At one point in a long and credulous look back at Walter Cronkite and the Vietnam War, the Washington Post this weekend likens the former CBS News anchorman to “an intercontinental ballistic missile of objectivity.”
Cronkite in Vietnam, 1968
That’s a sample of the hagiographic tone of the Post’s retrospective, which centers around the media myth of Cronkite’s report in late February 1968 about the Vietnam War, in which he described the U.S. military as “mired in stalemate” there.
The Post presents a number of dubious claims about the effects of what it says were Cronkite’s “daring, historic, precedent-busting words about Vietnam.”
Cronkite’s words were hardly that.
His description about the war as a “stalemate” was neither daring nor novel. As I discuss in my media-mythbusting book, Getting It Wrong, American journalists for months before Cronkite’s program had invoked “stalemate” to characterize the war…
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