to disagree with the President of the United States and to express publicly that disagreement. But the President of the United States has a right to communicate directly with the people who elected him, and the people of this country have the right to make up their own minds and form their own opinions about a Presidential address without having a President’s words and thoughts characterized through the prejudices of hostile critics before they can even be digested.

When Winston Churchill rallied public opinion to stay the course against Hitler’s Germany, he didn’t have to contend with a gaggle of commentators raising doubts about whether he was reading public opinion right, or whether Britain had the stamina to see the war through. When President Kennedy rallied the nation in the Cuban missile crisis, his address to the people was not chewed over by a roundtable of critics who disparaged the course of action he’d asked America to follow.

The purpose of my remarks tonight is to focus your attention on this little group of men who not only enjoy a right of instant rebuttal to every Presidential address, but, more importantly, wield a free hand in selecting, presenting, and interpreting the great issues in our nation. First, let’s define that power.

At least 40 million Americans every night, it’s estimated, watch the network news. Seven million of them view A.B.C., the remainder being divided between N.B.C. and C.B.S. According to Harris polls and other studies, for millions of Americans the networks are the sole source of national and world news. In Will Roger’s observation, what you knew was what you read in the newspaper. Today for growing millions of Americans, it’s what they see and hear on their television sets.

Now how is this network news determined? A small group of men, numbering perhaps no more than a dozen anchormen, commentators, and executive producers, settle upon the 20 minutes or so of film and commentary that’s to reach the public. This selection is made from the 90 to 180 minutes that may be available. Their powers of choice are broad.

They decide what 40 to 50 million Americans will learn of the day’s events in the nation and in the world. We cannot measure this power and influence by the traditional democratic standards, for these men can create national issues overnight. They can make or break by their coverage and commentary a moratorium on the war. They can elevate men from obscurity to national prominence within a week. They can reward some politicians with national exposure and ignore others.

For millions of Americans the network reporter who covers a continuing issue — like the ABM or civil rights — becomes, in effect, the presiding judge in a national trial by jury.

It must be recognized that the networks have made important contributions to the national knowledge — through news, documentaries, and specials. They have often used their power constructively and creatively to awaken the public conscience to critical problems. The networks made hunger and black lung disease national issues overnight. The TV networks have done what no other medium could have done in terms of dramatizing the horrors of war. The networks have tackled our most difficult social problems with a directness and an immediacy that’s the gift of their medium. They focus the nation’s attention on its environmental abuses — on pollution in the Great Lakes and the threatened ecology of the Everglades. But it was also the networks that elevated Stokely Carmichael and George Lincoln Rockwell from obscurity to national prominence.

Nor is their power confined to the substantive. A raised eyebrow, an inflection of the voice, a caustic remark dropped in the middle of a broadcast can raise doubts in a million minds about the veracity of a public official or the wisdom of a Government policy. One Federal Communications Commissioner considers the powers of the networks equal to that of local, state, and Federal Governments all combined. Certainly it represents a concentration of power over American public opinion unknown in history.

Now what do Americans know of the men who wield this power? Of the men who produce and direct the network news, the nation knows practically nothing. Of the commentators, most Americans know little other than that they reflect an urbane and assured presence seemingly well-informed on every important matter. We do know that to a man these commentators and producers live and work in the geographical and intellectual confines of Washington, D.C., or New York City, the latter of which James Reston terms the most unrepresentative community in the entire United States.

Both communities bask in their own provincialism, their own parochialism.

We can deduce that these men read the same newspapers. They draw their political and social views from the same sources. Worse, they talk constantly to one another, thereby providing artificial reinforcement to their shared viewpoints. Do they allow their biases to influence the selection and presentation of the news? David Brinkley states objectivity is impossible to normal human behavior. Rather, he says, we should strive for fairness.

Another anchorman on a network news show contends, and I quote: “You can’t expunge all your private convictions just because you sit in a seat like this and a camera starts to stare at you. I think your program has to reflect what your basic feelings are. I’ll plead guilty to that.”

Less than a week before the 1968 election, this same commentator charged that President Nixon’s campaign commitments were no more durable than campaign balloons. He claimed that, were it not for the fear of hostile reaction, Richard Nixon would be giving into, and I quote him exactly, “his natural instinct to smash the enemy with a club or go after him with a meat axe.”

