Walter Cronkite: When Tried, He Failed.
Print Friendly and PDF does not subscribe to the conventional view that the death of a public figure should be an occasion for self-indulgent emotional display and sentimental posturing. We think it is an opportunity for evaluation and assessment: it is imperative to learn from the past. Hence Peter Brimelow's discussions of William F. Buckley here and here, Jack Kemp, and Ronald Reagan.

WorldNetDaily, laudably, apparently feels the same where Walter Cronkite is concerned. Meet the real Walter Cronkite 'Most trusted' newsman pushed radical agenda by Joseph Farah July 18 2009 is an valuable antidote to the deceptive platitudes being served up in huge quantities by the MSM generally. It reveals the interesting fact that Cronkite was promoted for the anchor spot at CBS Evening News by a prominent leftist power-broker, Blair Clark. It also documents Cronkite's significant behavior in his later years:

After leaving his position with CBS, Cronkite's political activism and offbeat ideas had no restraints... He spoke openly about the need for America to give up its national sovereignty. "American people are going to begin to realize they are going to have to yield some sovereignty to an international body to enforce world law, and I think that's going to come to other people as well...
I myself have been told of an extraordinary tantrum thrown by Cronkite at a New York dinner party when confronted by a foreign guest who thought there might be some merit in the ongoing Clinton Impeachment.

But being a (discreet) left partisan is not the worst blot on the Cronkite record. That honor must be given in his spearhead role in sabotaging the American effort in Vietnam in February 1968.

The facts are well summarized in Cronkite and Vietnam: Part I Neo-Neocon July 18th 2009. Returning from Vietnam while the Tet Offensive was still raging, Cronkite advocated surrender.

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.
Meantime, the North Vietnamese had sacrificed most of their military and political infrastructure in South Vietnam, failed in all their objectives, and were (they now report) in despair. The disparity between the facts and the way the US media reported them is trenchantly detailed in Peter Braestrup’s The Big Story — seminal reading, in my view, to understand the era and the Media's role in it.

Perspective is needed: and very difficult to develop for those who have to rely on the tendentious and dishonest accounts found in the US educational system today.

For a generation, America had watched with increasing alarm as the Soviet Union built on its sweeping geopolitical success of WW2 and successfully subverted many of the ex-colonial new nations in the "Cold War" Now, in the North Vietnamese, the Russians had found a way of fighting a large-scale surrogate war of aggression. At the time, it was still seriously argued that the Communist system could match the West economically. The view that Communism would eventually triumph was widespread—a point those who do not remember the era have great difficulty crediting.

The Liberal/Left in America (to say nothing of overseas) was highly ambivalent throughout the Cold War. Ideological and (for some) ethnic ties encouraged sympathies with the Soviets. Then (as now) the Middle-American patriotism exemplified by the US military excited disdain and contempt. Many were tempted to seek accommodation. (What was Bill Clinton doing in Moscow in January 1970?)

Because the North Vietnamese aggression was so egregious in late 1965, and the consequent surge in American patriotic fervor so intense, the Left took some time to organize. But they immediately grabbed at the unprecedented uncontrolled free access they were allowed to the battlefield. Vivid pictures of shocked, wounded American soldiers became everyday fare, stories of South Vietnamese brutality and corruption became formulaic.

The contrast with the lack of interest the MSM shows similar stories from Iraq and Afghanistan is stunning.

Equally stunning were the constraints anti-war forces succeeded on placing on the use of Americaâ's great advantage: military technology. Fire constraints unheard of in Iraq and Afghanistan crippled effectiveness. According to Jack Broughton's extremely valuable Going Downtown the Johnson White House was rigidly dictating flight paths into North Vietnam, greatly helping the Anti-Aircraft gunners there.

Again, in contrast to the present wars.

Of course, the beneficiary is not the same.

The consequence of the ultimate defeat in Vietnam was of course a major extension of Communism, resulting in the Pol Pot massacres in Cambodia, the suffering of the Boat people, years of destructive war in Angola and Mozambique and the dangerous years of the late 70s. The rot was finally stopped by the election of Ronald Reagan ... and the courage of the Mujahideen.

Because of this fortuitous outcome, to which Cronkite contributed nothing, it is easy to forget the appalling consequences which did occur, and the far worse events which might have occurred following America's strategic humiliation.

As neo-neocon says of Cronkite and his colleagues:

It never seems to have occurred to them, of course, that in reacting to Tet as they did they were participating in a different falsehood, the propagation of North Vietnamese propaganda about the situation.
For a moment, Walter Cronkite was in a position to influence his country's destiny. He failed America.
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