Not only is Cronkite not the heavy hitter that he once was, but neither is anyone else.
Former CBS anchor Walter Cronkite, whose 1968 conclusion that the Vietnam War was unwinnable keenly influenced public opinion then, said Sunday he’d say the same thing today about
“It’s my belief that we should get out now,” Cronkite said in a meeting with reporters.
Now 89, the television journalist once known as “the most trusted man in America” has been off the “CBS Evening News” for nearly a quarter-century. He’s still a CBS News employee, although he does little for them.
Cronkite said one of his proudest moments came at the end of a 1968 documentary he made following a visit to Vietnam during the Tet offensive. Urged by his boss to briefly set aside his objectivity to give his view of the situation, Cronkite said the war was unwinnable and that the U.S. should exit.
Then-President Lyndon Johnson reportedly told a White House aide after that, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.”
Isn’t it amazing how little influence the current crop of news personalities have, at least relative to their forebears? I’m not minimizing their ability to shape peoples’ opinions, which is still great, but I’m talking about the personal charisma that they possess. Today’s anchors wield great power through the choice of what’s covered and what’s not. Cronkite’s power was based upon the sheer force of his personality and reputation.
Nearly all of today’s new personalities are merely Hollywoodish characters, and most of America senses it.
Sow now let’s look at the (deservedly) legendary Cronkite and his opinion. He thinks we should pull out of Iraq immediately:
Iraqis should have been told that “our hearts are with you” and that the United States would do all it could to rebuild their country, he said.
“I think we could have been able to retire with honor,” he said. “In fact, I think we can retire with honor anyway.”
Never mind the lunacy of simply withdrawing and wishing the Iraqis the best. He doesn’t seem to recognize the differences between disengaging from Southeast Asia in 1970 and disengaging from Southwest Asia in 2006. Astounding.
But even more astounding is his reasoning: We need the money spent in Iraq to rebuild New Orleans. Really:
“We had an opportunity to say to the world and Iraqis after the hurricane disaster that Mother Nature has not treated us well and we find ourselves missing the amount of money it takes to help these poor people out of their homeless situation and rebuild some of our most important cities in the United States,” he said. “Therefore, we are going to have to bring our troops home.”
I’ve got to admit that that is the craziest justification for retreat that I’ve heard yet. (link via Wizbang)