tv 1968 - America in Turmoil Medias Role CSPAN August 12, 2018 8:00pm-9:31pm EDT
he covered senator robert kennedy's campaign, the vietnam war, and the white house. first, here is cbs news coverage of the 1968 democratic national convention in chicago. >> chicago, illinois. the convention of the democratic party, nominating tonight its candidate for the presidency. right now, seconding speeches are being made for senator mcgovern, then we will have a seconding speech for the reverend channing phillips of washington, d.c., a favorite candidate of the black caucus to this convention. there are some 212 negro delegates here. those who are not bound by other state requirements, such as primary election, are expected
to vote for channing phillips. here in the amphitheater, new york is holding a caucus to discuss the violence downtown, and hal walker is there. >> wait a minute, you are wasting valuable time. hal: several hundred of the mccarthy supporters and others have gathered into the caucus room, caucus room number one, to hear a proposal that all of those opposed to the actions taken in this convention, the action of the police and other agencies against delegates, that they gather together at the end of the mcgovern speech and present their objections or be ready to present a resolution. if not able to present a resolution, they say they will not return to the convention tomorrow. their proposal is not they will walk out tonight, but they will not come back tomorrow. as one of the delegates here said, we are going to bring to a grinding halt this entire
convention unless what he calls the atrocities are stopped. he was given a rousing round of applause by student delegates. -- by standing delegates. back to you. walter: has there been any suggestion in that caucus that new york delegates attend the fourth party meeting at the drake hotel? hal: so far, the question of the new party has not come up. these people are angry about the reports they are receiving about the way delegates are being treated and others at the convention are being treated. as i said, they called them atrocities. they are just going to walk out of this meeting. they have not said they will do in subsequent time. walter: thank you, hal. did you have more? hal: that was it, walter. walter: morris raskin of the so-called new party has called a
meeting at the drake hotel, reserved a banquet room. he is expecting 200 or 300 delegates to attend that meeting. >> our thanks to cbs news for that footage. as we look back at 1968, 50 years later, our focus in this segment is the role of the media. we welcome a pulitzer prize-winning photographer to talk about the work in 1968, and marvin kalb from cbs news. walter cronkite, what role did he play? marvin: big-time. when the tet offensive began and the communists seem to be in the ascendancy to to be the victors of the war, walter thought he could no longer sit at the anchorman in new york. he wanted to see what was happening.
he was old-fashioned in that respect. he asked if he could go. they did not want to send an anchorman. walter insisted, and he went. he spent a brief period of time, but he absorbed a great deal. he realized that the war could not be won. he said, i've got to do something which expresses my opinion. they said, i don't want your opinion. you are the news man, tell me what happened. he said, i can tell you what happened, but i have to tell you what it means. walter won, he went on the air, and he had that extraordinary line, we did what we could to the vietnamese people, it is now up to them.
lyndon johnson was watching that with two of his very close aides at the time. he said, when i have lost walter cronkite, i have lost middle america. he meant that he lost his basic support. steve: take us back to where the media was in 1968. we didn't have cable, we didn't have twitter. david: photographing antiwar demonstrations. for me, what really affected me mostly, life magazine, wire service photographs. i think, if you look at the biggest photo of the year, shooting the vc suspect in the head, that was on the front of every newspaper in the world.
it is funny, flashing forward to watching the president of south korea and north korea holding hands and stepping over that line. there is one particular image -- those kind of images stay with you and they affected everybody's life. they didn't have the torrent of information that you have now. steve: the story of lyndon johnson watching, some people said he was on a plane, the story was he was on a plane and not watching at that moment. >> my understanding is that he was at the white house, bill moyers was with him, his spokesperson was with him. they were in his office. he was watching it, he saw walter, walter said what he said, and he said, i've lost middle america. steve: let's talk about the
larger role of what is happening in vietnam. what were americans seeing at home and how significant was that as the war was unfolding? >> really that was the beginning of my career in the news business. i grew up in a little town in oregon and i went to portland to work on the newspaper and then down to l.a. at that point, i had been to -- i had not been to vietnam. before i came on today, i was looking back. there were four of my classmates from westwood high school in oregon who were killed in the vietnam war. one of them was in 1968. these are all guys i went to school with. there was a profound effect for me.
