18 Jul

Cronkite Dies & Liberal Love-In Commences

                                       

With the love-fest going on for Cronkite I felt the need to interject some reality into the situation. A few reasons why the man shouldn’t be remembered as fondly as some suggest.

One reason….His part in ensuring that Vietnam would end badly for the United States by uttering these kind of words, and doing it on a nightly basis:

Who won and who lost in the great Tet offensive against the cities? I’m not sure. The Vietcong did not win by a knockout, but neither did we. The referees of history may make it a draw.

It seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate.

But it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could.

He uttered those opinions of his after visiting Vietnam and the Tet Offensive. Words that were completely untrue.

Another reason….He was one of the first reporters to give his opinion while reading the news, and in so doing started a gradual erosion of our MSM to what it is today. A complete embarrassment on so many levels.

Lee Cary, a Vietnam Vet:

Today, it’s hard to fully appreciate the stature and status Cronkite held in 1968.  He was the successor in fame to the demigod persona that had been Edward R. Murrow.  When President Johnson heard of Cronkite’s comments, he was quoted as saying, “That’s it.  If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost middle America.”

In January 2006, Cronkite said his statement on Vietnam was his proudest moment.  When asked then if he would give the same advice on Iraq, Cronkite didn’t hesitate to say “Yes.”

At the time, Cronkite’s pronouncement added credibility and importance to all the network anchors.  His was a stunning exercise of media power.  But, in the perspective of history, the outcome of his pronouncement is not universally recognized as having been positive.  He overtly and figuratively stepped out from behind the microphone to add his personal commentary to the news.  We had not seen this before.  By doing so, Cronkite issued an implicit license to his journalistic colleagues to interject personal opinions into their factual reporting of the news.  The difference is that Cronkite clearly labeled it as personal opinion, while many MSM news personalities today weave their opinions into reporting. His sentiment registered with many, perhaps most, of his viewers that night.  He changed opinions by offering his own.  But in hindsight, his analysis was wrong – dead wrong for some.

Generally, the “referees of history” have not rendered the TET offensive a military draw.  The VC/NVA suffered unexpectedly high casualties, from which it took years to recover.  In particular, the ranks of the Viet Cong were decimated.  General No Nguyen Giap, the Supreme Commander of the Viet Minh (NVA) forces said, in a 1989 interview with CBS’s Morley Safer,

“We paid a high price, but so did you…not only in lives and material…After Tet the Americans had to back down and come to the negotiating table, because the war was not only moving into…dozens of cities and towns in South Vietnam, but also to the living rooms of Americans back home for some time. The most important result of the Tet offensive was it made you de-escalate the bombing, and it brought you to the negotiation table.  It was, therefore, a victory…The war was fought on many fronts.  At that time the most important one was American public opinion.” (The Vietnam War: An Encyclopedia of Quotations, Howard Langer, 2005)

The Vietnam War did not end in a stalemate, particularly for those S. Vietnamese who, at risk and often loss of life, loyally supported the U.S. Armed Forces (not all did, but very many did).  We left them in a lurch, cut off their military aid, and watched while they suffered the consequences when the North Vietnamese blatantly ignored the negotiated resolution (they never intended to honor) that Cronkite advocated.

Many of those of us who served in Vietnam do not look upon its ending as reflecting “honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy.”  A compelling case can be made that we should never have sent troops to Vietnam in the first place.  But we did. And then, after nearly 60,000 U.S. deaths and countless Vietnamese casualties, we bugged out. There’s no way to put an honorable face on that unavoidable truth.

Once upon a time, I lived for awhile not far from a village called Ba Chuc in An Giang Province in the Mekong Delta.  After the U.S. evacuated Vietnam, there was nothing to stop old animosities between the Cambodians and Vietnamese from turning hot.  Here’s a description of what happened in Ba Chuc.

“On April 30, 1977, Pol Pot’s troops launched a surprise attack on 13 villages in eight Vietnamese border provinces. Ba Chuc was the hardest hit. The massacre was at its fiercest during the 12 days of occupation, April 18-30, 1978, during which the intruders killed 3,157 villagers. The survivors fled and took refuge in the pagodas of Tam Buu and Phi Lai or in caves on Mount Tuong, but they were soon discovered. The raiders shot them, slit their throats or beat them to death with sticks. Babies were flung into the air and pierced with bayonets. Women were raped and left to die with stakes planted in their genitals.”

There were two survivors to the massacre.

Cronkite didn’t cover it on the CBS evening news.

As judged by subsequent events, Cronkite was wrong.  And over time, his words became a watershed marking the place where the gradual erosion of the MSM’s credibility began.

So while our liberal media gushes over this man, I will not.

I appreciate his support of our space program, being a huge supporter myself (when we were actually accomplishing something other then just circling the earth), but thats about it to me. He helped bring about the cowardly retreat from Vietnam by our elected leaders. He helped to bring about the MSM erosion. In short, he’s nothing short of a overblown, over-hyped, celebrity who could read the news.

