Jul
24
2009

Walter Cronkite's Other War

The Media Bloodhound blog's Brad Jacobson has a post (7/22/09) adding some depth to the Walter Cronkite as belated-Vietnam-War-critic story: Following his death last week, various network news tributes replayed footage of Cronkite's influential '68 on-air editorial. Yet scrubbed from the memorializing were similar instances of Cronkite's journalistic candor regarding Iraq, such as his 2006 call for withdrawal from a war he went on to describe as "illegal from the start," initiated on "false pretenses" and a "terrible disaster" serving "no purpose" that has "probably made us less safe." But the most revealing omission from these tributes–especially in context to […]

Jul
23
2009

Venerating — but Not Emulating — Journos of Yore

In a piece about current media "Celebrating Cronkite While Ignoring What He Did" by (belatedly) condemning the U.S. war on Vietnam, Salon blogger Glenn Greenwald (7/18/09, ad-viewing required) addresses another recently passed war reporter as well: When Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Halberstam died, media stars everywhere commemorated his death as though he were one of them–as though they do what he did–even though he had nothing but bottomless, intense disdain for everything they do. As he put it in a 2005 speech to students at the Columbia School of Journalism: "The better you do your job, often going against conventional […]

Jul
20
2009

On Cronkite as (Belatedly) 'Courageous Truth-Teller'

Norman Solomon has noticed (Common Dreams, 7/20/09) that "media eulogies for Walter Cronkite–including from progressive commentators–rarely talk about his coverage of the Vietnam War before 1968." An "obit omit" Solomon deems "essential to the myth of Cronkite as a courageous truth-teller": But facts are facts, and history is history–including what Cronkite actually did as TV's most influential journalist during the first years of the Vietnam War. Despite all the posthumous praise for Cronkite's February 1968 telecast that dubbed the war "a stalemate," the facts of history show that the broadcast came only after Cronkite's protracted support for the war. In […]