i think, i was just getting it knowing that my friends were getting bumped off in vietnam. all you had to do was go on the campuses. i was living and working in l.a. at the time, so i covered san francisco state. you can see the rising tide of people protesting. steve: this is from a cbs radio network ad. mr. k and the kremlin. i mentioned that because you were also the author of "the year i was peter the great. what are concerned about with the soviet union, why was this such a fear? >> in 1968, we were still part of the civil war, and fightas an existential
and argument with the communist world. we were in the capitalist world. vietnam was the pivotal war, which really turned the whole cold war around. in 1968, more than any other year, it seems like the united states had lost its innocence in that war. the media had lost its innocence in 1968 as well. there was a credibility gap where the people in vietnam, the officers, the majors, the colonels, they would tell us what it is that we had covered that day, and it had nothing to do with what we had seen and heard. there was that credibility gap. the government itself, the lyndon johnson administration, was up against it. that is one of the reasons that the president felt he had to get out, and that is what he did on march 31.
he had made up his mind that he could no longer lead the country. that's the war had captured and in effect brought him down. lyndon johnson was a very proud man. he had done, in my opinion, great things on the legislative front, the domestic front. but then the war was always there pulling him down. ultimately, it dragged him down. the american people had to fix, -- to face in a sense, the loss of a president, the loss of its innocence, the media itself, how our own government was lying to us. i was a moscow correspondent. i had assumed that the russians would lie to me. i had never assumed, up until that point, that my own government was going to lie to me. that was a big grown-up moment for me and, i think, for any
other reporters at that time. steve: david, you were with upi at that point, correct? there were other things happening on the homefront, i want to show the audience some photographs based on the west coast. some escaped convicts from san quentin. take a look at this photograph and tell us what you saw and what you reflect on this 50 years later. i lived in manhattan beach, california. i got a radio report that there was a guy hold up in a little hotel. i was somewhere else across l.a. i raced over there, i went into the driveway, and the cops were talking to this guy through a window. it turns out that his name was arthur jones, he came from san quentin. there was a cbs cameraman, a local guy, the two of us standing in a driveway. i don't know how i didn't get
killed. were there other pictures in the sequence? steve: i think it just that one. david: all of a sudden, there is an explosion, he had set off some dynamite in the room, the cops started shooting him. i kept taking pictures, the cameras kept rolling. he ended up crawling over to where he is right there, and the bomb squad guy came over. it was terrifying, but i sat there and i shot the whole thing. that was right after lbj announced he wasn't going to run. these pictures were all over on the paper. actually, in my whole vietnam experience, i had a lot of close calls, but that was really want. state: in 1968, 62.5 million
americans received a newspaper either in the morning or afternoon. that number is down by about 20 million. the most recent number, 2014, just over 40 million. what does that tell you about the press? >> it tells me the world of newspapers was big and alive back then and now, it has been supplanted by television, radio, the internet. it is amazing to me that there are still as many newspapers as there are functioning. we live in a world today that is so completely different from what it was in 1968. in that world, we were closer to events. we depended upon a more limited group of people. that could be argued as a negative because you have the slant of only those people, but at the same time, they were highly experienced, professional reporters. today, people don't really regard reporters as professionals. they kind of regard them as
propagandists. that is a horrible change that has taken place. but it is true. steve: joining us here is marvin kalb from nbc news and cbs news, and david hume kennerly, who went on to serve as president ford's photographer. our line for democrats and our line for republicans. we will go to carol in texas. caller: good morning. thank you for having me and for having this program today. i just wanted to get your comments. we talked about the war in 1968. i use the years, 1967, 1968, 1969, i use those years to teach my grandchildren that we survived those years and, no
matter the conflicts we have that come in the future, that the country is going to hang together and we are going to survive. i also want to get your comment about the fact that the anon -- the vietnam war did not end in 1968 when johnson stopped being president, but it continued on for the vietnamese until 1975 and the americans until 1973. it became nixon's war. thank you for taking my call and i will listen to your comments off-line. >> that is a good point about how it did not end. as a 21-year-old in 1968, i could vote for the first time. i actually believed richard nixon when he said he was going to end the war in vietnam, so i voted for him. that had a direct impact on me. i was in college, but i ended up
-- i went in the army for six months, national guard, basic training and all that. richard nixon -- i don't know the exact numbers, but during the nixon administration -- >> 28,000 americans were killed when richard nixon was president. >> it was about 50-50. i went to vietnam in 1971 after eddie adams told me all the good pictures had already been taken. it went on and on and i was there toward the end of the war when president ford pulled the plug on it. i was in the room when that happened at the white house. steve: republican line, good morning. caller: reporters at the time of the vietnam war reported free and open access to the combat scenes. they would just hop on a plane
and they were able to see the fighting as it occurred. as tet came along and the pentagon papers came along, and there were great surprises. how do you reconcile the gap between free access and yet missing the main facts of the war. steve: i will have you answer that question and also explain how your pieces came back to the u.s. >> in those days, if you were in television, you had a camera crew, a cameraman, a sound. i did most of the coverage of the vietnam war from washington. my brother covered it for cbs from the war front itself. what i know is that you would go out with a team, there was no censorship, you covered when it is that you saw, you then
somehow we lost the war for the united states. >> i just wanted to add that, also in the coverage, at least at cbs and i think that other networks as well, you had the coverage from vietnam, but you also had coverage of the war as seen from the nation's capital. you look at the capitol building right now and you realize, at that time, the war was being fought in this country as well. the country was split. it was violently split in two between those people who supported the government and wanted the war to continue, and those people by the hundreds of thousands, who were out in the street objecting to the war. there were two angles of vision on the war. steve: you capture that in some of your photographs. >> i tried.
