Skip to comments.HISTORY QUESTION: Did Walter Cronkite and CBS offer assistance to the Vietnam anti-war movement?
Posted on 05/16/2010 7:41:13 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
Many conservatives still have not forgiven Walter Cronkite for editorializing in early 1969 that the Vietnam War would end in a “bloody stalemate,” encouraging the S to abandon the fight at a time when the Communists appeared ready to throw in the towel. If a recently-released FBI file is true, Cronkite may have gone farther than editorializing. According to an FBI informant, Cronkite offered advice and CBS resources to assist the anti-war activists, including a helicopter to fly Edmund Muskie to a protest that CBS would then cover:
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.
The file includes the following testimony, while redacting the name of the activist leader who related the offer to the group, including the informant:
“[Redacted] told group he had been to CBS Channel Six in Orlando prior to meeting to speak to newsmen about Vietnam moratorium activities. [Redacted] related that while at TV station, Walter Cronkite, nationally known radio and television commentator, spoke to him by telephone for approximately forty five minutes and that Cronkite reportedly told [redacted] that CBS would have thirty six hours of coverage on Vietnam moratorium with ‘open mike’ to give demonstrators a chance to be heard. Cronkite noted, according to [redacted], that Senator Edmund Muskie would be in Orlando, Fla., November 13 instant for Democratic fund raising dinner. According to [redacted], Cronkite suggested that [redacted] attempt to Muskie to come [sic] to Cape Kennedy to speak at Kelly Park rally to be held November thirteen instant. Cronkite allegedly told [redacted] that CBS would rent helicopter to take Muskie to and from site of rally at Kelly Park.”
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:
Chip Cronkite, Walter Cronkite’s son, told Yahoo! News it’s highly unlikely that his father would ever have made such an offer. “It doesn’t have the ring of a reliable story to me,” he said. “Particularly at a time when FBI informants often told the FBI what they wanted to hear. I think it would be outside of what we know about Walter Cronkite and CBS News’ practices.”
It seems a little fantastic to me as well. Cronkite may have sympathized with the movement, and may have offered advice — but unless he was working a story, spending 45 minutes talking to a rally organizer doesn’t sound realistic. Neither does an offer to foot the bill for a helicopter to fly Muskie to the rally, a move that the FBI would have exposed as soon as they were aware of it, and one which CBS bosses would almost certainly have refused. Unless Cronkite was prepared to pay for it out of his own pocket (or was blowing some smoke himself), it’s hard to believe.
That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, of course, and it would be interesting to see how deeply Cronkite involved himself in anti-war protests, if at all. This is one piece of evidence, but it’s at best third-degree hearsay. Perhaps we will see more direct evidence later, but at the moment, this is more of a curio than anything else.
Regardless of whether this is true or not, what IS true is that Crackpot Cronkite’s skewed reporting of the Vietnam War contributed to our loss.
Of course. By way of his on-air commentary.
disinformation usually helps the enemy more than it helps us!
True. And.. The ONLY difference between Cronkite and EVERY member of the lame stream media (CBS, NBC & CBS) is that Cronkite hid his motivations and that of his networks’.
Is anyone really surprised?
Sounds to me like the whole purpose of the flight would have been to 'work a story'.
Yes...Cronkite was a commie lover who made up news to fit his agenda. He was there. He knew the numbers of viet cong and NVA that were killed. He knew the Tet Offensive was a complete failure for the North, yet he reported the opposite. He has the blood of many 1000’s of Soldiers, Marines, Navy, and Air Force personel on his hands as he rots in hell.
Uh yea, he did.
Remembering watching the news when I was a kid, of course they aided the protesters — and ultimately the Vietnamese Communists.
Plus CBS has a history of fabricating events and then covering them on national TV. I recall one during the 60’s was a Civil Rights demonstration. - produced and broadcast as genuine. Also, there was another in Vietnam. There were probably others as well. They are the dirty hands people.
Nope... as a matter of fact, I fully EXPECT democrats and the MSM to assist, defend, and promote communism (or any form of Marxism) at every opportunity they have.
And, the movie actress Jane Fonda should have been tried for treason.
Do wild bears s**t in the woods?
Of course it’s true. Cronkite’s mischaracterization of the debacle - for the NORTH - of the Tet Offensive was worth many divisions of troops. Let alone his statement that, “The war is over.”
Commie symp or useless idiot? Doesn’t matter to me. If p###ing on his grave wasn’t illegal, it would be on my bucket list...
Yes. Yes and yes!
Are you freaking KIDDING?! When “Uncle Walter” said after the Tet Offensive in 1968 in his “Commentary” that it just didn’t seem like this war was “worth it,” that MADE the Anti-war movement, and forced LBJ to drop his bid for reelection (thank God for ONE small favor).
In short, the Leftist Media was COMPLICIT with Liberal Democrats in our defeat and abandonment of South Vietnam to the Communists — and the subsequent loss of Cambodia and Laos to the Communists as well.