And for all of those reasons I thought little about the fact that he died at 92. Many of our best and brightest died at 20 in Vietnam and in no small part because of Cronkite, they ended up making the ultimate sacrifice for nothing.

About Curt

Curt served in the Marine Corps for four years and has been a law enforcement officer in Los Angeles for the last 20 years.
This entry was posted in Celebrity Idiots, Liberal Idiots, Media, Military, MSM Bias. Bookmark the permalink. Saturday, July 18th, 2009 at 9:19 am
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37 Responses to Cronkite Dies & Liberal Love-In Commences

  1. George Lee says: 1

    Sadly we’ve slid straight from there down into the cesspool of British tabloid “journalism” and blatant propaganda – the sort that would make Goebbels misty.

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  2. jainphx says: 2

    Walter Cronkite the man that turned the VICTORY that was Tet into a war ending loss, pardon me if I have no sympathy.

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  4. Wordsmith says: 3

    So while our liberal media gushes over this man, I will not.

    Nor I. Especially given his “no regrets”. In 41 years since the Tet Offensive, did he learn no other perspective? Was his conscience incapable of allowing him to see and admit to himself that he did historic harm? Willfully ignored the consequences of our abandonment of South Vietnamese allies?

    In January 2006, Cronkite said his statement on Vietnam was his proudest moment. When asked then if he would give the same advice on Iraq, Cronkite didn’t hesitate to say “Yes.”

    ~~~

    There were two survivors to the massacre.

    Cronkite didn’t cover it on the CBS evening news.

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  5. John ryan says: 4

    It was a Republican president that was in charge when we left Vietnam. It was a Democratic president that sent the most troops over. The liberals were not in charge when that war ended.

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  6. Wordsmith says: 5

    The liberals were not in charge when that war ended.

    @ John Ryan, the one-comment wonder (do you ever return to a post to defend your comments?), a cut-and-paste response:

    Richard Nixon committed himself when he became president to the idea of “Vietnamization”, which was to train more and more South Vietnamese troops to become self-sufficient; and consequently, part of the plan was the steady troop withdrawal and intensified bombing. In ‘72, when Nixon was running for re-election, and after Operation Linebacker II, he finally got the North Vietnamese onboard with the Paris Peace Accords. Part of the package included two secret agreements: one was billions of dollars in reparations, after the war. But the North did not get it, because they had broken their agreement by invading the South. The 2nd secret agreement was with the South Vietnamese. He gave them a solemn pledge, in writing, that if the North broke agreements, and invaded the South, America would get back in, and provide whatever aid the South needed; even troop support. Unfortunately for the South Vietnamese, Nixon was driven from office by the Watergate scandal. When the North Vietnamese invaded the South, an unelected President in the form of Gerald Ford pleaded with Congress to enforce our agreements and honor our pledge to our South Vietnamese allies. In 1975, more than one million innocent Vietnamese fled in terror from a massive invasion by the North. Congress and the anti-war movement did nothing to alleviate the suffering.

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  7. George says: 6

    You nailed it. The is the first site I’ve seen that is describing Cronkite’s major flaw: his leftist ideology which he pedaled on national TV back when there were few news outlets to choose from. This ideology pressed us to lose the Vietnam war and is the same ideology that wanted us to lose in Iraq.

    Mr. Cronkite did some fine work — his coverage of the space missions was good stuff but, in too many ways, he was a disservice to our country. I don’t care to see or hear any liberal gushing over this man.

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  8. Ed Rasimus says: 7

    You nail it. Cronkite was a fellow-traveler undermining our military effort in SEA. He was a forerunner of Dan Rather and Chris Matthews. Tet was a decisive defeat of a country-wide attempt by the NVA to overthow the South. They were repulsed at all points.

    Kudos to Wordsmith for setting the record straight on the end of the war. As an active participant at the point of the spear in both Rolling Thunder (1966) and Linebacker I and II (1972) I’ll be glad to explain to anyone the difference in ROE and targeting between the campaigns. Then we link it to the results to seal the lesson.

    Never forgive, never forget.

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  9. BarbaraS says: 8

    Of course Cronkite was proud of his speech ending the war. He did what he set out to do…end the war. He knew he had the support of every liberal in this country to lie about the war and double cross the rest of us. Then, as now, too many people depend on these news outlets for their news and they are lied to. How in the world has it come to this? That there are about 30% of the population who hate this country and want to bring it down and that includes our “president”.

    I visited the Vietnam war memorial about two years ago and I cried when I saw all the names on that wall. I had no family member or friends in that war but I was overcome by the waste of it all. Those people died for nothing. And it wasn’t as if they had a choice about whether to go or not. The draft was still in effect. Witness all the AWOLs who fled to Canada whom Jimmy Carter pardoned en masse. And not being satisfied with lies, these liberals treated our retunring servicemen like dogs. The cowards who went to Canada were treated like heros. People are denying it now but I remember it well. Also, friends of friends returning told of the lowlifes who threw garbage, excrement and spit on our soldiers. I despise Walter Cronkite and all his ilk. I despise all the newsmen who talked ad nauseum after a major speech and changed everything to their own ideology. I said to myself, hey, wait a minute that is not what the speaker said at all. After all that, I tuned them out completely. It was no different then as it is now. The media today is justr more blatant about it but their aims are the same.

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  10. BarbaraS says: 9

    Another part of the bad treatment the returning soldiers got was their jobs were not held for them as was the time honored custom. They couldn’t get jobs and a good many were homeless. Even the VFW refused to allow them membership because they said the Viet Nam Was was illegal. They were treated horribly for years. John Kerry convinced a lot of people including our wonderfu congressmen that these veterans were criminals.

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  11. GaffaUK says: 10

    @Wordsmith

    Nixon has only himself to blame for being driven out of office by his own actions. Indeed rather than Cronkite look at Nixon’s actions during 1968…

    Prior to the 1968 U.S. presidential election, the Nixon campaign “set out to sabotage the Paris peace negotiations on Vietnam. They privately assured the South Vietnamese military rulers that an incoming Republican regime would offer them a better deal than would a Democratic one. The tactic “worked”, in that the South Vietnamese junta withdrew from the talks on the eve of the election, thereby destroying the peace initiative on which the Democrats had based their campaign.” Before the elections President Johnson “suspected Richard Nixon, of political sabotage that he called treason”.No one was ever prosecuted for this crime.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_Peace_Accords

    Astonishing. If peace had been secured in 1968 then 20,000 US soldiers might not have died in vain in subsequent years. Still at least it got Nixon elected and Kissinger the Nobel Peace Prize.

    In regards to Crondike – well I prefer newsreaders to stick to reading the news and leave political comment to political journalists.

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  12. jainphx says: 11

    In regards to Crondike – well I prefer newsreaders to stick to reading the news and leave political comment to political journalists.

    Unfortunately Cronkite was both, or so he thought. He was a wash in self importance, and the thought of millions of lives lost and disrupted did not bother him in the least.

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  13. MataHarley says: 12

    Okay, I can see I’m the only one who choses to see the “10%” of someone’s politics that I can deal with as a human. Just as I wasn’t about to condemn MJ (and PLEASE don’t start an MJ retort thread here…), I’m not about to fully condemn Cronkite either.

    Remember, this was a news anchor in a different era that I lived thru, and so many of you did not. And that era was one that had three stations, “x” hours a day, providing news. Most of you here have no concept of that – heck, can’t even envision that. That news presentation belongs to a long forgotten era.

    I’m a vintage era Vietnam military wife. I know my beefs intimately with Cronkite (and John Kerry, for that matter) up close and personal. I remember Cronkite’s Tet offensive report. I remember it was not long after (a year later) that everyone I knew was in lotteries to head to ‘Nam for a Cronkite “war lost”. Cronkite, in this aspect, differs little from Harry Reid.

    But I also remember the other reports Cronkite has given. I vividly remember the night man first walked on the moon. I was 17, just graduated, and had to walk outside and gaze at the moon and pinch myself. I was there, looking up, as they were there, looking back. Just mindblowing at that point in time. Not so for you, who have no clue that “giant step for mankind” that happened because we are so accelerated at our “steps” now.

    What I found most interesting in the news of his death was the transcript of a 1996 interview. This is a man who, even tho he and I shared differing political perspectives, found ourselves with common ground in the end in views of so called “journalism” and bias today and responsibility.

    So my contribution to this thread is… Cronkite and I disagreed on much in our lifetime.. but in the end, we agreed that the arena of debate today is downright FUBAR. And oddly enough, I find that a comforting bond for our personally embattled generation.

    I shall let the link of Cronkite’s interview stand on it’s own as a “justification”, as you will, of your “judgment” of the man. You may find yourselves surprised. And, if you don’t click on the link to read the interview, don’t bother me with your retorts.

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  14. jainphx says: 13

    I for one don’t give a damn about some GOOD reporting, the loss of life that he is responsible for makes all that moot. Mata I respect your opinion, but would you also say that Goebbels did some good reporting. I go to the wall and read the names of friends and comrades that never made it back, post Tet. We lost a war in which we never lost a battle, thanks to Cronkite. Those names on that wall owe it mainly to Cronkite’s treachery, and for that I can’t forgive. I apologize for having to reply to one I respect in such negative terms.

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  15. Hard Right says: 14

    I too lost any respect for the man when I was old enough to see what how he helped the NV in Vietnam.
    I won’t dance on his grave, but I won’t cry for him either.

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  16. Wordsmith says: 15

    …and that’s the way it is.

    @GaffaUK: Yes, Nixon had himself to blame. And his team running interference with the Paris Peace Accords was just as wrong as Obama’s attempts at delaying SOFA.