another thing about being a combat photographer and covering the war, i was compelled. you say it was about a 50-50 split between casualties. two of my buddies from high school were killed during the johnson period and two during nixon. steve: explain this photograph. david: that was san francisco state college. it was partially antiwar. that was very reflective of what was going on at the time. i must say, i got beat up by not only the cops, but the demonstrators. in vietnam, the soldiers loved it when somebody like me showed up, like an outsider, somebody who didn't have to be there. contrary to what you may hear, we had an incredibly good relationship with gis, with the
officers on everybody. they wanted to tell their story. it was just another facet of what i did when i was there. steve: our focus is 1968 and this program, the media in particular. daniel is joining us from pennsylvania on the independent line. >> in 1968, -- journalists were -- i could not tell whether journalists were liberal and conservative. today, it seems more flagrant that journalism today is more liberal. back then, you couldn't tell whether they were liberal or conservative. >> apparently you don't watch fox. [laughter] >> photographers, i will say, speaking for myself but particularly knowing a lot of them, we really don't take sides. i was brought up that way.
i think the lines have blurred a lot between commentators, people like sean hannity who are definitely not journalists, and people who are true reporters. those are the kind of people i have always worked with. i think that is part of the problem. you don't know why somebody is saying what they are saying. normally, a reporter is going to give you the straight facts. you're right about the impression. i think people think that. i don't believe it is true in cases of real pros in the news business. steve: let's talk about some significant photographs you had of big players. let's start with california governor ronald reagan. david: a fairly young reagan at that time. that was 1968. ronald reagan was governor of california. he had been a democrat and
became a republican. i had a long history with him because i had first photographed him as governor, then he ran against my boss, gerald ford, when i was the white house photographer. they had their showdown at the republican convention of 1976. then, of course, reagan went on to become president. i covered the first four years of his administration. one of the beautiful things about my career is i have seen people progress through it from the beginning to the end. there is ronald reagan in 1968. and i covered his funeral. these are people i got to know. marvin kalb. ronald reagan and the influence he had on that year. marvin: in 1968, i don't think that reagan's influence on the war and on the flow of domestic events was all that great. i think it was later that he picked up a head of steam.
at that time, he was still a young politician on the rise. he had not yet become, i believe, the governor of california. he was governor at that time? a young governor. he did deal at that time with student unrest, and he became associated with the government cracking down on student demonstrators. a lot of people thought that reagan had gone too far. one of the reasons he developed a following among the right wing of the republican party was just the reasons like that, that he was capable of ordering a crackdown on the young demonstrators. david: in that period, i believe they had helicopters going over uc berkeley, dispensing teargas. i have a son at uc berkeley now and i'm glad things of calm down for his sake. governor reagan was law and
order and definitely had the cops cracking down on the universities. steve: another significant player, senator eugene mccarthy. david: that was mccarthy in los angeles in 1968 during the campaign. he was the first sort of mainline politician to rise up against lbj. steve: thomas is joining us from maryland, democrats line. >> i find it very interesting in the conversation. it seems like they are coming across as, to me, a voice in a white supremacist world with perks, whether you are liberal or conservative. it was still white supremacy. the reason i'm going this way is because i realized you are talking about reagan, and you showed the first clip of
cronkite. you were talking about what was addressed to white people for white people by white people. you haven't talked about the south or anything that dealt with minorities and the great suffering that was going on internally in this country. white supremacy was at the roots of it. reagan, johnson, they were forced to accept black people as people. let's be real. you are renowned journalists and photographers but let's be real about what is happening in america. it wasn't all about white people. all your pictures show white students and the police, just like they are today, crushing people's skulls. maybe they weren't white supremacists, but under command of a white person. let's be real about what is going on. steve: thank you for the call. we actually had focused on that in a previous installment.