Dig him up and hang him for treason.
Par for the course.
He did more than talk about a “stalemate” .. he said that AMERICA HAD LOST THE TET OFFENSIVE. This statement totally changed the outlook of the war.
What Cronkite did was treason! We lost an additional 58,000 of our best and brightest because of his LIBERAL arrogance.
I hope right now he is in stocks having my step dad and the other millions of people that were by the wars loss kicking him, spitting on him smacking him in the old ass commie mouth... I hate this man and If it was legal I would Shi- on his grave... OK I am getting angry. “HAPPY PLACE,HAPPY PLACE” ok I am good.
Ok I cant write tonight.. I meant to say I hope all the people killed maimed and affected by the communist.. Are having a field day with him in Purgatory. BASTARD!
Well if CHIP Cronkite says it’s not true, gosh, we better believe him.
"[Redacted] told group he had been to CBS Channel Six in Orlando prior to meeting to speak to newsmen about Vietnam moratorium activities. [Redacted] related that while at TV station, Walter Cronkite, nationally known radio and television commentator, spoke to him by telephone for approximately forty five minutes and that Cronkite reportedly told [redacted] that CBS would have thirty six hours of coverage on Vietnam moratorium with 'open mike' to give demonstrators a chance to be heard."
"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."
FBI files discuss Cronkite aiding Vietnam protesters:
Now here's something I discovered about 6 years ago
Re: "Vietnam Moratorium":
Vietnam Moratorium Committee (VMC)
The VMC held huge rallies throughout the country from 1969 to 1972 where thousands of demonstrators waved the flags of America's Viet Cong Communist enemies and carried posters of North Vietnamese Communist dictator Ho Chi Minh.
"Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh! The Viet Cong are going to win!" was the repeated chant of the VMC demonstrators.
(John Kerry's sister Peggy was deeply involved as a volunteer for the VMC [Vietnam Moratorium Committee]).
At a VMC rally on November 15, 1969 at the Justice Department in Washington, protesters broke windows, threw paint on the building, lowered the U.S. flag and attempted unsuccessfully to replace it with a Viet Cong flag.
After police dispersed the violent demonstrators with tear gas, bands of the protesters roamed the city causing damage to numerous businesses. As a result of the VMC's "peaceful" demonstration, 606 people were injured, including 26 police officers. Later VMC rallies in 1970, 1971 and 1972 were equally violent.
"In 1970 and 1971, [John] Kerry's VVAW [Vietnam Veterans Against the War] co-sponsored rallies with the Vietnam Moratorium Committee, Students for a Democratic Society, the Young Socialist Alliance, the Student Mobilization Committee, the New Mobilization Committee and the Black Panther Party".
And from WinterSoldier.com:
June, 1970 -- Kerry joins Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), a national veterans group that is part of the Peoples Coalition for Peace and Justice. The PCPJ is a broad coalition of local and national organizations, including the Communist Party, USA, "committed to conducting demonstrations aimed at ending the war in Indochina, and poverty, racism and injustice at home." The VVAW, CCI and PCPJ all have headquarters at 156 Fifth Avenue in New York City. VVAW Executive Secretary Al Hubbard, a former Black Panther, is also on the coordinating committee of the PCPJ. Hubbard soon appoints Kerry to the VVAW's Executive Committee, bypassing the normal election process.
Fact: The Black Panthers were revolutionary communists...
From the Maoist Internationist Movement:
[1960s/original] Black Panther Party [BPP] Archives
From the article: REVOLUTIONARY HEROS
"On May 1st, May Day , the day of the gigantic Free Huey rally, two of Alioto's top executioners vamped on the brothers from the Brown Community who were attending to their own affairs. These brothers, who are endowed with the revolutionary spirit of the Black Panther Party defended themselves from the racist pig gestapo [i.e., the police].
Pig Joseph Brodnik received his just reward with a big hole in the chest. Pig Paul McGoran got his in the mouth which was not quite enough to off him.
The revolutionary brothers escaped the huge swarm of pigs with dogs, mace, tanks and helicopters, proving once again that "the spirit of the people is greater than the man's technology."
To these brothers the revolutionary people of racist America want to say, by your revolutionary deed you are heroes, and that you are always welcome to our camp."
Source: Maoist Internationist Movement
Article: REVOLUTIONARY HEROS (May 11, 1969):
From 1972: "I am not a do-gooder, I am a revolutionary. A revolutionary woman."
November 22, 1970 -- During a fund-raising tour for GI deserters, Vietnam Veterans Against the War and the Black Panthers, Jane Fonda is quoted in the Detroit Free Press as telling a University of Michigan audience:
"I would think that if you understood what communism was, you would hope, you would pray on your knees that we would someday become communist," and "The peace proposal of the Viet Cong is the only honorable, just, possible way to achieve peace in Vietnam."
Note John Kerry's name at top right of The New Soldier: