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Ed Driscoll

Walter Cronkite: Liberalism in the Guise of Objectivity

March 16th, 2014 - 1:17 pm

In April of that year, two days before the first “Earth Day” Cronkite began a regular series on the CBS Evening News portentously titled, “Can The World Be Saved?,” as the American left first began to dial up the volume of its eco-crankery to 11. To accompany those segments, Bonn created a backdrop consisting of the legendary photograph the astronauts of Apollo 8 took of planet earth, with his hand placed in front of the photo clutching the globe. “We were trying to show humanity squeezing the Earth to death,” according to Bonn.

Brinkley notes that this photo quickly became informally known as “The Hand Job” amongst the backstage production crew of Cronkite’s broadcast, much to its true-believer host’s chagrin. “We’ll need the hand job, tonight!” Which in retrospect, seems like the perfect description of the masturbatory nature of radical environmentalism. (Outside of Earth Day master of ceremonies Ira Einhorn deciding to implement his own version of population control by killing his girlfriend, of course.) Certainly, it’s a given that the more strident the rhetoric of a self-professed environmentalist, the bigger his carbon footprint.

Cronkite was no exception — a decade after declaring the earth’s ecology so fragile that he would ask if the planet could be “saved,” he thought nothing about hopping on the gas-guzzling supersonic Concorde to fly from Paris to the Middle East to cover the death of Anwar Sadat.

Similarly, in 1970, Brinkley writes that Cronkite believed that “the U.S. government needed to regulate polluting corporations and force them to prioritize environment over profit.” But Cronkite chose to commemorate the arrival of the year 1984 and its Orwellian implications by starring in a special for CBS and drafting a column for the New York Times in which he wrote:

“The total absence of privacy the idea that the government is (or may be) always watching, means, most of us would agree, the ultimate loss of freedom.” Without the implied method of force, how did Cronkite imagine government would regulate corporations “to prioritize environment over profit”?

It’s during this passage of Cronkite that Brinkley concocts a smear of his own, by writing:

Reading George Orwell’s classic novel 1984, published in 1949, had been a revelation for Cronkite. He was stunned by Orwell’s raw insights into both Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia. To Cronkite, the dystopian 1984 was prescient in showing that America’s civil liberties were being gutted by a right-wing agenda.

Gee, wait ‘til Brinkley discovers what Orwell’s Ingsoc stood for, let alone where national socialist Germany and the international socialist Soviet Union were on the ideological spectrum.

And as Joseph Epstein wrote in his review of Brinkley’s book in the September 2012 issue of Commentary (subscription may be necessary to read), Cronkite himself wrote an introduction to a paperback edition of 1984, in which he seemed to think that modernism itself was Orwell’s chief concern:

I read a preface Cronkite wrote to a paperback edition of George Orwell’s 1984, and discovered he thought that the target of the novel was not the brutal devastation of life, private and public, under totalitarianism, but chiefly the danger posed by the technology of modernity. “1984 is an anguished lament and a warning that vibrates powerfully when we may not be strong enough nor wise enough nor moral enough to cope with the kind of power we have learned to amass,” Cronkite wrote. Throughout this preface, the Soviet Union and China, whose governments treated their respective populations as conquered nations, go unmentioned.

As Epstein notes, Cronkite’s preface to Orwell’s epoch-defining novel was written in 1983, “and by then Cronkite had entered that phase of liberalism that finds no country more dangerous than one’s own.”

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Top Rated Comments   
funny that you mention Conkrite's voice as a key factor in his success.

I remain convinced that obama's voice is his secret sauce as well. The baritone coupled with the studious speaking manner, emanating from a person with the current PC-preferred skin color, has won him MILLIONS of votes...no matter how stupid the words are (and I do mean stupid). It's really that simple, because anybody who takes a moment to look can immediately see that the man is anti-American, a fool, a lightweight, an empty suit, a person of no accomplishment, and an arrogent idiot.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Exactly.
Robert Strange McNamara was almost single - handedly responsible for the substitution of cheaper ball powder in M-16 ammunition, which contributed mightily to the failure rate of early M-16's in the field.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
I remember well my first thoughts on hearing of his passing.

Many first thoughts wind up being ill-considered, but these seem pretty correct these years later.

They were: "F*** Walter Cronkite."
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (38)
All Comments   (38)
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As the rise of conservative media outposts, via the internet and Fox News, has rewritten the rules of how to deliver events as they unfold not as prepared versions written with the express purpose of shaping the political views of the audience, the reliance upon left-wing oracles has dwindled. The talking heads on the networks and their cable cohorts are lauded no more as the only voices that matter, if they're mentioned at all.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
There are also occasionally chronological errors — at one point, Brinkley writes that Cronkite was dining at the Stork Club when the tragic Apollo 1 fire near-instantly killed its crew in the midst of an otherwise routine preflight checkout on January 27, 1967. If Brinkley is referring to the legendary Manhattan watering hole founded by nightclub owner Sherman Billingsley, that club closed its doors in October of 1965. Later in the book, Brinkley writes, “Throughout 1994 and 1995, Cronkite grew discontented with how CNN, MSNBC, and the Fox News Channel interrupted broadcasts with ‘Breaking News’ flashes for silly items like an L.A. freeway chase or another Clinton sex allegation story.” But MSNBC and Fox News didn’t begin broadcasting until July and October of 1996, respectively.