    However, Nixon was indeed ending the war through “peace with honor”. With Nixon driven from office, Congress was in the driver’s seat over Vietnam policy. The Vietnam conflict was then concluded not in peace, but in bloodshed; and not with honor. Congress had already cut military aid to South Vietnam and the North came to realize there would be no help arriving from the U.S. if they chose to launch a new land invasion. Because of that, we had terrified Vietnamese held back at gunpoint as our choppers withdrew U.S. personnel from Saigon. Over a hundred thousand “boat people” faced the oceans rather than the “reeducation” programs and slaughter the communists had to offer. Congress- led by the likes of Ted Kennedy- were unmoved by the communist offensive that next took place in Cambodia, resulting in another 1.2 million deaths.

    As a constant reminder of what President Ford deemed to be his failure, he kept the U.S. Embassy (Saigon) stairs in his library. It wasn’t President Ford’s failure, though: It was America’s failure. And spearheading that, was Cronkite/media public perception shaping, Fonda/Kerry and the anti-war anti-draft movement; and Congressional lawmakers.

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  17. Curt says: 16

    Sorry Mata…read that interview in it’s entirety and all I see is hypocrisy. He laments about the way our MSM is going but takes no blame for interjecting his own personal opinions about Tet and Vietnam. Opinions that were not grounded in reality but which the whole country came to believe.

    Like I said, I respect him for his support of Apollo and NASA, we need more support from these kinds of people today to ensure we get a man on Mars before I die….but I would rather have no Cronkite support for NASA and have our troops leaving Vietnam in victory rather then how it ultimately went down…due to no small part played by Walter Cronkite.

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  18. yonason says: 17

    A TRAITOR’S LEGACY…

    And, in his own words, with praise by Hillarity…
    http://www.usasurvival.org/ck07.20.07.shtml

    It’s no coincidence his last name is homophonic with “Krankheit,” German for “sickness.”

    GOOD RIDDANCE!

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  19. GaffaUK says: 18

    @Wordsmith

    Yes, Nixon had himself to blame. And his team running interference with the Paris Peace Accords was just as wrong as Obama’s attempts at delaying SOFA.

    Yes – you’re right IF that was true.

    http://thelonggoodbye.wordpress.com/2008/09/18/there-is-absolutely-no-evidence-obama-tried-to-delay-iraq-troop-withdrawals/

    How is possibly extending a war by five years “peace with honor”?

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  20. Missy says: 19

    @GaffaUK:

    Yes – you’re right IF that was true.

    Obama had three conversations with Zebari, phone, personal meeting with Zebari in the States and his visit to Zebari in Iraq. Shall we step away from leftwing sites and go to some news accounts of Obama’s chats with Zebari?

    MSNBC reports:

    He said he told Zebari that negotiations for a Status of Forces agreement or strategic framework agreement between the two countries should be done in the open and with Congress’s authorization and that it was important that that there be strong bipartisan support for any agreement so that it can be sustained through a future administration. He argued it would make sense to hold off on such negotiations until the next administration.

    “My concern is that the Bush administration–in a weakened state politically–ends up trying to rush an agreement that in some ways might be binding to the next administration, whether it was my administration or Sen. McCain’s administration,” Obama said. “The foreign minister agreed that the next administration should not be bound by an agreement that’s currently made.”

    http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/06/16/1146329.aspx

    NYTimes:

    As Mr. Obama arrived in Michigan for a campaign stop on the economy, he shared details of his morning telephone call with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.

    Among the issues being discussed with the two presidential candidates is the long-term security accord between Iraq and the United States. While the Bush administration would like to see an agreement reached before the summer’s political conventions, Mr. Obama said today that he opposed such a timetable.

    “My concern is that the Bush administration, in a weakened state politically, ends up trying to rush an agreement that in some ways might be binding to the next administration, whether it’s my administration or Senator McCain’s administration,” Mr. Obama said. “The foreign minister agreed that the next administration should not be bound by an agreement that’s currently made.”

    http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/16/obama-plans-trip-pre-election-day-visit-to-iraq-and-afghanistan/

    CNN:

    …Obama also expressed concern that the Bush administration would rush to make some sort of status of forces agreement that would be binding to the next administration.

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/06/17/obama.iraq/index.html

    NYTimes, again:

    Mr. Zebari said that on his recent trip to the United States, in addition to President Bush, he had met with the presumptive presidential nominees, Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican, and Senator Barack Obama, the Illinois Democrat.

    He said that Mr. Obama had asked him: “ ‘Why is the Iraqi government in a rush, in a hurry? This administration has only a few more months in office.’ ”

    Mr. Zebari said he told Mr. Obama that even a Democratic administration would be better off having something “concrete in front of them to take a hard look at.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/03/world/middleeast/03iraq.html?scp=1&sq=obama+%22status+of+forces%22&st=nyt

    Obama’s campaign national security spokeswoman is as clear as mud:

    AFP:

    But Obama’s national security spokeswoman Wendy Morigi said Taheri’s article bore “as much resemblance to the truth as a McCain campaign commercial.”

    In fact, Obama had told the Iraqis that they should not rush through a “Strategic Framework Agreement” governing the future of US forces until after President George W. Bush leaves office, she said.