Had this slander been made by one political candidate about another, it would have been dismissed by most commentators as a partisan attack. But this attack emanated from the privileged sanctuary of a network studio and therefore had the apparent dignity of an objective statement. The American people would rightly not tolerate this concentration of power in Government. Is it not fair and relevant to question its concentration in the hands of a tiny, enclosed fraternity of privileged men elected by no one and enjoying a monopoly sanctioned and licensed by Government?

The views of the majority of this fraternity do not — and I repeat, not — represent the views of America. That is why such a great gulf existed between how the nation received the President’s address and how the networks reviewed it. Not only did the country receive the President’s speech more warmly than the networks, but so also did the Congress of the United States.

Yesterday, the President was notified that 300 individual Congressmen and 50 Senators of both parties had endorsed his efforts for peace. As with other American institutions, perhaps it is time that the networks were made more responsive to the views of the nation and more responsible to the people they serve.

Now I want to make myself perfectly clear. I’m not asking for Government censorship or any other kind of censorship. I am asking whether a form of censorship already exists when the news that 40 million Americans receive each night is determined by a handful of men responsible only to their corporate employers and is filtered through a handful of commentators who admit to their own set of biases.

The question I’m raising here tonight should have been raised by others long ago. They should have been raised by those Americans who have traditionally considered the preservation of freedom of speech and freedom of the press their special provinces of responsibility. They should have been raised by those Americans who share the view of the late Justice Learned Hand that right conclusions are more likely to be gathered out of a multitude of tongues than through any kind of authoritative selection. Advocates for the networks have claimed a First Amendment right to the same unlimited freedoms held by the great newspapers of America.

But the situations are not identical. Where The New York Times reaches 800,000 people, N.B.C. reaches 20 times that number on its evening news. [The average weekday circulation of the Times in October was 1,012,367; the average Sunday circulation was 1,523,558.] Nor can the tremendous impact of seeing television film and hearing commentary be compared with reading the printed page.

A decade ago, before the network news acquired such dominance over public opinion, Walter Lippman spoke to the issue. He said there’s an essential and radical difference between television and printing. The three or four competing television stations control virtually all that can be received over the air by ordinary television sets. But besides the mass circulation dailies, there are weeklies, monthlies, out-of-town newspapers and books. If a man doesn’t like his newspaper, he can read another from out of town or wait for a weekly news magazine. It’s not ideal, but it’s infinitely better than the situation in television.

There, if a man doesn’t like what the networks are showing, all he can do is turn them off and listen to a phonograph. «Networks,» he stated «which are few in number have a virtual monopoly of a whole media of communications.» The newspaper of mass circulation have no monopoly on the medium of print.

Now a virtual monopoly of a whole medium of communication is not something that democratic people should blindly ignore. And we are not going to cut off our television sets and listen to the phonograph just because the airways belong to the networks. They don’t. They belong to the people. As Justice Byron wrote in his landmark opinion six months ago, «It’s the right of the viewers and listeners, not the right of the broadcasters, which is paramount.»

Now it’s argued that this power presents no danger in the hands of those who have used it responsibly. But as to whether or not the networks have abused the power they enjoy, let us call as our first witness, former Vice President Humphrey and the city of Chicago. According to Theodore White, television’s intercutting of the film from the streets of Chicago with the «current proceedings on the floor of the convention created the most striking and false political picture of 1968 — the nomination of a man for the American Presidency by the brutality and violence of merciless police.»

If we are to believe a recent report of the House of Representative Commerce Committee, then television’s presentation of the violence in the streets worked an injustice on the reputation of the Chicago police. According to the committee findings, one network in particular presented, and I quote, “a one-sided picture which in large measure exonerates the demonstrators and protestors.” Film of provocations of police that was available never saw the light of day, while the film of a police response which the protestors provoked was shown to millions.

Another network showed virtually the same scene of violence from three separate angles without making clear it was the same scene. And, while the full report is reticent in drawing conclusions, it is not a document to inspire confidence in the fairness of the network news. Our knowledge of the impact of network news on the national mind is far from complete, but some early returns are available. Again, we have enough information to raise serious questions about its effect on a democratic society.