his is a nine part series. but today, we are focusing on the media. >> he's got a good point. obviously, we can't cover the most tumultuous year in american history and get it all in there. but quite frankly, the photographs taken by my colleagues, particularly of civil rights unrest, pictures of martin luther king, really made a big impact on all of that. we were telling a story. think he has a good point. as a young white person from a fairly white part of oregon, that is what i knew growing up. i have certainly come a long way from there. you did cover that in a previous segment, as you mentioned. steve: from the book, "frontlines of the television war," how powerful were these
pictures as americans were watching walter cronkite or david brinkley on nbc, and they watch the body bags being carried out? marvin: in my opinion, television came of age in the 1960's. clearly when we got to 1968, beginning with the tet offensive in vietnam, followed by lyndon johnson's statement that he's not going to run for president, followed up by the killing of martin luther king in early april, then of robert kennedy in june of 1968. we were in the midst then of one of the great years in american history. it touched every aspect of our lives. the war, the piece, the
the extraordinary downfall of a president, the killing of a black leader, all of these things meant a great deal to everybody. television news was the way in which most people, not everyone but most people found out about , this country, found out about what was going on. it had an enormous impact. television absolutely came of age in 1968. guest: i also believe, if it was tv that brought the war into your living room, the vietnam war, the still pictures took it a bit further to your heart and soul. the picture of the little girl running down the road after being napalmed, the indelible images of vietnam war principally coming at you from
still photographers, many of whom were killed taking this photographs. host: time magazine, it did shape 1968. guest: yes it did. there was a lance morrow piece that was very good. having lived through it in my own place, one thing about being in california, california gets neglected a lot because you are or from power here in washington, d.c., and new york. it seemed to me i got every element of the vietnam war, of civil unrest being in california. being a 21-year-old in 1968, i got to see it. host: most recent chicago after the assassination of dr. king. guest: these were taken by great
photographers who wanted to tell the story. caller: hello, this is frank. i appreciate the two journalists, what they wrote about. i lived that as a black soldier drafted in 1966 through 1968, coming home at the end of 1967, preparing for riot control in texas. now i have to back off crowds after the king assassination. i lived at fighting a war, being questioned, watching the riots in the streets, americans
fleeing the country what later get amnesty while the poor fought wars overseas. host: thanks for the call overseas. you were talking about photographs. jackson and the newspaper the day after the assassination. guest: you make a great point of coming back from the war and having to stand off demonstrators, people who were protesting the war you were in. i have such sympathy for people like that, the african-americans who came back to the same old problem with racism and having to live also as a soldier, being castigated by people because you were at a war you had nothing to do about. it wasn't about warriors. it was about the war.
i spent a lot of time with black and white soldiers in vietnam. trust me, as he knows, everybody was going through the same thing and it was not good. host: eve, california, maryland. caller: good morning. i wanted to make a comment. it is an absolute disgrace my eye. the trouble with today's we have no respect. we do not talk right about our leaders and we should. around the world, this would never be allowed anywhere else. as far as 1968, my dad was a diplomat. i was just a young girl when president kennedy got shot. i remember how it affected my father and mother. it touched my heart very much to where i grew up with a passion to stop the bigotry, this hate.
i became the president of the international club in college. i write poetry about unity. today i think the trouble is that we have no respect. adults need to grow up. people are not living in showing a good example to their children, which scares me. i am now a grandmother. it scares me to think that a change doesn't happen to where we show respect for our leaders and for each other. i don't know what will happen. all i know is martin luther king's dream has become a nightmare. it?: have we lost guest: i think with this lady was just saying touches the very heart of the central problem of how it is in this country. and that is that there appears to be what some people call a culture war, which is not necessarily just political.
but it is a belief on a number of people that their control of the world, of their country has been taken out of their hands. and it is in the hands of strangers, of "them" as it is put quite often. they wanted to be reconstituted. one of the reasons that president trump's slogan about making america great again is that it makes people feel they want to go back to a time that made them feel more comfortable. and since 1968, great year in this country, and now, we are still living with the consequences of 1968 when the country was literally torn apart in that year by assassinations, by mass demonstrations, by students being killed on college
campuses, by what was going on in vietnam, and questions that were raised at that time. is that war worthwhile? even in the senate, right across the street here, the argument was intense in the senate at that time, led by senator fulbright. there were people who argued this war was immoral and had to end. then you had people like goldwater on the republican side who said we were facing local -- global communism and it had to be stopped. no one could really argue that point sensibly then and we still can't argue sensibly those points today. i hear people saying that we may be facing this country another civil war. i think that is overstating it. but that is a reflection of the frustration of being able to deal with radical change within a limited period a time and how
do ordinary people catch up with that? host: you mentioned some of the iconic photographs of of that period. how did this come about and why was it so significant? guest: that photograph was taken in the chinese section of saigon at the height of the tet offensive word the viet cong had come into saigon and had taken over the u.s. embassy. they tried to. they did not get in. but they got right to the edge. it was pretty rough. general luan on the left had just had some of his guys killed in very heavy streetfighting around that area. they arrested this d.c. suspect. there is an nbc film.
