Ed Driscoll

Uncle Walter Loses It

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I’m not sure if this is Michael Moore’s legacy or not. Maybe it’s Oliver Stone’s. But at least since Stone’s wild JFK film in the early ’90s, the left has become incredibly susceptible to over-the-top conspiracy theories, something we noted back in February. And Walter Cronkite (who wrote in 2003, “I believe that most of us reporters are liberal”) entered into Moore/Stone/Pierre Salinger territory himself on Larry King’s talk show last night:

KING: Walter Cronkite, the legendary journalist and old friend, a great man in the history of broadcast journalists, and maybe the most revered person ever to go on camera. Let’s first play a little bit of this tape, in which bin Laden, released today, directly addresses the American people. Watch.


OSAMA BIN LADEN (through translator): Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or al Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands. Any nation that does not attack us will not be attacked.


KING: OK, Walter. What do you make of this?

CRONKITE: Well, I make it out to be initially the reaction that it’s a threat to us, that unless we make peace with him, in a sense, we can expect further attacks. He did not say that precisely, but it sounds like that when he says…

KING: The warning.

CRONKITE: What we just heard. So now the question is basically right now, how will this affect the election? And I have a feeling that it could tilt the election a bit. In fact, I’m a little inclined to think that Karl Rove, the political manager at the White House, who is a very clever man, he probably set up bin Laden to this thing.

So here you have a man who was once-a very long time ago–dubbed “the most trusted man in America”–willing to throw his reputation away in a theory that reeks of Oliver Stone.

Think it through: for Cronkite’s conspiracy theory to be true, Rove had to contact Al Jazeera, the Arab TV network, to find somebody to get in touch with Bin Laden, to make a tape of him, and get him to quote scenes from Fahrenheit 911. And then run it the Friday before the presidential election.

And Cronkite is willing to expound a theory like that to King, only a few hours after Bin Laden’s tape airs for the first time. Where did his logic go?