Several years ago Fred Friendly, one of the pioneers of network news, wrote that its missing ingredients were conviction, controversy, and a point of view. The networks have compensated with a vengeance.

And in the networks’ endless pursuit of controversy, we should ask: What is the end value — to enlighten or to profit? What is the end result — to inform or to confuse? How does the ongoing exploration for more action, more excitement, more drama serve our national search for internal peace and stability?

Gresham’s Law seems to be operating in the network news. Bad news drives out good news. The irrational is more controversial than the rational. Concurrence can no longer compete with dissent. One minute of Eldrige Cleaver is worth 10 minutes of Roy Wilkins. The labor crisis settled at the negotiating table is nothing compared to the confrontation that results in a strike — or better yet, violence along the picket lines. Normality has become the nemesis of the network news.

Now the upshot of all this controversy is that a narrow and distorted picture of America often emerges from the televised news. A single, dramatic piece of the mosaic becomes in the minds of millions the entire picture. The American who relies upon television for his news might conclude that the majority of American students are embittered radicals; that the majority of black Americans feel no regard for their country; that violence and lawlessness are the rule rather than the exception on the American campus.

We know that none of these conclusions is true.

Perhaps the place to start looking for a credibility gap is not in the offices of the Government in Washington but in the studios of the networks in New York! Television may have destroyed the old stereotypes, but has it not created new ones in their places? What has this «passionate» pursuit of controversy done to the politics of progress through logical compromise essential to the functioning of a democratic society?

The members of Congress or the Senate who follow their principles and philosophy quietly in a spirit of compromise are unknown to many Americans, while the loudest and most extreme dissenters on every issue are known to every man in the street. How many marches and demonstrations would we have if the marchers did not know that the ever-faithful TV cameras would be there to record their antics for the next news show?

We’ve heard demands that Senators and Congressmen and judges make known all their financial connections so that the public will know who and what influences their decisions and their votes. Strong arguments can be made for that view. But when a single commentator or producer, night after night, determines for millions of people how much of each side of a great issue they are going to see and hear, should he not first disclose his personal views on the issue as well?

In this search for excitement and controversy, has more than equal time gone to the minority of Americans who specialize in attacking the United States — its institutions and its citizens?

Tonight I’ve raised questions. I’ve made no attempt to suggest the answers. The answers must come from the media men. They are challenged to turn their critical powers on themselves, to direct their energy, their talent, and their conviction toward improving the quality and objectivity of news presentation. They are challenged to structure their own civic ethics to relate to the great responsibilities they hold.

And the people of America are challenged, too — challenged to press for responsible news presentation. The people can let the networks know that they want their news straight and objective. The people can register their complaints on bias through mail to the networks and phone calls to local stations. This is one case where the people must defend themselves, where the citizen, not the Government, must be the reformer; where the consumer can be the most effective crusader.

By way of conclusion, let me say that every elected leader in the United States depends on these men of the media. Whether what I’ve said to you tonight will be heard and seen at all by the nation is not my decision, it’s not your decision, it’s their decision. In tomorrow’s edition of the Des Moines Register, you’ll be able to read a news story detailing what I’ve said tonight. Editorial comment will be reserved for the editorial page, where it belongs. Should not the same wall of separation exist between news and comment on the nation’s networks?

Now, my friends, we’d never trust such power, as I’ve described, over public opinion in the hands of an elected Government. It’s time we questioned it in the hands of a small unelected elite. The great networks have dominated America’s airwaves for decades. The people are entitled a full accounting their stewardship.»


Fuente: American Rethoric

“Our Nixon”, la película de sus colaboradores

El proceso del caso Watergate no solo se llevó las grabaciones de la Casa Blanca por delante. También supuso la confiscación de horas y horas de grabaciones en vídeo doméstico de los hombres del presidente. Casi 37 años después de la dimisión de Nixon, salen a la luz en forma de película.

Es el proyecto de dos creadores de cine experimental, Penny Lane y Brian Frye, que están a punto de lanzar la película “Our Nixon”, hecha a partir de esas grabaciones de los miembros del equipo presidencial. Una película que, además, busca financiación.

A través de Kickstarter, cualquier usuario con 1.000 dólares en el bolsillo puede convertirse en productor de la película. Aunque los donativos van desde un dólar, con una postal de la película enviada a tu correo, a ese máximo, pasando por donativos de 25, 50 o 500 dólares con varios productos por donativo; desde chapas a copias de la película.

