Cronkite’s 15 Minutes of Fame for our Infamies

 

By Jack Engelhard

 

Walter Cronkite’s TV presence was so powerful that when he made some off-hand remark critical of our war in Vietnam, Lyndon Johnson knew that losing the support of Cronkite was the same as losing the support of the American people. LBJ had met his match; journalism that provokes.

 

Back then (going here strictly from memory) we were still reading newspapers and TV News was nothing more than a daily 15 minute roundup and recap – but such was the authority of these men, Cronkite, Huntley/Brinkley, Edward R. Murrow, Eric Sevareid, that we began to trust broadcasting nearly as much as print. (“Murrow’s Boys” dominated CBS for some time.)

 

Today’s obits on Cronkite show him momentarily forgetting his journalistic stoicism in favor of a touch of emotion at the announcement of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. This may be a proper highlight but we should remember that 15 minutes at a time, TV News grew into the monster that it is today.

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Obama: No More Mr. Nice Guy

 

By Jack Engelhard

 

We can all agree (for once) that President Barack Obama’s inauguration speech was no thriller. If anything, it was a downer.

 

It had to be. One minute he was president-elect; next minute, My Gawd! he was President! The real deal. The gloves had to come off. The truth had to be told. What an awakening this must have been, to realize that the party is over, the work begins. That is sobering! It’s doubtful that any time soon he’ll be showing up on TV with Oprah Winfrey, or sharing dance steps with Ellen DeGeneres.

 

From now on those photo-ops will show him in the company of world leaders, some who wish us well, many who wish us harm.

 

There’s a new sheriff in town and he won’t be smiling.

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Caroline Kennedy? Yes!

 

Jack Engelhard

 

Caroline Kennedy never grew up, not for me. She will always be that beautiful child who, carefree and happy, went romping around the While House along with her brother John John back when her father was president. Now there’s talk about naming her senator, representing New York. Then there’s talk that she’s not up to the task for lack of experience.

 

People say she’s never been in politics. So? All the more reason to give her that seat. We know about people “in politics.” Check out Illinois, for starters. New York itself had a governor who was booted out of office for bad behavior. It’s about time we put someone in office, senator or otherwise, who’s unaffiliated with this or that political machine. (“If you ever inject truth into politics you have no politics” – Will Rogers.)

 

Tell me she’s a Democrat which IS a political machine and I say, so what – we all have to be something. But as far as I know, she owes no favors, she’s untainted by “friends” and “cronies,” which means, again, as far as I know, that she’s clean. That’s rare for a politician – but here’s the charm. She is no politician.

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Crooks Out, Crooks In (JFK To Obama)

By Jack Engelhard

 

Count me in on this honeymoon. I’m thrilled that what we have before us is our first African-American president. The politicking is done. I’ve had my say, you’ve had yours, and you won. I am reconciled. Besides, he’s cool, he’s hip. What’s not to like – as of the moment?

 

Reminds me of JFK. John Kennedy was exceptional for the dream, the glamour, the romance.

 

Never mind the politics.

 

In a few months Barack Obama will be in office and as Americans we have no choice but to root for him. We’re all in this together.

 

Has fate given us a man who is destined to fulfill the promise of JFK? Was it prophesied that Obama is to pick up where Kennedy left off? God asked King Solomon: “What shall I give you?” Solomon could have asked for power and riches but he asked for “an understanding heart” by which to rule the people. Nothing more. (Power and riches followed.)

 

That’s a good place to start for Obama as well – for the sake of all of us. 

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