    In the face of resistance from Bush, the Democrat has long said that any such agreement must be reviewed by the US Congress as it would tie a future administration’s hands on Iraq.

    “Barack Obama has never urged a delay in negotiations, nor has he urged a delay in immediately beginning a responsible drawdown of our combat brigades,” Morigi said.

    http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hi9TDNHvuBZpFsO8ZbiFYsnbIl3A

    But…….he, as was widely reported, confirmed by his spokeswoman, in speaking to Zebari, urged a delay in the SOFA when we still had a sitting president involved in negotiations.

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  21. Wordsmith says: 20

    @GaffaUK:

    How is possibly extending a war by five years “peace with honor”?

    Because probably unlike you, I don’t see the Vietnam Battle as a completely unnecessary endeavor. Absence of the war itself wouldn’t bring peace, nor premature abandonment bring honour.

    I believe the domino theory was real and the Soviet communist threat very real. Vietnam was a kind of turning point because it demonstrated a willingness on the part of the U.S. to stem the tide of what is estimated to have been responsible for the deaths of as many as 100 million people, most of the murders occurring after WWII.

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  22. yonason says: 21

    @Missy:

    He doesn’t care. He’ll just find something to criticize in your presentation, which you will address in detail, in which he’ll find another thing to criticize, which you will address, in which he’ll …endless do-loop meandering on as long as you permit it to.

    A lot of his questions might seem good, until you realize that if he knew how to do research, and spent just a few minutes on google, he could find all he needed to answer his questions. But he never bothers, leaving us to do his work for him, and he never learns from the material we provide.

    He couldn’t care less what the facts are, and is just interested in making trouble. Still, when you catch him making statements that are clearly false, one sometimes needs to smack him down. Nice job, btw.

    You might want to start bookmarking where you have addressed his idiotic errors so that in the future you can dump the whole load on him when the time is ripe. Just a thought.

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  23. Wordsmith says: 22

    Thanks for doing the research though, Missy.

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  24. tfhr says: 23

    Condolences for all. It was terrible news for the newsman’s family and friends to learn of their loss last Friday but America lost it’s most famous newscaster more than forty years ago when Cronkite could no longer maintain his objectivity and in doing so cast his professional ethics aside in favor of his own political agenda. I’m referring, of course, to Cronkite’s Tet “reporting”.

    When a journalist publicly aligns himself with a politician, a political party, or a political cause, they can no longer serve the public interest in a neutral capacity. Worse, when a media figure with Cronkite’s stature departs from the task of strictly reporting news and begins to interject his personal opinions on any given matter, it should come as no surprise that others in that profession would follow his example. (And that’s the way it was, to borrow a Cronkite signature phrase.)

    Cronkite should have resigned from his job at CBS news. He could certainly have continued his advocacy as a private citizen and would have been a strong voice for those that shared his views but Cronkite failed to respect the necessity of Americans to have access to unbiased reporting and he abused his trusted access to the public.

    The names of the dead are rightfully and respectfully honored on the wall at the Vietnam War Memorial. A dishonored news media was a casualty of that war too but the wounds were self inflicted and to this day there are few contrasts greater than the public’s trust in military and the public’s lack of trust in the news media. That will be Cronkite’s place in history.

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  25. George says: 24

    @GaffaUK wrote:
    “Astonishing. If peace had been secured in 1968 then 20,000 US soldiers might not have died in vain in subsequent years. Still at least it got Nixon elected and Kissinger the Nobel Peace Prize.”

    What is astonishing is that you believe Paris peace negotiations with Communist North Vietnam would have secured peace. The 1973 Paris Peace Accords was supposed to be an “Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Viet-Nam.” In it, North Vietnam promised:

    1) to keep new troops and military equipment out of South Vietnam.

    North Vietnam repeatedly denied it had troops in South Vietnam until South Vietnam surrendered in 1975, making North Vietnam’s invasion a little too obvious

    2) “The South Vietnamese people shall decide themselves the political future of South Viet-Nam through genuinely free and democratic general elections under international supervision.”

    Thirty-six years later, we’re still waiting for the Hanoi regime to allow those free elections it promised in South Vietnam.

    3) Vietnam will “…ensure the democratic liberties of the people: personal freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of meeting, freedom of organization, freedom of political activities, freedom of belief, freedom of movement, freedom of residence, freedom of work, right to property ownership, and right to free enterprise.”

    That certainly did not happen.

    North Vietnam broke every meaningful pledge it made in that peace agreement.

    If that peace agreement had been secured in 1968, the realistic result would have been the accelerated murder of one million South Vietnamese.

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  26. Brother Bob says: 25

    Great piece, Curt. I was amazed that even Fox News was jumping on the lovefest bandwagon… Here’s my two cents:

    I volunteer as a tour guide on Saturdays in DC for one of the youth hostels and take groups of mostly foreign visitors around the monuments and memorials. When we get to the Vietnam Memorial I focus a lot on the war and how it impacts us today. One of the points I am sure to drive home is how influential the Tet Offensive was on modern warfare. Keep in mind that the main goal of Tet was to launch attacks that would get the South Vietnamese to rise up and overthrow their unpopular government. Even though the VC were crushed and tactically Tet was a failure, the way the American press (and I mention Cronkite by name) portrayed it Tet wound up being a huge success strategically.