Es, sin duda, una curiosa iniciativa que nos acercará a otra visión más de las bambalinas del poder y de uno de los hombres menos amados de la historia de Estados Unidos. Tenéis más información en The New Yorker y en los Apuntes de Jorge Orlando Mera.

Homer Simpson será presidente de Estados Unidos

president-simpsonEn Estados Unidos la política se lleva en el ADN. Gusta, se vive desde la infancia. Si a ello le sumamos ese gusto por el espectáculo, llegamos al propio espectáculo de la democracia, el showbusiness de la política. Las campañas a lo grande, los grandes anuncios electorales, el dominio de la imagen, una política para todos los sentidos. Y casi, para todos los públicos.

Quizás por ello, el mundo del entretenimiento no es ajeno a la política. Desde una gran cantidad de títulos cinematográficos dedicados a los inquilinos de la Casa Blanca a la mítica serie ambientada en la zona de trabajo, el Ala Oeste de la Casa Blanca. Presidentes más o menos convincentes ante las cámaras, pero también de amarillo y en animación.

La familia más famosa de América, The Simpsons, cumple 20 años. Y como buena familia americana, también lleva la política en su ADN, aunque Homer sea el típico ciudadano alejado de ella. Esta serie de éxito, que cuenta con un humor inteligente y unos guiones muy trabajados, llega en buena forma a su aniversario y echando la vista atrás podemos darnos cuenta hasta que punto la política ha sido una parte central del show.

Tras miles de episodios, 12 presidentes han “actuado” para los Simpson. Desde el padre fundador, George Washington, a George W. Bush. Pero además, escenas, frases y discursos célebres de la política norteamericana se han colado casi sin avisar en muchas escenas de la familia amarilla: el bebé Maggie imitó a la niña del famoso spot de L.B. Johnson, Daisy. Y Bart jugó con el spot «Rats» de George W. Bush. O Homer proncundiado la palabra «nuclear» como Eisenhower.

Estas son las 10 mejores escenas presidenciales en The Simpsons:

George Washington
En el marco del bicentenario de la ciudad de Springfield (con fuertes connotaciones al propio aniversario de la nación celebrado años antes), Lisa descubre el terrible secreto de su fundador. En la recreación del mismo, el primer presidente americano forcejea con el hombre que da nombre a la ciudad. Y descubrimos porque a su retrato oficial le falta un pedazo.

George H.W. Bush
El primer presidente Bush se muda a Springfield tras dejar la presidencia. La razón es simple, es la ciudad de América con menos interés por la política. La pareja presidencial se instala delante de la casa de los Simpson e inicia una tensa relación vecinal con Homer. Con guiños a “Daniel el Travieso”, Bart juega también un gran papel.

John Fritzgerald Kennedy
El abuelo Simpson descubre durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial que JFK es, en realidad, un nazi. ¿Por qué? En un bote de guerra recita las famosas palabras “ich bin ein berliner” y Abe Simpson ordena la carga contra él.

Richard Nixon
Durante un capítulo de Halloween, Homer vende su alma al diablo por una rosquilla. La familia exige un juicio justo, formado por un terrorífico jurado de asesinos y seres diabólicos. Incluido Richard Nixon.

Thomas Jefferson
Airado por ser un segundo plato en los memorials de Washington, el presidente Jefferson se niega a dar consejo a Lisa cuando sufre una falta de fe en la democracia al descubrir un caso de soborno a un congresista.

Abraham Lincoln
Aunque aparece alguna escena, la más famosa es un gran homenaje. Cuando Lisa llega a presidenta de los Estados Unidos en un salto al futuro, Homer y Marge se instalan en la Casa Blanca. Homer se pasará todo el capítulo buscando el oro de Lincoln que acabará siendo un verso.

Jimmy Carter
Los Simpson ayudan al expresidente en su fundación construyendo casas para los más desfavorecidos.

Gerald Ford
En el mismo capítulo de la tensión vecinal con Bush, Ford acaba instalándose en la misma casa y congenia rápidamente con Homer: futbol y cervezas son la clave.