there is a film of this thing happening. this photograph is one of the most powerful pictures ever taken, obviously. they brought that guy over and general luan pulled out his gun and shot him right then and there. of course, he was a reviled character after that. he lived right across the way in arlington at the end of the war. eddie was always torn by this photo. he said two lives were ruined that day. certainly, the vc who was killed and general a one who was subject to revulsion general luan who were subject to revulsion.
guest: the cruelty of the war that is in that photograph is the cold dispensing of life. there's no feeling attached to it. this guy was on the opposite side, just kill him and move on. guest: there are three photographs it really stick in my mind and they are all taken by 80 photographers. joe rosenthal's iwo jima flag raising picture was the opposite of that one. it showed up marines raising the flag and honor and glory. this is the dark underbelly of a tall. -- of it all. this is really what wars about. it is what i saw. it was what anybody who photographed war, made movies of john wayne, you never see any blood. there is blood in this violence. later, our two guests were with upi in 1968.
carmen is joining us from your -- carmen is joining us from new york, go ahead. caller: great show, gentlemen. my question is for either gentleman, less than a year into the war, president johnson was given a report from our military that the incident in the gulf of tonkin had never happened. did the media at the time know of this report? guest: at the time, we did not know about the report. but that particular incident was the one that moved the united states very dramatically into the vietnam war. it happened on august 2 and august 4, 1964. there were two attacks against an american destroyer right off the shores of north vietnam. the first attack actually did take place.
but lyndon johnson did not take retaliatory action after that first attack. when the second attack took place on august 4, he did. but it turned out, at that time, we knew that it did not take place. it was bad reporting from the ship's captain on the destroyer. mcnamara knew it was bad reporting. he knew that the attack did not take place. lyndon johnson knew it. but johnson went on the air and declared that the attack had taken place. and therefore, the u.s. would bomb north vietnam. that started the whole idea that the u.s. would be using air power to go directly against north vietnam. it started with the tonkin gulf resolution passed right here in congress. and at that time, it said that the president of the united states can take any action anywhere in defense of america's interests against the
communists. and that was a big statement. but most of the reporters did not, i'm sorry to say, pick that up. i think the people at cbs knew it and the people at "the washington post" knew it, but that was it. host: you began saying that the tet offensive prove that the american government was lying to the american people. why? guest: at that time, it was already 25,000 american deaths into the war. we had been experiencing it over a period of three years, how it was to fight that war. you could take a mountaintop and lose 100 marines doing so, and that night, willingly, pullout from that mountaintop. the question was why did you take it in the first place?
and questions about strategy came up and the credibility gap came up. and the american people were beginning to realize, when the people who are dying, the man who spoke to us a couple of cars before, when you talk about the war, remember that most of the people who were dying on the american side were poor kids from poor families, from poor neighborhoods, who had no way of saying that they were going on to college and didn't have to be drafted. so they were drafted and they were people being killed. that had a big impact on in this communities country that led in 1968 the nationwide demonstrations. host: why did people listen to walter cronkite?
guest: he was a man who had come through world war ii as a great correspondent. he had a print background. i knew walter really. not as well as marvin did. people trusted him. i have a personal story, there was no way around it. the voice, the demeanor, the straightahead manner of walter cronkite. when we got to where they were housing these u.s. prisoners, a place called the plantation. it was not the hanoi hilton. the early prisoners were released about two weeks before. they were in these p.o.w. pajamas and all that. i heard one of them say i didn't think they were really going to let us go until i saw walter cronkite there.
