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We've Reached a Murrow/Cronkite Moment

Alan Kopit

Posted on July 26, 2018 09:22

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Is it more important to keep your office in a weakened democracy than “to preserve and protect” the sacred institutions under siege? Is any Republican even listening?

I thought we were there after the hate march and death in Charlottesville.  Most assuredly, when a free press was dubbed the “enemy of the people.”  Certainly, when the European Union was called our “foe.” Definitely, after the Helsinki Summit.  Republicans had to speak up against this President, despite his party “affiliation.”  But I was horribly, horribly wrong.  Our Congressional leadership – Mitch McConnell and lame duck Paul Ryan – have long ago lost their spines, and apparently their minds.  Consider this –

Broadcast on CBS’ See It Now on March 9, 1954, Edward R. Murrow, the leading broadcast journalist of his day, looked into the camera to address powerful Senator Joe McCarthy and his communist “witch hunt”:

“This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy’s methods to keep silent, or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities.  . . . We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.”

McCarthy’s influence was never the same.

On February 27, 1968, CBS’ Walter Cronkite may have turned mainstream America against the Viet Nam War:

“To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, if unsatisfactory conclusion.  .  .  . But it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could.”

When President Johnson saw this broadcast, he turned to his press secretary and said, “If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost the country.”  Only a few short weeks later, he stunned the nation by announcing he would not seek a second full term.

These giants of their eras – Murrow and Cronkite – changed the course of history by challenging authority and doing what was right, without regard to the consequences.  Yet today, they would be deemed no more than the purveyors of “fake news” or the “people’s enemy” to this President.  We have reached a point when an influential elected Republican in our federal government must rise and say, in all caps, ENOUGH!  Someone who puts principle and integrity, and the good of the country, ahead of political expediency.  Or maybe a journalist with moderate bona fides can do it.  Fox News’ Chris Wallace comes to mind.

But what is undeniable is that the time has come – just as it came to stand up to McCarthy and to stand against the Viet Nam War.  We are there, but it can’t be retiring Jeff Flake or Bob Corker demanding that democracy comes before party.  Is it more important to keep your office in a weakened democracy than “to preserve and protect” the sacred institutions under siege?  Is any Republican even listening?

 

 

Alan Kopit

Posted on July 26, 2018 09:22

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Source: KRQE 13

NEW YORK (AP) -- Defiant into the 2016 election's last day, Donald Trump raised doubts about the integrity of the U.S. election...

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