February 24, 2012

LBJ's 'Cronkite Moment' Myth

W. Joseph Campbell, Media Myth Alert

So unoriginal.

 

Hardly exceptional.

 

Those are ways to characterize Walter Cronkite’s famous assessment–offered in a special televised report in February 1968–that the U.S. war effort in Vietnam was “mired in stalemate.”

 

Cronkite’s characterization supposedly represented a moment of such stunning clarity and insight that it forced President Lyndon Johnson to realize his war policy was a shambles.

 

“If I’ve lost Cronkite,” Johnson supposedly said to an aide or aides after seeing the special report, “I’ve lost Middle America.”

 

Or words to that effect.

 

And a month later, Johnson announced he was not running for election–a decision often linked, if erroneously, to...

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TAGGED: media, Vietnam War

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