then i knew it must be true. that's the kind of impact walter had. host: i want to go back to the convention in 1968. this is walter cronkite reporting in chicago where turmoil taking place outside the convention center with democrats about to nominate vice president hubert humphrey. [video clip] >> as we reported to you earlier, this is not live, it is on film. the demonstrators did get into the live be -- the lobby of the hilton hotel. the national guard has been called. i assume that this film is even longer than the last videotape we saw. this was before the national guard was called. that would put it at about two and a half hours ago. >> wisconsin. >> mr. chairman, most to
-- most delegates to this convention do not know that thousands of young people are being beaten in the streets of chicago. and for that reason, and that reason alone, i request suspension of the rules for the purpose of adjournment for two weeks to relocate the convention in another city of the choosing of the democratic national committee. >> wisconsin is not recognized for that purpose. guest: i didn't know he got so twisted up. that was interesting to me to see that. host: we should point out that the convention was late august, to be timed with lyndon johnson's birthday. of course, he was not the nominee in 1968.
you heard that exchange where they said let's move it to late september. guest: first of all, that is wonderful footage illustrating how torn apart, not just the whole country, but what political party was torn apart. outside the convention center, reporters were being beaten up by mayor daley's police because they were simply doing a job. you asked before about walter cronkite.- walter walter cronkite in the late 1960's, was regarded by 83 scent percent of the american people as the most trusted man in america. not the most trusted anchorman, the most trusted man, period, in america. he would end each broadcast with "and that is the way it is." and people believed that that is the way it is because of walter cronkite said it. but you listen to his
commentary. he is calm, explaining what is going on. he is not interjecting his opinion into it. guest: he was emotionally very moved by the fact that dan rather and other cbs reporters were being manhandled by the police right there on the floor of the convention. host: going back to political figures you covered at that time, richard nixon went on to become president. he was nominated for a second time after losing in 1960. guest: when i first photographed him, it was at mission bay after the republican convention, where they come out to san diego to formulate campaign strategy. i photographed him with spiro agnew looking very chummy. this is one of my favorite shots.
because of agnew, i ended up in the white house because gerald ford replaced him after he resigned in 1973. that is how i became the white house photographer. my first time cover was in the minority leader for's first time cover. host: randy is joining us from clearwater, florida. caller: yes, hello. i wanted to respond to a couple of the black callers. they were saying, you know, white supremacy and all this other stuff. if you remember, starting when we only had three tv channels , with three anchors, they would not tell you that the democratic
party were the ones who were the segregationists, who were the ku klux klan, you know, like 95% of them. and they, you know, compared to the republican conservatives who were offering opportunity. but the democrats were, you know, saying, you know, that they hate you. they don't want you to succeed. host: ok, randy. i'll jump in and get a response. guest: i don't want to get to the political side of it, but it is a fact that, for a period of time after world war ii, most of the southern states were represented by democrats in the congress.
at that very same time, there were some of the worst anti-black rioting, lynching that did take place and one became associated with the other. host: deborah in virginia, good morning. democrats like. --hshund democrats line democrats line. caller: good morning. i am a frequent caller. i've been saving my call to try to say something positive. i was a democrat for many years. i did leave after this last election and became independent. i want to thank the two gentlemen for being here today. photojournalism is something that seems to be on the wayside right now. it is so important. i am a little bit of a sophomore-ish photographer myself. i was a sophomore in high school we lost two classmates
from the class of 1968 vietnam. here we were prepared to go to college. it had a huge impact. i think my generation suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder from this. i watched this vietnam thing that is on pbs are now. i had to turn it off because it draws so much for me. but i want to thank them for their work and for all the photos they have done. i think they are brave for being here after what the press has been going through lately. i do want to say one more thing for the black gentleman who called. i think it is very difficult for any white person to understand -- you can say, well, i'm not prejudiced. we will never have any idea what the black people have gone through. we did not experience it. we will never know. my daughter had a friend who used to say to her, you have no idea what it is like to go
through a revolving door and have her white mother whole her daughter away from you because she will get contaminated. host: ken burns will be joining us next week. guest: i would take exception to the fact that photojournalism has gone by the wayside. it has not. there are still photographers on the front line of history every single day. an example i used earlier was just the median of north and south going back and forth throughout the line on the dmz in korea. there is an image, photographers are outshining lights in the
corners of the world that people need to see. there may be some dilution. everybody is a photographer now. but not everybody is a professional photographer, taking risks, putting their lives on the line to report the truth, which is the way i look at it. i think it is alive and well. like you are saying, it is a different world from your newspapers or television. you can get it from a lot of different angles. host: your reaction to the cover story of life magazine june 14, 1968, following the assassination of senator robert f. kennedy. what does this image tell you? guest: the photo is by bill everts, by the way. what it says to me, in a way, the poor kennedy family, a family that, in the 1960's, was like a starburst.