These anecdotes remind me of one from Stalin's show trials in the 1930s. In one such trial, where Stalin's minions were trying to associate one of the defendants with anti-Soviet activities, they brought forward witnesses to testify that the defendant had met with enemy agents at the Bristol Hotel in Copenhagen a few years before. Western sources soon revealed that the Bristol Hotel had burned down years before the alleged meeting. But the show trial went on despite these revelations and defendant was duly convicted.

By the same token, Brinkley's errors will surely be dismissed as mere typos, not as game-changers. No trifling consideration like truth will be allowed to interfere with the narrative.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Something Walter must've missed re: Orwell:

"Within the intelligentsia, a derisive and mildly hostile attitude towards Britain is more or less compulsory, but it is an unfaked emotion in many cases. During the war it was manifested in the defeatism of the intelligentsia, which persisted long after it had become clear that the Axis powers could not win. Many people were undisguisedly pleased when Singapore fell or when the British were driven out of Greece, and there was a remarkable unwillingness to believe in good news, e.g., El Alamein, or the number of German planes shot down in the Battle of Britain. English left-wing intellectuals did not, of course, actually want the Germans or Japanese to win the war, but many of them could not help but get a certain kick out of seeing their own country humiliated . . . . In foreign politics many intellectuals follow the principle that any faction backed by Britain must be in the wrong."

- George Orwell, Notes on Nationalism, 1945.

“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them....To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.”
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
"radical environmentalism" like "mindless egalitarianism" is redundant.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
David Brinkley! That's too ironic to be irony. The man of the same name sat opposite Cronky on NBC--and was even more of a hack than Walter. At least Walter didn't strew beer cans on Cocoa Beach and then ask bums to pose on the sand as he reported the story on-camera that the Space Program "is a corrupting influence on the small towns of Brevard county."
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is easy now to see how the networks then, and the major networks now, are infected with liberal bias. The thing that surprises me is they do not seem to care in the least that they have been exposed. It seems that as a competitive business practice, one of them would make a showy move to create an "objective" image, such as hire a well known conservative for a prominent role.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Actually, Edith Efron of TV Guide wrote a book about it (the News Twisters) after the 1968 elections. And it wasn't easy then; you had to pore over transcripts and manually count the references. Pen and paper, no computers.

She later wrote a book about Environmental Wackos.

The earliest example of comprehensive, one-sided media left-wing bias I know of was the total misreporting of the Scopes "monkey" trial.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Gee, wait ‘til [the liberal base] discovers what Orwell’s Ingsoc stood for, let alone where national socialist Germany and the international socialist Soviet Union were on the ideological spectrum."

FIFY, Ed.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
FIFY???

What's that in English, please?
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
I believe he's saying that he's "fixed it for you".
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
funny that you mention Conkrite's voice as a key factor in his success.

I remain convinced that obama's voice is his secret sauce as well. The baritone coupled with the studious speaking manner, emanating from a person with the current PC-preferred skin color, has won him MILLIONS of votes...no matter how stupid the words are (and I do mean stupid). It's really that simple, because anybody who takes a moment to look can immediately see that the man is anti-American, a fool, a lightweight, an empty suit, a person of no accomplishment, and an arrogent idiot.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
I can't stand the sound of Obama's voice. If I listen to it more than a few seconds, I want to turn it off. Maybe it's the lisping and the dead monotone to his delivery.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
I agree that Obama's voice is a largely unrecognized aspect of his success.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Crokite's role in actively promoting the "Korean Airline Spy Plane" [the Russia-had- every-right-to-shoot-down-the-airliner school] nonsense is usually overlooked: http://www.jamesoberg.com/kal-007.html

And his pose as spaceflight expert also exaggerated
Cronkite on space: inspiration, not information
Honoring the enthusiasm, overlooking the inaccuracies
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/570/1
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Cronkite was a very large symptom but not the whole disease. In reading about his antics and those of his colleagues, you can see why Northeast Liberals thought their media monopoly was the greatest thing since indoor plumbing and sought to exploit it at every opportunity, even during sports broadcasts and so-called children's programming via frequent doses of Saturday morning PC (including those awful bowdlerized Bugs Bunny cartoons). To read back issues of Time Magazine, for example, is to recall a group of people who felt entitled, even obliged, to create a fantasy world and enforce its bizarre 'rules' through mockery, innuendo, false outrage, etc.

The tactics are the same (because they can never really change) but the megaphones are now as small as Dixie cups. As their monopoly dissolves along with their ideology you can see how their rage is compounded.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Since this is the period of my childhood, could you please give me some idea of the sort of PC I encountered. Especially in Bugs Bunny.

(I do think it was a good thing that Kellogg's, DC Comics, and the Mutual Broadcasting Network had Superman fight the KKK on radio in 1946, but it seems they also had him fighting the John Birch Society. While I can't stand the latter either, did he fight Communists also?)
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
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