Gawker’s Jaw-Dropping Robert Bork Obituary Has People Up In Arms

Robert Bork circa 1973

[credit provider=”AP & Gawker”]

Yesterday’s news of Robert Bork’s death left most Americans with a vague recollection of the Supreme Court nomination he’d somehow lost out on, if anything at all.But Bork’s death and legacy meant far more to Gawker editor John Cook, whose post on Bork, hours after the man’s death, left many stunned and appalled. 

Cook’s piece leads with: “Robert Bork was a terrible human being and no one should grieve his passing,” then zips into an introduction so peppered with indignation and adjectives I expected a follow up paragraph to acknowledge the fact.

Thankfully I hadn’t held my breath, because Cook had only gotten started and brings readers straight back to the dark and stormy year of 1973, when Bork made history.

President Richard Nixon had finally accepted the fact that his illegal campaigning and wiretapping were to be publicly exposed. In response, he ordered the Attorney General to pink slip U.S. special prosecutors in charge of the case. The acting Attorney General refused and resigned; so did his successor; then came Bork.

From Gawker:

It was Bork who, as solicitor general of the United States in 1973, stepped up to the plate and carried out an order from Nixon that two of his superiors found too abjectly corrupt to obey. In what became known as the Saturday Night Massacre, Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox and his entire staff. The order came shortly after Cox had, over the objections of the president, subpoenaed a cache of presidential tape recordings …

Richardson had a spine and character, so he refused, choosing to resign instead of help a liar and a cheat mop up his crimes. The order then fell to Richardson’s deputy, William Ruckelshaus, who likewise summoned the courage to step down rather than fire Cox. As solicitor general, Bork was third in line at the Justice Department, so the order fell to him. Sniveling bootlicker that he is, he carried it out.

Bork even sealed federal offices using the FBI so that Nixon could stroll in and collect the criminal evidence against him. Seems Bork would have done most anything for the Attorney General spot and possibly considered it a highlight of his career.

Or maybe not, since he was promptly investigated, found to have acted illegally and forced out of office eight weeks later. 

That’s all public information, but the string of Bork obituaries from other media outlets touch on those facts hardly at all. 

Commenters were all over Cook’s post at Gawker:

JohnDonne wrote: John Cook, I can almost hear the rot and hate flowing through your veins. A ghoul, who is more suited shooting Jews in the head in Communist Russia. I know, if you could, you would take a knife and stab Mr. Bork’s corpse, bathing in his blood. You are a vile, disgusting coward, without the balls to write this while Bork was alive. Hide behind your talisman and puff out your chest, little man.

And tipareth666 wrote: Had you written a biographical article and merely taken the position that his actions under Nixon outweighed any positives you would have had more impact. Unfortunately your tone and language make this a crap piece regardless of how justifiable your stance is. And the reason people rankle at speaking so of the dead regardless of accuracy is that it is cowardly.

Others were less harsh, but regardless of where opinions fall on the piece it was refreshing to see honesty that wasn’t hedged in journalistic restraint and editorial blowback. Maybe a generation of politicians would be more concerned of their legacy if obituaries like this became the norm.

With a nod to Gawker and Cook,  I suggest checking out the post yourself — if only for the final sentence —>

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