The Goldwater Takedown

Media coverage of the 1964 presidential campaign was a precursor to today’s partisan journalism.

At the height of the 1964 race between Arizona’s junior senator, Barry Goldwater, and President Lyndon Johnson, the cover headline of Fact magazine’s September–October issue practically screamed: 1,189 PSYCHIATRISTS SAY GOLDWATER IS PSYCHOLOGICALLY UNFIT TO BE PRESIDENT! Inside, every page was given over to the feature, titled “The Unconscious of a Conservative: A Special Issue on the Mind of Barry Goldwater.”

Forgotten today, Fact even then was far from a major player on the journalistic scene. It had launched earlier that year and would survive just until 1967. Still, it enjoyed a status among the day’s progressive bien pensants far beyond what its limited circulation might suggest. Edited by the profession’s reigning provocateur, Ralph Ginzburg, its early issues had generated buzz with ahead-of-the-curve investigations of the tobacco and soft-drink industries, as well as American policy in Vietnam.

  • Drunk by Noon ✓

    Ruth Adams of New York replied that she saw in the GOP candidate “a strong identification with the authoritarianism of Hitler, if not identification with Hitler himself,” and other responding psychiatrists echoed that theme.
    “I believe Goldwater has the same pathological make-up as Hitler, Castro, Stalin and other known schizophrenic leaders,” wrote Chester M. Johnson, Jr., of Long Beach, while Philadelphia’s Paul Fink observed that, like the Führer, the Republican nominee “appeals to the unconscious sadism and hostility in the average human being.”
    G. Templeton, of Glen Cove, New York, warned that “if Goldwater wins the Presidency, both you and I will be among the first into the concentration camps.”

    The eternal Hitler.

  • Gary

    he was pretty smart because his car Plates were AUH2o
    Gold= AU Water is H2o

  • mauser 98

    “According to the acclaimed Sovietologist Robert van Voren,
    the political abuse of psychiatry in the USSR “originated from the
    concept that persons who opposed the Soviet regime were mentally ill
    because there was no other logical explanation why one would oppose the
    best sociopolitical system in the world.”…

  • Maggat

    I loved the name he used on many posters etc during the campaign, AuH2O

  • Nermal

    At least back the Arizona elected real Republicans

  • LKurc

    Goldwater was a brilliant man but unfortunately for him, in those days there was no conservative media to defend him and counter the lies of the left. He didn’t have the personal appeal of Ronald Regan who was able to beat his enemies in the mass media.