Ronald Reagan
El actor tuvo su momento en los Simpsons al ser invitado a la fiesta de cumpleaños del pérfido republicano local: el señor Burns.

Bill Clinton
Quizás uno de los presidentes que más veces ha visitado a los Simpson. Homer contestó la llamada que hizo a los vencedores de la Superbowl, intentó seducir a Marge en varias ocasiones y visitó a la pequeña Lisa.

Y queda reseñar la aparición de dos presidentes más (Franklin D. Roosevelt y Andrew Jackson) y la mención expresa a Obama: Homer intentó votar por él pero lo hizo por McCain.

Así que quizás por ello, los productores de los Simpsons no dejan de hacer gestiones para conseguir que Obama sea el primer presidente que presta su voz para un capítulo. A ver si lo consiguen. Y que lo podamos ver durante muchos años más con esta excéntrica familia. Y si no es posible, quién sabe, quizás Homer llegue a Presidente…

¿Cómo detectar si un político miente?

Si en alguna ocasión tu pareja te suelta un “Cariño, te juro que entre nosotros no ha pasado nada”, quizás sea el momento de pedirle a nuestros sentidos que presten más atención de la habitual a escudriñar toda la información no verbal que podamos para detectar si debemos empezar a desconfiar de la palabra dada. Quizás en eso, las relaciones de pareja y la política se parezcan más de lo que podamos creer.

En ambos casos se establece una relación de un enorme vínculo emocional que puede llevarnos a cambios muy importantes en nuestra percepción. Como ya comentábamos en este post, cuando una persona es simpatizante de un partido político, tiende a buscar el modo de justificar cualquier cosa, incluida la mentira. Algo muy parecido al síndrome de Estocolmo que podemos sentir cuando imaginamos que nos han sido infieles pero no queremos creerlo.

Estamos, como decía Sebastià Serrano, sin lugar a dudas, en uno de los grandes momentos de la comunicación: el arte de la mentira, el engaño, el disimulo… para algunos la política es el arte de estas malas prácticas. Quizás porque es tan antiguo como el ser humano, mentir sea pecado en varias religiones y la honestidad una virtud en tantas otras culturas. Y quizás por ello también, tal y como señala Eduard Punset, estamos más preparados para descubrir a un mentiroso que para encontrar la verdad.

De hecho, esa virtud que, según Punset, tenemos los humanos, no es una especie de radar o sexto sentido, sino la capacidad de detectar cambios en los estados emotivos en el discurso verbal de la persona que miente. Algo así como lo que hacen los detectores de mentiras tan explotados en televisión: observar los cambios fisiológicos que nuestras emociones generan.

Aunque la distancia física con nuestros políticos suela ser insalvable y solo la televisión o internet nos abran una ventana a estos líderes, muchas veces sus reacciones nos dan una información muy valiosa. Aunque por si alguna vez –especialmente en campaña electoral- algún político te da la mano y conversa contigo, te sugiero que prestes atención a estos cambios fisiológicos:

  • Cuando una persona miente, su tono de voz cambia. Algunos expertos señalan que la subimos una octava, más o menos.
  • El ritmo de respiración se acelera.
  • En algunas ocasiones, el color de la cara puede cambiar. Es muestra de embarazo por la posibilidad de ser descubierto, así como reacción al mayor ritmo de respiración.
  • La mirada suele delatarnos, ya que se suele dar un cambio en ella, en el movimiento de los ojos.
  • Disminuyen los gestos, ya que nuestro cerebro está más ocupado en dar consistencia al mensaje verbal y dedica menos atención a nuestra gesticulación.

Además de estas señales de alerta, la cara suele ser un reflejo muy claro de lo que estamos haciendo. Quizás por miedo, vergüenza o culpa, nuestro rostro suele cambiar y estas emociones pueden generar una contradicción aparente entre lo que decimos y lo que creemos.

Hablando del poder de esos gestos, para muchos el que hizo Richard Nixon durante las entrevistas con el periodista británico Frost en 1977 fue tan revelador como un proceso de impeachment. En el minuto 1:27 del siguiente vídeo se muestra el poder de un gesto:

Quizás, la próxima vez que escuchemos a un político afirmar que “yo sólo dije la verdad” debamos atender a estas pistas. O a las hemerotecas, que nunca fallan –quizás por ello, el régimen del Gran Hermano de Orwell tenía tanto interés en corregir las noticias para que nunca se mostraran los errores. Y así finalmente, no saber qué era cierto y que no. Por si las moscas, estos consejos.

