When you see a headline on a story saying there is evidence that a former president is guilty of treason, you expect to see some mention of it in, say, the first couple of paragraphs of the story. But what appears under the lurid headline (see image below), are 18 full paragraphs that have nothing to do with Richard Nixon or any alleged treason.

Picture 2

Instead, what is discussed is LBJ’s consideration of trying to make a dramatic entrance to the 1968 convention, save the day after days of rioting in Chicago, and reclaim the nomination he eschewed the previous March.

Not until the 19th paragraph is Nixon mentioned:

They also shed light on a scandal that, if it had been known at the time, would have sunk the candidacy of Republican presidential nominee, Richard Nixon.

By the time of the election in November 1968, LBJ had evidence Nixon had sabotaged the Vietnam war peace talks – or, as he put it, that Nixon was guilty of treason and had “blood on his hands”.

If this reporter and his editors thought they had actual evidence of treason on the part of a president, especially a Republican, it wouldn’t be buried in a story in a paragraph that begins “they also.” If your headline makes an explosive charge, “also” in the 19th paragraph is not the way it should be introduced into the story.

Note, too, that there is no taped evidence of Nixon saying anything. It is only Johnson and his cronies who make the charge, saying they have evidence of Nixon’s interference. The headline, however, by mentioning “tapes” so prominently, leads the reader to believe that Nixon has been recorded admitting to the alleged treason. But he did no such thing.

A bunch of LBJ cronies claiming that Nixon committed treason during the 1968 campaign, with no evidence but their speculation and supposed remembrances, should be taken with a huge grain of salt.