And the investigative journalist, media critic, editor and educator Ben Bagdikian has died at the age of 96. Bagdikian wrote the 1983 book “The Media Monopoly,” about how the consolidation of media outlets by a small number of corporate owners threatened free expression and independent journalism. In 1971, as an editor at The Washington Post, Bagdikian received the Pentagon Papers from whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and transferred them to Alaska Senator Mike Gravel, who entered them into the Congressional Record. Speaking in 2007, Gravel told the story of how Bagdikian gave him the top-secret documents, which exposed the true history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
Mike Gravel: “And Bagdikian had this plan. We’re going to meet someplace out in the country, you know, Rock Creek Park in a dark—I say, 'Wait a second, Ben. I've got to tell you. I’ve got a little more experience in this than you have. What we’re going to do, here’s how we’re going to transfer the papers: You’re going to come at 12:00 at night under the marquee of the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. At 12:00 you park your car there. I will come up with my car. You’ll open your trunk. I’ll open my trunk. And I’ll pop the papers in, and I’ll race off. That’s the way we’ll do it, before God and country, and they won’t even know what happened.’”
Former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel speaking about Ben Bagdikian. To hear the whole story of how Gravel received the Pentagon Papers, go to democracynow.org. Ben Bagdikian died at home in Berkeley, California, on Friday at the age of 96.