    I also use that to segue into how the press is still a key weapon of our enemies and mention the captured Al Queda handbooks that include advice like telling the press that torture occurred or memorizing the names of guards so that while appearing before a judge that they were mistreated. Sadly, this is very much a part of Cronkite’s legacy.

    On a complete aside, if you visit the memorial one of the rangers there gives an excellent 20 minute talk on the war and the memorial itself. He goes on at 11, 1, 3, and 5.

    And if you see a hippie looking (bandana, John Lennon shades, walking stick) dork tour guide walking around please don’t heckle me =8^)

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  27. MataHarley says: 26

    jainphx: for one don’t give a damn about some GOOD reporting, the loss of life that he is responsible for makes all that moot.

    ….snip…

    We lost a war in which we never lost a battle, thanks to Cronkite. Those names on that wall owe it mainly to Cronkite’s treachery, and for that I can’t forgive.

    I am unaware of Cronkite’s ascension to shadow Commander in Chief, jainphx. To lay the deaths of all in Vietnam following Jan-Feb 1968 is absurd…. as well as to overly inflate his import by suggesting he, single handedly, begat the anti-war movement. Times were already ripe for that, preceded by the 11,153 deaths the year before, followed by the draft lottery being implemented in 1969. Whether Cronkite declared Tet a success or failure (which he did neither…), 16,589 would still die in 1968, and another 11,614 would die the following year.

    That amount of death in a conflict doesn’t need Cronkite for anti-war movements to begin. The advent of guerilla warfare, which we were not accustomed nor trained for, and the half-hearted ROE laid that groundwork without Cronkite’s help.

    Nor is his closing editorial out of place in America’s free speech (even for the media). Cronkite labelled it a “stalemate” – that we did not lose, nor win (which I disagree, BTW) – and added his criticism of the military leadership and calls for diplomatic talks. This differs little from what we hear today.

    Here is a link to NPR’s rebroadcast of Cronkite’s closing three minute editorial on the TET, with some extraneous commentary thrown it. It is the only full rebroadcast I can find, as the YouTube’s you find are merely a 36 sec excerpt.

    Cronkite commented on his controversial “editorial” below in the same year as the interview I linked above. What was different, in that era of journalism, op-eds/editorials were done as personal opinions by the editors and publishers… not columnists, bloggers, and every talking head, as we have today. Another difference was that editorials and opinion pieces were not disguised as “news” like they are today. Cronkite’s piece was clearly his closing op-ed to the show after being in Vietnam to interview soldiers on the ground.

    You cannot find a scapegoat for the conflict and loss of life in one man unless you want to hang that on LBJ, the CIC who inserted the first combat troops in Vietnam. Kennedy sent Green Beret to train South Vietnamese (they probably should have been training us in guerilla tactics…), and Truman sent military advisors in the 50s. How far would you all like to go back to find some single entity to blame? Does not the CIC, Pentagon and military advisors hold any culpability?

    The question is, did Cronkite take the step into political activism… as you all seem to believe. Or did he deliver an editorial to his exceptionally large audience, as is not unheard of in journalism? I have no memories of Cronkite as a Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz or Rachel Maddow talking head activist with every broadcast.

    As I said, I have my personal beefs with Cronkite. I don’t have any love or feel personal loss at his passing.

    Neither am I rabid with hate, as many of you appear to be. Even those of you who were not personally affected by the events of that era. I also find it bizarre to be in a position to mitigate some of this onslaught of hatred for a man that I, personally, don’t place that high in esteem.

    And how did he want to be remembered?

    GT: How do you want to be remembered?

    WC: [laughs] Oh, as a fellow who did his best. I’d like to be remembered as a person who tried to give the news as impartially, as factually, as possible, and succeeded most of the time.

    …. “most of the time”….

    Do I put Cronkite as high on my disdain list as Hanoi Jane and John Kerry? Or even John Murtha today? Absolutely not. Nor do I hold him responsible for deaths anymore than I blame today’s liberal media for those killed by IEDs and mortars fired by the Islamic jihad movements we fight. The onus of death lies solely on the enemy.

    And overall, when I compare Walter Cronkite to what we have today… best exemplified by MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, Rachael Maddow etal… he’s a superior choice.

    Personally I believe thfr said it all, and said it well:

    The names of the dead are rightfully and respectfully honored on the wall at the Vietnam War Memorial. A dishonored news media was a casualty of that war too but the wounds were self inflicted and to this day there are few contrasts greater than the public’s trust in military and the public’s lack of trust in the news media. That will be Cronkite’s place in history.

    Oddly enough, at the end, Cronkite realized the era of a dishonored media had begun…. and he at least had the wherewithall to find it appalling. I’ll give him at least that much.

