Saturday, July 18, 2009

Cronkite's comment on Karl Rove

I remember the comment that Walter Cronkite said about Karl Rove on Larry King, "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.” HT from Little Green Footballs here.

Here is the CNN transcript here.

KING: We're back with Walter Cronkite. Why has this campaign (2004)-- and you've been through a lot of them -- been so vituperative?

CRONKITE: I think partly because of the nature of the administration. It has offended a large number of people quite seriously, right down to their souls, apparently. The war has not supported fully, certainly by all the people. The economy has touched a lot of our people. And they feel very strongly about it. So there is a very definite body there in opposition to the administration, as we know. And the administration itself has a lot of support. I think that mostly it's really locked into the Iraqi situation.

More on Cronkite's passing here from Commentary Magazine article by John Podhoretz.
Cronkite was a key figure in many ways, but foremost among them, perhaps, was the fact that he cleared the way for the mainstream media and the Establishment to join what Lionel Trilling called “the adversary culture.” Cronkite, the gravelly voice of accepted American wisdom, whose comportment suggested he kept his money in bonds and would never even have considered exceeding the speed limit, devastated President Lyndon Johnson in the wake of the 1968 Tet Offensive by declaring that the United States “was mired in stalemate” in Vietnam—when Johnson knew that Tet had been a military triumph.

At the time Cronkite had 30 million viewers compared to about 7 million Dan Rather had. Cable News and the Internet has made the viewer numbers dwindle. Before Cronkite's 1968 "opinion" on the Vietnam war the poll ratings were in the 70% in favor of us winning the Vietnam war. After that broadcast it went down to 49% in favor of the war. Not that Cronkite lost the war for us. It's just the war was not won. The Johnston administration micro managed the war and the Army was not allowed to fight the war properly. (They did not do the "surge" like in Iraq).

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