“Obama Awards Medal of Freedom to Supporter and Former NBC Anchor Tom Brokaw,” Curtis Houck writes at NewsBusters:
Throughout her report [on Brokaw receiving the award], [Andrea] Mitchell certainly didn’t note many of the instances in which Brokaw heaped mounds of praise on the President (that has appeared to pay off). As the Media Research Center’s Kyle Drennen noted back on November 12, Brokaw’s positive remarks toward the President are numerous and included him comparing Obama to Vaclev Havel, who led the “Velet Revolution” that brought down communism in the former Czechoslovakia.
It would be fun to ask Brokaw what his definition of “freedom” is, given that the veteran NBC newsreader begged the Chief Spokesman for the Office of the President Elect in December of 2008 to raise taxes during the trough of the Great Recession (consistent with his take on President Reagan cutting taxes), and his loathing of the Second Amendment, telling fellow NBC employees Al Sharpton and Joe Scarborough in January of 2013 that, as Nathaniel Botwinick paraphrased at NRO’s The Corner, “Silence on Gun Violence Like Not Speaking Out Against Segregation in 1960s South.” Or as Brokaw himself said:
All these component parts claim, it’s not their responsibility. The NRA says it’s not about the guns, it’s about violence and mental health. Mental health people can’t share information because we have privacy issues here. The video game industry says we have a right under the First Amendment. Reverend Al, it reminds me a lot of what happened in the South during the 1960s during the civil rights movement. Good people stayed in their houses and didn’t speak up when there was carnage in the streets and the total violation of the fundamental rights of African-Americans as they marched in Selma. And they let Bull Connor and the redneck elements of the South and the Klan take over their culture in effect and become a face of it.
The testimony of many blacks who relied upon the Second Amendment to defend themselves during that period against Brokaw’s fellow Democrat Bull Connor contradicts the NBC newsreader:
When Charles “Chuck” Hicks does the Martin Luther King Jr. Day peace and freedom walks Saturday, he’ll also be taking a step for what the National Rifle Association has dubbed “National Rifle Appreciation Day.” That’s because Hicks is the son of Robert Hicks, a prominent leader of the legendary Deacons for Defense and Justice — an organization of black men in Louisiana who used shotguns and rifles to repel attacks by white vigilantes during the 1960s.
“The Klan would drive through our neighborhood shooting at us, shooting into our homes,” recalled Hicks, 66, who grew up in Bogalusa, La., and has been a civil rights activist in the District for more than 35 years. “The black men in the community wouldn’t stand for it. You shoot at us, we shoot back at you. I’m convinced that without our guns, my family and many other black people would not be alive today.”
As the Glenn Reynolds adds, “Condi Rice tells a similar story, of course. More background here.”
Continuing with the Orwellian aspects of Tom’s award, when Dan Rather had cooked the books in September of 2004 launching his ultimately career-ending scandal known as Rathergate, his then-fellow over-the-air nightly news anchors Brokaw and the late Peter Jennings both circled the wagons the following month — with the presidential election still ongoing — to defend their fellow dino-journalist from those whom they perceived as rabble conservative upstarts.
Around that time four years later, Brokaw helpfully lied to PBS’s Charlie Rose, “We don’t know a lot about Barack Obama and the universe of his thinking about foreign policy…There’s a lot about him we don’t know.” Gee Tom and Charlie, if only you had entire armies of journalists you command at your two networks to answer those questions, not to mention an information retrieval device called the Internet.
In February of this year, Brokaw had an interesting turn of the phrase at the Sochi Olympics. Brokaw once looked at the men who by the time they reached Wise’s young age had survived FDR’s socialist-based Depression in America, only to then fight National Socialism in Europe and dubbed them “The Greatest Generation,” appropriately enough. But what about those who then had to face off against International Socialism in the following decades? That was merely some crazy American “obsession,” according to Brokaw at the Olympics, as spotted by Matthew Balan of NewsBusters:
TOM BROKAW: While the balance of power had shifted in space, here on Earth, the U.S. and the Soviet Union were still positioning for an upper hand.
TOM STAFFORD, ASTRONAUT: Each country had four to six thousand strategic nuclear weapons aimed at each other, plus thousands of tactical nuclear weapons – all types of conventional force.
ALEXEI LEONOV, COSMONAUT (speaking in Russian): There were no Soviet military bases around the United States. There were none. Around the Soviet Union in Norway, Germany, and Turkey, there were American bases. Therefore, it was not us encircling America, it was America encircling us.
BROKAW: In Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, and space, the U.S. spared little to defeat communism – at times, it seemed like a national obsession.
The anchor never explained that in each of those instances, the United States was responding to an earlier move by the Soviet Union or its allies. During the Korean War, the Soviet-backed North Korean “People’s Army” invaded South Korea. Several years later, the U.S. space program was sent into overdrive after the launch of Sputnik in 1957. The following decade, the Soviet Union placed nuclear missiles in Cuba, which led to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962; and South Vietnam was already fighting the communist North Vietnamese forces as the U.S. gradually become more and more involved.
ALEX WAGNER: Sam Tanenhaus, writing today in the New York Times, talks about the sort of electric undercurrent of discontent that was still – that was palpable in and around the time that Kennedy was shot. And that Dallas was a very dangerous place to be at that moment.
TOM BROKAW: And Dallas didn’t have anything to do with the assassination, which is the interesting thing.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Yes.
BROKAW: It was this lone misfit who’d gone to Russia. He was a far-left guy, not a far-right guy. So it’s hard to untangle what was going on. Chris was quite right, the early part of the ’60s had nothing to do with what we think of the ’60s. My own very strong impression is that, yes, the assassination did change us, there’s no question about that. Did you have a mass of people saying, “I’ve had it with institutions and with the government as it stands”? I don’t think that was the case.
But later that same day, Brokaw told MSNBC’s The Cycle show:
I was a reporter in Omaha. I was the morning news editor. I did the cut-ins for the Today show on the noon news, and it was kind of an exhausting schedule, about nine hours…We didn’t have the network up at KMTV because NBC would give back a local station one hour of midday programming. I ran down, there was a garden show on the air. So I put it on over the garden show and then did that a couple of times. And this was unusual but it was not unheard of. As I came running out of the announce booth the chief engineer – with whom I didn’t get along very well. A really curmudgeonly guy, old, kind of a gnarly guy – and he said, “What happened?” And I said, “Kennedy was shot.” And he said , “About time somebody shot that S.O.B.” That was heard in other places, mostly in the conservative states. But he was, that was reflecting his real feeling, and they had to peel me away from him. I then ran back up and continued to work.
Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia. Or Eurasia. Or whoever it is this week.
So what does NBC say about the award? Perhaps this Fred Silverman era parody clip sums up their response:
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Of course, to return to the start of the post, I’d be curious to hear Tom Brokaw’s definition of “Freedom.”
I’d be even more curious to hear how the person who presented Brokaw the Medal of Freedom with defines it.
(I wonder if it’s anything similar to his takes on sin and ethics…)