Saturday, May 22, 2010

Did Cronkite And CBS Offer to Assist The Anti Vietnam War Movement

I am leaning toward no unless better evidence comes to light. If true though it would be huge.

" Legendary CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite allegedly collaborated with anti-Vietnam War activists in the 1960s, going so far as to offer advice on how to raise the public profile of protests and even pledgingCBS News resources to help pull off events, according to FBI documents obtained by Yahoo! News.

The documents, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, say that in November 1969, Cronkite encouraged students atRollins College in Winter Park, Fla., to invite Maine Sen. Edmund Muskie to address a protest they were planning near Cape Kennedy (now known as Cape Canaveral). Cronkite told the group’s leader that Muskie would be nearby for a fundraiser on the day of the protest, and said that “CBS would rent [a] helicopter to take Muskie to and from site of rally,” according to the documents.

The claims are contained in an FBI memo recounting a confidential informant’s report on a November 1969 meeting of a Rollins College protest group called Youth for New America. The group was planning rallies near Cape Kennedy on Nov. 13 and 14 — the latter being day of the Apollo 12 launch from Cape Kennedy, which President Nixon would be attending — as part of a nationwide Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam. That protest action culminated in a huge march on Washington on Nov. 15.

"Explosive — if true, which requires a couple of levels of faith. First, the FBI itself may or may not have been telling the truth. This seems like a story that would have been custom-made for the Nixon administration’s paranoia, and more importantly, J. Edgar Hoover’s own dislike of the media. Bear in mind that at this time, the FBI had serious issues of politicization, especially in regard to political dissent and organized opposition to government policies. One cannot dismiss the FBI reports out of hand, but one must also remember the full context of the FBI’s activities at the time.

Second, even if the FBI reliably transmitted what the informant said, the informant may have been creating a tall tale in order to keep the FBI interested. And even if the FBI and the informant were trustworthy, the group leader may have been blowing smoke to support his own power within the group. After all, having a 45-minute conversation with the most trusted name in television news at the time would have been a very impressive feat.

In fact, the entire tale seems so fantastic that Cronkite’s son dismisses it out of hand

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