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  28. Hard Right says: 27

    Sorry Mata, but he has blood on his hands as well. The fact that he is dead doesn’t change that. He knowingly crossed the line for political purposes.
    He made it a point to help hand our enemies a propaganda victory. Tet wiped out the VC as an operational force and mauled the NVA badly. He wanted to try and demoralize the American people and hurt the war effort . Why, even per your post, such editorials were NOT the norm at that time. So what other explanation is there?
    I was surprised to see you go after Jain’s comment by taking it to absurd levels. Distorting a statement to the point of strawman isn’t a valid way to refute. I seriously doubt Jain was blaming him for the loss of the entire war, but you sure tried to claim it was such.
    Rabid? More like unwilling to ignore his sins to the extent you are. That hardly makes others rabid. They have a right to be angry and you seem to think if it isn’t the same level of anger as yours it’s excessive or unfair.
    Again, Kronkite hurt the war effort in Vietnam by design. Just because he’s wasn’t as bad as olberman or matthews doesn’t change what he did or make him “OK” by comparison.

    I would like to say that I DO blame the media for attacks on our soldiers when they use their slanted reporting or comments by dems/far leftists to recruit and create propaganda. Just becuase they indirectly helped the insurgent murder our troops doesn’t mean they have no responsibility at all.
    Not to mention their endless dishonest reports of how badly things were going in Iraq were having an effect on the country’s morale and support of the war. This is also part of Kronkite’s legacy. Despite the claim that people don’t listen to the media, that and even the current election shows they do.

    As for how he wanted to be remembered, did you really think he’d say he wanted to be remembered as a partisan hack who tossed facts out the window when it suited his agenda? Yes he got some things right, but the weight of what he got wrong is so awful, it’s become his albatross and I cannot forgive him.

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  29. jainphx says: 28

    I’m sorry you took my comments so hard, they weren’t meant to insult you. It’s true he didn’t initiate the anti- war movement , but he sure as hell gave them all the ammunition they needed. He LIED and misinformed America about the war ending defeat that we put on the Cong and NVA. They were contemplating surrender until Cronkite’s treachery, which made the war last another 5 years and, yes he’s to me responsible for all post Tet deaths. Once again I meant you no personal animus, but I was there and I know what he did.

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  30. MataHarley says: 29

    Jainphx, I didn’t take the comments hard. I just thought they were overstated in the context of reality… and obviously said with emotion. Just trying to put a better perspective on things. I assure you, I was not only there, but married to a guy holding a #8 lottery draft number by the following year, and with neighbors and friends already *in* Vietnam from 1966 on. I am in no way disassociated with those times in my mind.

    I don’t agree with Cronkite’s op-ed one bit. But I do agree with his right to deliver one.

    Which brings me to you, HR. There have been editorials and op-eds as long as there has been journalism. However with only three broadcast stations, and only a few hours a day devoted to news, most you saw were in the newspapers. *That* is the reason it was rare… It was a relatively new medium for news. It was only a decade earlier that few homes had a TV at all.

    But you seem to place an inordinate amount of emphasis on less than 3 minutes when you weigh that against the reality of annual deaths that were grating on everyone’s nerves before Cronkite ever opened his mouth. I’d say the balance of Cronkite’s culpability lies somehwere in the middle… he certainly fed the anti-war mentality with that 3 minutes, but hardly on the same scale as Harry “the war is lost” Reid and the 24/7/365 for five years solid we’ve endured in recent history. Cronkite didn’t pound this home on every ensuing broadcast.

    Cronkite’s under 3 minute op-ed doesn’t even hold a candle to my ire and venom for Hanoi Jane and that despicable character sitting in the Senate, John Kerry. Count me in the rabid hatred column for those.

    BTW, tis nice of you to leap to Jainphx’s defense, but I’ve always seen her as more than capable of handling her own during disagreements. Nor was I particularly rude to her, as you seem to think.

    So I’ll be bowing out of this little bash fest. I’m thrown in my alternative perspective. Do with it what you like. I’ll be saving my frothing at the mouth for those I feel are larger fish. This one? ho hum… Cronkite died? Pass the cream for my coffee please.

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  31. Hard Right says: 30

    I was simply disagreeing with your portrayal of Jain’s comment. Rude? See below.
    Now, if you want to give him more of a pass for his “3 minutes”, I have no problem with that. Calling others rabid, because they do not? You bet I do. It’s a cheapshot and smacks of self satisfied smuggness.
    As for your frothing at the mouth remarks, you are way off base on that. There was no frothing. Your “I’m so superior to you” attitude on this is quite unbecomming. We get that you don’t see him as bad as fonda or kerry. Others do. For that you smear them?

    Want to see rabid or foaming? Go look up what the koslims said about Tony Snow when he passed. That is rabid and foaming and no one here did anything even approaching that.