an awful lot of people were excited about john kennedy and the way in which he governed and then he was killed. and then robert kennedy comes along and becomes a senator and he will run in 1968 and he will take on lyndon johnson, a guy he really did not like. and then robert kennedy is killed. so you look at a picture like that, of somebody skipping off across a beach, and it is two things. it is the excitement of being on a beach and running there, and at the same time, it is the end in a sense of a major chapter in the kennedy clan. host: we have some of your photographs from the ambassador hotel that evening. senator kennedy winning the california primary. tell us what happened. guest: just very quickly, to go back to the photo, the photographer who did that life cover, which was on in oregon
beach, that's where i come from. when i first photographed robert kennedy, it was 1966. i had never seen a big political figure like that. there was a photographer at the edge of this very crowded room. he looked like he was traveling with that group. i went over to him and i said how do you get through these crowds? he said hang onto my coat, kid. he took me through and put me up on this place. here's your photo. you will see the crowd in the background and the senator in the foreground. that was bill everts helping out a kid out, 19 years old. flashforward, i was at the ambassador hotel that night. the photo of him giving the v sign was after he won the
california primary. he had won the oregon primary the week before that. that little v happened so fast. ron bennett was the other upi photographer. he was in the room. he went off the stage with him. when i heard that the senator had been shot, i ran outside. i got this photograph of ethel in the ambulance. it was one of the worst nights in american history. it was one of the worst nights for me because i met and talked with robert kennedy that very evening. this is bill berry, who was his bodyguard, a former fbi agent, who was at his side all the time. there was nothing he could do. this guy popped out of the crowd and shot the senator. when robert kennedy's body was being put on a plane, this is former first lady jacqueline kennedy at the airport. this is a woman who had experienced this tragedy before. these are all pictures i took as
a young guy, photographing history and watching a nightmare unfold. host: we should point out that ethel kennedy turned 90 years old. back to your phone calls, jenny in honolulu, hawaii. caller: good morning, thank you david and marvin. i have to wonder about you guys. you have not mentioned bob dylan . he inspired our generation. in 1968 he wasn't in and out public but we were suffering from some kind of separation anxiety. on fm radio, his songs were laying every 15 minutes.
awareness ofescape what he had had to say about american mill terrorism bin be thing in 1962 and 1963 and 1964 and 1965 and you haven't figured it out yet. host: i was still in high school. caller: the title of philosophy in the christian era. he was a profit. host: thank you. goip boll dillon -- bob dylan was one of the great once, of course. but we can't mention everything that had to do with the year 196 . she's right. that's why he was aawarded the nobel prize. he was a great poet and put
things in pept and he's still at it, which i applaud. host: republican line, caller from texas. caller: thank you. i remember the 1960's distinctly. 'm 82 years old. the 1964 democratic convention i remember very well. they would get it and make a speech and the c-network would interpret what they said and it was a big joke at work. what the person said from the poet yum and what they reported was totally different and we laughed about it at work how much difference there was. i had a neighbor who got so upset watching it, he threw a show through the television. the broadcasts during the 1960's were financed by the kgb.
this came out after the soviet union collapsed and this was all paid for by the russians back then. host: david, you're laughing. guest: i'm sorry, i don't believe that. host: let me turn to a story you did cover in 1968. the invasion of czechoslovakia. august of 1968. celt the stage, what was happening in the cold war, what were our relations like with the soviet union and why was this a significant development? guest: well, 1960 had brought to a head a number of things in the cold war. it intentionified the tensions between the two sides and everybody in the west assumed that because the russians had a very major force in eastern europe it was there essentially to threaten the west but not actually to take action against the west but on october 20 of
68, the russians moved takes tanks into prague, the capital of czechoslovakia. i happened at that time to have been on vacation. i was on the outer edge of long island. i got a call from walter cronkite -- cronkite and i said did you hear the news? i said no. he said the russians have moved into czechoslovakia. i said ooh. he said ooh is right. we want you back. you're going to be the lead on the program that night. take as much time as you like but explain why the russians would move west at this point. i knew walter did not mean take as much time as you like. that was like a minute 20. but i was thinking about it and i assumed that the american president in the russian mind
was so consumed with the vietnam war. we communists in europe would could move west and take advantage of the american preoccupation with the car washingtonner in vietnam and that that was one of the major reasons they moved. there were others. i wrote the piece up. handed it in about 1:00 in the afternoon. walter reed it, thought it was terrific. in those days you had to get in front of the camera, the film had to be processed all that stuff. and then about a quarter to 6:00 in the afternoon he called me and said sorry to tell you this but we just got some footage of a fire in new orleans. we really want to run that footage of a fire and i knew that there was no point in arguing with him. i said how much time are you going to give me? he said can you explain why the russians moved into czechoslovakia in 45 seconds?
