WALTER CRONKITE ON VIETNAM REVISITED
"To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past. To suggest that we are on the edge of defeat is to yield to unreasonable pessimism . To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic if unsatisfactory conclusion.
On the off chance that military and political analysts are right, in the next few months we must test the enemy's intentions, in case this is indeed his last big gasp before negotiations. But it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people, who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could.
This is Walter Cronkite, Good Night."
Walter Cronkite Commentary-CBS News Special "Report from Vietnam"-2/27/1968
"I have asked for this radio and television time tonight for the purpose of announcing that we today have concluded an agreement to end the war and bring peace with honor in Vietnam...."
President Richard M. Nixon Speech 1/23/1973
Fifty years ago today the three major television networks of the time (CBS, NBC, ABC) were the cutting edge media viewed by millions and having dominance of the audience and virtually no competition in their medium.
They focused on entertainment but their news programs were the leading ones, viewed by millions and influencing opinion.
I tuned into the CBS News program that night to see the war, which was fascinating me as a seven year old child.
The commentary was bit over my head viewing on the monochrome set in the bedroom. I went into the living room where my father watched it on the color television set.
He was all sold on the notion of getting out of Vietnam.
My anti-Communism was yet to be awakened and my understanding of the policies of the Uniparty politicians who policed the world as envisioned by the Democrat Progressive Woodrow Wilson was not there yet.
The Vietnam War was the new Korean War to begin with, a war to police and get the Communists to a negotiating table from the beginning. No victory like World War II was intended from its inception with deadly consequences for thousands.
Back to Cronkite's commentary. Many see it as left-wing propaganda, pro-Communist.
The liberal news stars of CBS News from this era like Dan Rather and Roger Mudd always decried their "conservative" management when confronted about their biases.
But what were the political views of CBS management. One interesting insight into that comes from the fact that Prescott Bush, Republican from Connecticut, who was the father and grandfather of future RINO Presidents of the United States served on the board of CBS around 1950.
In his biography of Walter Cronkite published in 2012, historian Douglas Brinkley noted that the CBS management were "Rockefeller Republicans". Brinkley also outed Cronkite's liberalism as well in the extensive work.
The commentary on the war produced 50 years ago would be a joint venture between Cronkite and
his "CBS Evening News" Executive Producer Ernest Leiser with the sanction of CBS News President Richard Salant as a sort of "Executive Editor" of the whole enterprise.
Salant was a right hand man of CBS boss William Paley brought in to replace Fred Friendly, the onetime Edward R. Murrow associate ("See It Now" etc.) who wanted coverage of anti-war Senate hearings on Vietnam to be aired instead of regular programming on CBS.
While Cronkite's commentary would be in line with liberal anti-war interests like those of Eugene McCarthy and Robert F. Kennedy within the Democrat Party who opposed President Lyndon Johnson it would also be in the interests of the Republican Party to defeat the Democrats in the fall election.
And the notions of Cronkite of an "honorable people" who would "negotiate" would be translated by the victor of the 1968 election, Richard Nixon, into the notion of "peace with honor" as Nixon put it.
Of course the media would pounce on Nixon and there would be a war between the two, but that's another story.
One could argue that CBS management got their way in this arrangement as well with the election of a "moderate Republican, Rockefeller Republican" in the end in 1968.
Video links are below.......