A Stamp for Disgraced Newsman Cronkite?
By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
Before Dan Rather disgraced himself as the anchor of the CBS Evening News, there was Walter Cronkite, who paved the way for a communist takeover of South Vietnam and openly despised and attacked President Ronald Reagan’s peace-through-strength policies. Cronkite, who became an advocate of world government and a stooge of Soviet propaganda operations, is now the subject of a campaign to put his likeness on an official U.S. postage stamp.
The terrible truth about Walter Cronkite, as we noted in 2009 after his passing, is that he “symbolized liberal media bias and used that bias with disastrous consequences for our nation and the world.”
This wasn’t just our opinion. The 1974 book by Dr. Ernest W. LeFever, TV and National Defense, examined in meticulous detail how CBS News programs under Cronkite “were frequently critical of U.S. policy,” usually from a perspective that “implied or called for a lesser military commitment and lower defense expenditures.”
The CBS News bias against a strong national defense continued when President Reagan took office, after the policies of Democratic President Jimmy Carter had severely weakened America’s standing in the world.
The push for a Cronkite stamp comes at a time when Robert Redford is playing Cronkite’s successor, Dan Rather, in a movie ironically titled “Truth” and based on a lie. Rather used forged documents to smear Republican President George W. Bush’s military service.
The proposed stamp seems to be a case of the old media longing for the days when a figure like Cronkite, once known as “the most trusted man in America,” could manipulate the public and affect national policy with little, if any, dissent.
The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the Radio Television Digital News Association are leading the campaign to have the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, a 12-member group appointed by the postmaster general, issue a stamp in Cronkite’s honor.
As CBS Evening News anchorman, Cronkite campaigned against the American effort to save Vietnam from communism and attacked President Reagan for his anti-communist and anti-Soviet views. What was suspected during his life became known after his death. Cronkite was named in his FBI file as having been targeted in a Soviet “active measures” campaign against President Reagan’s anti-communist foreign policy.
Later in life, as if to confirm his role as an agent of influence against his own government, Cronkite made an appearance before the World Federalist Association, which favors world government financed by global taxes, and called for the U.S. to renounce “some of its sovereignty” and pass a series of United Nations treaties. Then-First Lady Hillary Clinton also appeared, via videotape, to pay tribute to the former CBS Evening News anchorman.
In 1988, Cronkite addressed a left-wing People for the American Way conference and denounced President Reagan for the “unilateral” military actions in Grenada, when the U.S. military evicted a communist gang, and Libya, when Reagan ordered a military strike in retaliation for the acts of terrorism against Americans.
Incredibly, Cronkite said that the smartest president he ever met was Jimmy Carter. The Carter presidency paved the way for the coming to power of the communist Sandinistas in Nicaragua and the Islamic zealots in Iran. Later in life, Carter became an advocate of the interests of the Arab/Muslim world against Israel.
But SPJ at-large board member Bill McCloskey told Accuracy in Media, “In my view, Walter Cronkite deserves to be commemorated by the Postal Service as were a few other prominent journalists. He had a talent for engaging the American public in the important issues of the day in a way that they could understand and digest. His talent showed particularly in his reporting on Watergate and Vietnam, two very complex stories that had great importance to his audience, which was vast. There is a reason he was known as ‘the most trusted man in America.’ Certainly Walter Cronkite fulfills the Postal Service’s goal of commemorating American history better than some of the current crop of stamps featuring stylized eagles, flowers, ducks and bunnies.”
Regarding coverage of the war in Southeast Asia, Cronkite “contributed a great deal to our defeat in Vietnam,” noted Accuracy in Media founder Reed Irvine.
As we have previously pointed out, the bloody result of the Vietnam War was 58,260 U.S. servicemen and nearly one million civilians dead. The South Vietnamese military lost about a quarter of a million, while tens of thousands of South Vietnamese allies of the U.S. were left behind after the American military withdrawal and tortured in communist camps. Thousands of others fled in leaky boats, becoming known as the “boat people.”
Professor Paul Kengor’s book, All The Dupes Fit To Print: Journalists Who Have Served As Tools of Communist Propaganda, devotes a chapter to Cronkite, noting he was singled out in Soviet propaganda operations as willing to go along with communist campaigns against U.S. foreign policy. The record is clear for anyone, including professional journalists, to see.
Nevertheless, Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication has joined the campaign to honor Cronkite, saying it is encouraging alumni, students, faculty, staff and the journalism community to write a letter of support to the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee.
Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan said, “Walter Cronkite is our school’s guiding light…We are rallying our network of students, alumni, faculty and friends to get behind this fantastic proposal by the Society of Professional Journalists and the Radio Television Digital News Association.”
The eagles, flowers, ducks and bunnies that the SPJ’s McCloskey says are featured on stamps are harmless. Cronkite left a legacy of suffering and death and helped destroy objective news reporting in the process. It is shocking that a journalism school is named after him and that the SPJ, which maintains an ethics code, is leading a campaign to honor the disgraced journalist.
However, a stamp in tribute to Cronkite would be on the same level as a movie honoring his disgraced successor.
After honoring Cronkite, can a stamp paying tribute to Brian Williams be far behind? Williams’ lies are penny ante compared to Cronkite’s ability to destroy a free South Vietnam, apologize for Soviet communism, and promote world government.
- Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, 475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Room 3300, Washington, DC 20260-3501.