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WALTER CRONKITE MOON LANDING /
KENNEDY ASSASINATION

OM writes: Wasn’t sure if you’d noticed this or not, but Unca Walter’s two finest moments are actually up on YouTube. The moment where he gave us a strong shoulder to cry on at our worst moment since Pearl Harbor, and the moment of our greatest achievement as a species;

See-BS JFK Assassination Coverage (First 2 hours, 9 parts total) Part 1:

See-BS Apollo 11 Landing Coverage (six parts):

The 1989 Dan Rather documentary on See-BS’ A11 coverage is also on YT:

I haven’t been able to find his “We are fucked in Vietnam” speech, but his entire final broadcast is also online as well as an abbreviated version of his first:

Unca Walter’s First:



Unca Walter’s Last (5 parts):

…Note that the final show is listed as the “West Coast” version, but from my recollection the show was aired live for the East and Central time zones, then the tape was played back for the West Coast. I have no idea where the Mountain Time Zone figured into that, but almost three decades later that zone still really doesn’t matter :-P

…On a side note, coverage of the JFK assassination for all three networks are also online, and comparing and contrasting the first two hours or so would make a great article for TVparty. From my own observations, four things become very obvious:

1) Unca Walter provided the strongest shoulder to lean on. Even though this tragedy kicked America right in the balls, you knew that we were going to get through this somehow. NBC and ABC simply reported the facts for the most part, although Chet Huntley did try to provide some comfort with one short opinion piece. Still, neither had the presence that Walter Cronkite had, and that’s why everyone remembers mostly watching See-BS coverage of the assassination. Especially those embarrassed at having watched the other two networks.

2) To their credit, Frank McGee, Bill Ryan, Chet Huntley, and David Brinkley actually provided more concise updates than the other two networks. There’s also more of their coverage available online, mostly because of the A&E “As It Happened” rebroadcast for the 25th anniversary in 1988. IIRC, NBC allowed either 6 or 8 hours of continuous archive tape to be aired, with some of the local Dallas footage being replaced by local archive copies – which explains why only those short segments are in color, while everything else from NBC was in living black and white.

3) To put it bluntly, ABC’s coverage just plain SUCKED. I’ve seen some botched newscasts before, but even when you take into account the chaos that was going on in the first 2 hours between the first shots and LHO getting ID’d as the prime suspect in custody, ABC’s entire network news department was pretty much lost. The fact that most people can’t recall who the old guys were who anchored through a lot of “Dicknical Tefficulties” (or was that “Dechnical Tifficulties”?) is a testament to why most people who started out with ABC recall switching to See-BS or NBC. ISTR that the only reason ABC failed to overhaul their news department after this was that they simply didn’t have the money to recruit top-quality news anchors, and the one they had – Howard K. Smith – was doing more documentary and long-form commentary(*) for the network at the time.

(*) “News and Comment”, ISTR was what his show was called at the time.

4) The sole saving grace to ABC’s coverage was the fact that they had exclusive access to WFAA’s live coverage, which included the interview with Abe Zapruder who verified on live TV just how JFK’s head exploded from the front – a live testimony that pisses off more Conspiracy Theorists than any other Lone Nutter evidence.

 

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