Los políticos hacen teatro

Era difícil saber donde terminaba la política y empezaba la farándula

Los políticos, como los buenos actores, deben exponerse ante grandes audiencias. Los políticos, como los buenos actores, interpretan un papel que quiere ser el más convincente. Mientras que unos quieren el sentido homenaje de su público con un gran aplauso, los otros buscan el apoyo necesario para ganar unas elecciones y convertirse en gobernantes. Quizás por sus similitudes, un personaje de la obra que recuerda las entrevistas entre David Frost y Richard Nixon se exprese del modo que inicia este post.

Al fin y al cabo, los políticos que son sometidos al escrutinio y al foco de forma continua están representando un papel, su papel. Tienen todos los atributos de un personaje y se desenvuelven como en una obra de ficción. Aunque es real.

A veces, la realidad política llega a superar el talento de grandes autores como Shakespeare: la trama Gürtel ha llegado a mezclar elementos de Hamlet con Romeo y Julieta. Lo de Camps y Costa se asemeja mucho a la historia de los jóvenes Capuleto y Montesco, aunque sólo uno de ellos murió en Valencia. Aunque la reacción de las últimas horas en Génova sea más parecida a Fuenteovejuna. Para Cospedal, quizás quedaría lo de la “Vida es sueño” a cuenta de la supuesta persecución al partido que, tras el levantamiento del sumario Gürtel, se tornó más una ensoñación que una vía discursiva efectiva.

Si hace unas semanas afirmábamos que los políticos tienen mucho cuento –o deberían tenerlo-, ahora es el turno de la necesidad de los políticos de representar el papel de su vida. Ese que te llega casi sin avisar, cuándo un director te ofrece ser el protagonista en una obra en las tablas de un gran teatro de Madrid, en el TNC en Barcelona o en cualquier gran templo de Londres o Nueva York. A veces, tras papeles menores, alguien ve en ti las cualidades para ser el protagonista de una obra que tiene por objetivo conquistar el poder.

Uno de estos granes actores fue Richard Nixon. El único presidente dimisionario de los Estados Unidos entendió lo que suponía representar su papel hasta el final, pero como todos los grandes personajes, tenía un giro dramático final para no dejar a ningún espectador indiferente. Eso mismo recoge Àlex Rigola en su último trabajo en el Teatre Lliure de Barcelona.

Rigola adapta la obra de Peter Morgan que plasma la serie de entrevistas que el periodista británico David Frost realizó al presidente años después de dejar el Despacho Oval. Como novedad, Rigola presenta dos versiones de la misma obra: una con escenografía clásica y otra llamada “unplugged”, dónde una sobria puesta en escena se conjuga con el uso de elementos audiovisuales, que le dan a la obra un aire más televisivo. Y con subtítulos en castellano e inglés.

Precisamente la reflexión sobre el poder de la televisión sobre la política es una de las constantes en la obra que presenta a uno de las primeras víctimas de este medio: todos recordamos el debate electoral entre Nixon y JFK en 1960 que ganó el presidente asesinado por dar mejor en televisión. Aunque la televisión también nos dio lo que no pudo mostrar ningún tribunal, el gesto delator de la culpabilidad de Nixon, pese al perdón presidencial de Ford.

El Lliure muestra una gran obra. La soberbia actuación de los actores, especialmente de Lluís Marco que da vida a Nixon, la perfecta conjugación de la interpretación con los recursos audiovisuales, un montaje excelente y una historia apasionante son los elementos que hacen de “Nixon-Frost” uno de los éxitos de la temporada teatral barcelonesa.

Porque en el fondo queda esa idea que Richard Milhouse Nixon fue prisionero del propio papel que quiso o le tocó interpretar. El del malo… pero porque lo era. Quizás por ello, resultó tan creíble. Ya sabéis, teatro, lo tuyo es puro teatro…

El día que Camps no fue Nixon

¿Y los que no son ni del PP ni del PSOE, qué? Esta es la pregunta que me hago tras el alud de reacciones a la decisión del TSJV de archivar la causa por cohecho contra Francisco Camps. ¿Qué pasa con ellos?