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  32. Inspectorudy says: 31

    I served in Viet Nam as a marine fighter pilot and I think what Cronkite did was more damaging than what Hanoi Jane did. She was a sexkitten bimbo so had no major influence but Walter was like a member of America’s family. What he said was taken for fact and he helped the flegling liberal anti-war crowd immensely. I saw interviews later in his life and he was arrogant and self important about his role in the war. Tokyo Rose did her best to demoralize the troops in WW II and she was treated as a traitor. WC was not trying to be a traitor but his actions amounted to the same.

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  33. GaffaUK says: 32

    @Missy

    Yep looking at further links you provided – you are right.

    Although aren’t the NYTimes, MSNBC & CNN considered left?;) Obama shouldn’t of gotten involved – he should of left this with Bush. Whilst I’m not trying to downplay Obama’s interference – this is still small potatoes compared to Nixon’s interference. Obama interfered with a Status of Forces agreement between the US and an ally which went through anyway. Whereas Nixon interfered with a peace agreement with the enemy which broke down and cost the US five more years of war – and a bodycount that far outweigh anything seen in Iraq. I’m surprised what Nixon did wasn’t bigger than Watergate. And I’m surprise Obama didn’t get into more trouble than he did either.

    @Wordsmith
    Unfortunately Vietnam wasn’t the last country to go communist do the dominos didn’t stop there. And the US and others had already shown willingness to stand up to communism – e.g. Berlin Airlift, Korea, Cuban Missile Crisis etc. It’s just that Vietnam was such a mess even before US got involved – it’s hard to see how after so many lives were killed – exactly what was achieved and was it worth it in a country involved in a civil war.

    @Yonason
    Boring. I am more than happy to debate the regular posters on here without you’re nasty little sniping. I have done plenty of research before, during and after such debates. No doubt you pigeon-hole me how you like or throw your shallow insults. Says more about you.

    If you want to do some research – have a look at this page – shows your paper-thin tactics.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

    @George

    What is astonishing is that you believe Paris peace negotiations with Communist North Vietnam would have secured peace.

    Check my post – I didn’t claim that it would of secured peace. It would of secured peace about as much as the 1973 ‘peace’ agreement. Accept it would of saved over 20,000 US soldiers lives.

    As for Nixon ‘Peace with honor’ – that was about the US trying to save face and extricate itself from a quagmire whilst leaving the South Vietnamese to face the Commies alone. You don’t have to lose a battle to lose a war. And although Fonda went beyond the pale – it’s healthy that a country and a free press are able to give their opinions about such a war. In the end Vietnam failed not because of the soldiers, the media or the protestors but by the US leaders – primarily JFK, Johnson & Nixon. Ford was more honourable than most but he was obviously weakened.

    Vietnam would have been a better place had US and its allies won – as Iraq is a better place now that Saddam is gone. But not ‘all’ wars are worth the price in human lives to get to that point.

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  34. Wordsmith says: 33

    @GaffaUK:

    Whereas Nixon interfered with a peace agreement with the enemy which broke down and cost the US five more years of war

    Nixon’s transgression aside, what makes you believe the peace agreement would have worked out in ’68? The North Vietnamese only used the Paris Peace Accords to stage political theater.

    As for Nixon ‘Peace with honor’ – that was about the US trying to save face and extricate itself from a quagmire whilst leaving the South Vietnamese to face the Commies alone.

    After Nixon’s “Christmas bombing” campaign in ’72, your British counterinsurgency expert, Sir Robert Thompson said

    “In my view, on December 30, 1972, after eleven days of those B-52 attacks on the Hanoi area, you had won the war. It was over!…They would have taken any terms. And that is why, of course, you actually got a peace agreement in January, which you had not been able to get in October.”
    -The Lessons of Vietnam, by W. Scott Thompson and Donald D. Frizzell

    Had Congress honored Nixon’s promise (in writing) to our South Vietnamese allies to provide them with whatever support necessary should the North invade, the outcome of the overall conflict might have turned out differently. With Nixon gone, the North sensed Congress’ lack of will and decided they could invade without suffering yet another military defeat. Would there have even been an invasion had the threat of another bombing campaign and military support by the U.S. been made credible? I doubt it. The North sensed our weakness and exploited it at the expense of South Vietnam.

    Vietnam had a lot to do with being a war of perceptions. Read James Q. Wilson’s article, The Press at War. Read statements by General Giap.

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  35. yonason says: 34

    @MataHarley:

    Did you listen to what he says, in his own words?
    http://www.usasurvival.org/ck07.20.07.shtml
    …about how he had to conceal his true beliefs, which obviously influenced his reporting?

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  36. Aleric says: 35

    I won’t wax on poetic about the good and the bad that was the late Walter Cronkite. Sunday morning when I heard the news report that he had died the first thought in my mind was “Good, its about time” I personally never liked the man and always thought he as biased and a liberal.

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  37. yonason says: 36

    @Wordsmith:

    RE – Nixon’s “transgressions.”

    Actually, what Nixon did was out of fear of what the Leftists would do the this country. His methods may have been ham-handed, but his fears have proven to be all too justified. And Nixon at least was an American, unlike some Kenyan imposters.

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