Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Passing of Walter Cronkite, 1916-2009

"The question of whether Oswald had any relationship with the FBI or the CIA is not frivolous. The agencies, of course, are silent. Although the Warren Commission had full power to conduct its own independent investigation, it permitted the FBI and the CIA to investigate themselves—and so cast a permanent shadow on the answers."
Walter Cronkite, 1967

Back when the anchorman was king, Walter Cronkite ruled over them all. With his reassuring baritone voice he gave us the news of the day and the public trusted him. Forever a part of the Kennedy assassination will be his emotional response to reporting the death of John Kennedy, his sorrow mirroring that of the nation.

In many ways his passing is a metaphor for the mainstream press in out country. With the rise of the Internet, the age the citizen journalist is upon us. Viewers of the flagship news programs with the need of an anchorman are quickly becoming irrelevant as people get their news from so many other sources.

Cronkite did as little investigating of the Warren Commission as most of the mainstream press did. But to his credit, did make an important point during a 1960’s CBS news special when he reported the simple fact that the FBI and the CIA were allowed to investigate themselves in regards to Lee Oswald being one of their agents. They of course exonerated themselves as well. That is as close as he would ever come to being a critic of the official government theory.

One surprising fact I learned recently about Walter Cronkite was an oral history interview Billy Graham once gave to the LBJ library. (Read it HERE) He mentioned while staying at Camp David to minister to Johnson he saw Walter Cronkite there. The leading light of the Fourth Estate was paling around with the head of government. In fact, the very man who formed the Warren Commission of which Cronkite had so little criticism of. Conflict of interest? But these big media types see nothing wrong with that, apparently thinking they can separate business from pleasure. You think in all of the accolades being given in the mainstream press to America’s Anchorman this will ever be mentioned? Of course not. And if it is, the practice will be defended as they all do it.

Conversely, Cronkite did shred the Government and the Pentagon for their useless war in Vietnam. As he stated on his CBS broadcast of February 27, 1968:

"For it seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate…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."

He basically said the Emperor had no clothes. Few in journalism will do that today, as most are shills for those in power. Too bad he didn’t turn that search for the truth towards the killers of John Kennedy.

Walter Cronkite was a Big Wheel that was kind to the little wheels. He’ll always have my respect for that.