Llego a este punto porque lo que podemos aprender de lo ocurrido durante estos meses son varias cosas, pero todas nos llevan a un mismo punto, la importancia de las percepciones. Nuestra manera de recibir, elaborar e interpretar las informaciones y los estímulos que recibimos para formarnos una opinión y, en última instancia, actuar.

Para los populares, se demuestra que la estrategia de aguantar hasta las últimas consecuencias, funciona. Que da igual de donde vengan los envites, lo importante es mantenerse, sembrar dudas y esperar que la justicia no vea indicio de delito en recibir unos caros regalos.

Para los socialistas, confiar en que por unos trajes se podría hacer caer a uno de los varones populares en, quizás, el territorio más abonado para la perpetuidad del poder es, cuanto menos, ingenuo. Ingenuo, como lo fue su estrategia durante los meses iniciales del escándalo: el centro de la cuestión no eran los trajes, sino esclarecer a cambio de qué se regalaron. Justo lo que el Tribunal no ha investigado. ¿Qué hubiese ocurrido si los socialistas hubieran hecho de esto el centro de la batalla desde el primer momento?

Tal y como expliqué en este post, los partidarios de una u otra opción política responden del mismo modo a las mismas situaciones. Da igual que nuestro líder se vea envuelto en un caso de corrupción, en una contradicción grave (como decir que te pagaste tus trajes y luego saber que no lo hiciste), etc. nuestro cerebro tendirá a reafirmar lo que creemos y a activar respuestas positivas a nuestro líder que nos reafirmen. También ha pasado con Chaves en el bando socialista, no lo olvidemos.

¿Y a los que están en el centro de la batalla política? ¿Los indecisos? Pues para ellos todo esto es un berenjenal que demuestra las debilidades de la Justicia en nuestro país. No pongo en tela de duda la decisión acordada por el Tribunal, las decisiones judiciales se acatan, pero para una persona que no quiera ver esto con tintes partidistas, saber que uno de los jueces encargados del caso es “más que un amigo” de Francisco Camps no sólo le sorprende, sino que le repugna.

Más le repugna al ciudadano de a pie el uso más que partidista de los medios. De las filtraciones interesadas al Grupo Prisa a la inexistencia de cobertura del caso en Canal 9 –excepto ayer, claro está-, a las editoriales de hoy en los medios de la derecha mediática. Más de lo mismo, si la decisión es buena para los que me gustan, la Justicia funciona. Si no, es un desastre. ¿Dónde está el papel de los medios? ¿Cómo pueden acusar, investigar, informar si sirven a intereses partidistas?

Ojalá esto nos llevará a una reflexión más profunda sobre el caso. Dudo que ocurra, pero ojalá estuviera en nuestra mano hacerlo. No se pueden recibir trajes y no investigar a cambio de qué. No se puede afirmar alegremente que es normal que los políticos reciban regalos. No se puede tolerar que los amigos juzguen a los amigos. Y esto debería ser defendido no sólo por los no partidistas, sino por las muchas personas en ambos partidos que entienden que todo esto mina el sistema democrático.

Hace unos días Obama almorzó con los CEO de varias grandes compañías. Al finalizar el ágape, el camarero pidió las tarjetas de crédito de los asistentes: cada uno se pagó lo suyo para que nunca se diga que el presidente adoptó una u otra decisión. Si en Estados Unidos por una comida hay dudas, ¿unos trajes, unos bolsos Louis Vuiton, los regalos a la consejera de Turismo… no son motivos suficientes para creer que había algo más?

En marzo de 1974 el Gran Jurado Federal de los Estados Unidos consideró que el presidente Nixon había sido copartícipe del caso de espionaje en la sede del partido Demócrata del hotel Watergate. Nixon no tuvo cargos formales. El 8 de agosto de ese mismo año, dimitía mediante este famoso discurso.

Francisco Camps ha sido imputado y su credibilidad debería estar minada. Algunos medios dicen que ya hablarán las urnas. Ni él, ni Costa ni muchos otros se han atrevido a hacer lo mismo que Nixon. Que luego no nos vengan con que la gente se separa de la política o que la gente no cree en la política. Cosas así no ayudan.