i said sure. ic -- i can do in it 45 seconds. and it was sort of soliloquy but that was the nature of the news then. if you had footage of a great fire new orleans, you're going to run that footage and that was on the day that the russians moved in. host: were you still the lead? guest: yeah, but it was 45 -- host: robert in missouri. you're nerkt. caller: good morning, gentlemen, how you doing? host: good morning. caller: i'm really enjoying the program this morning. as black american, i remember when president kennedy -- military during the cuban mitchell crisis because i respected the heck out of kennedy but i remember the civil rights problems that were having. he decided that he was going to take and give black citizens in this country dignity.
and i remember in 1964 lyndon johnson said well, you're going to give minorities civil rights and voting rights and he said that that would cause a lot of southern democrats to leave the democratic party and go to the republican party and ruin that party. and from that point to now, all of those speeches transfered republican party and they carried that hate and -- over to the republican party and from that point on, every republican president from nicks be to the president time -- xon to the president time, bigotry and d in can't get the solid support of our -- hoich robert, thank you for
calling. you teed up perfectly with what we were going to talk about next, the turner report. he talked about how african-americans were viewed and what was happening in the media. let me share with you what this report concluded in 1968 by governor otto kerner. we have found a significant imbalance between what actually happened in our cities and what the media coverage told us. the news media have failed to analyze and report adequately on racial problems in the united states and as a related party -- matter, to meet the negros' expectations in journalism. they've failed to given black and white audiences a sense of the problems america stayses -- faces and the south sources of potential solutions. this goes to the caller's points. your reaction? guest: well, i think they were right. and i will admit to being, as a young photographer at that time any 1968 i didn't cover
race rates in l.a. so i don't have firsthand experience other than what i was reading in the paper. marvin might have a better bead on that. guest: the point is that the caller makes a number of very poignant points and they ought to be taken very seriously and what could -- one could make the argument that the kind of to deal with ed the issue of racism in the united states is so profound and so deep that it would require almost stonlt constants coverage to get to the heart of the
problem. i think in fairness to the press, it has done a remarkable job in moving toward a solution -- to that problem. what the kern admission said about the filings of the press to report this issue, i think they were right then. i think they're right today. but it would be foolish to ignore this -- there has been enormous progress. the number of african-americans who are reporting today as anchor people. key people of the three major newscasts in the evening. one is being done by an african-american so it isn't as if the issue is ignored or shelved. it is being addressed but it is so profound that yes, it still needs more coverage. host: 1968 c-span 3's american history tv. our special series, also here on c-span's "wall street journal." don is joining news california, bakersfield. go ahead, please.
caller: yes, i wanted to comment on the time frame also of 1968 where once robert kennedy passed away and pretty much tore the heart out of the american beliefs in the truth and david hit on that earlier about what we believe the journalists do and that is to bring the truth out and that they should have more influence and congress should listen to them and that whole era pretty much has caused the concerns and beliefs, i believe, that we don't trust the government. i can remember in 1970 with nixon, a group of us, 12, sat down with our envelopes from the military and we saluted with a shot and we all opened them all at the same time to see what our draft number was. i grew up in the heart of
detroit so i lived through all of they area but there's a definite not trusting the government and we're seeing it today as then. i'm open to your comments. thank you. host: thank you. and, of course, the bookends from this period, the vietnam war and then watergate. guest: well, watergate and then to now where you have this relentless attack on the first amendment and the press and -- i can't tell you how deeply offensive that is to me, having gone through, you know, first hand experiences with my colleagues being killed in the line of duty, not reporting fake news. that's for sure. watergate really ripped it for people and it took gerald ford, a fairly mild-manered congressman, who was a world war
ii hero whose office was right across the hall from j.f.k. they were both navy veterans from the pacific, to bring it back into perspective and donald rumsfeld, who was the chief of staff for gerald r. ford, has a new book coming out in a couple of weeks called "the center held." it's talking about formed had been a center playing football but he held the line against the rip in the fabric that was caused by watergate. it's a great testimony to our system. i mean, if we can survive, that we can survive anything. host: we're going to feature that book on c-span 2's book tv and he'll be sitting down with vice president dick cheney and the taping is scheduled for early next month. guest: cheney was the one that had to tribe all of his little notes with the conversations with the president. the whole book is about the
memos he wrote at the time. i've reeled it and it's a good book. host: let's hope you tune into that. john in illinois -- illinois, good morning. caller: good morning, fellows. steve, we talked about in 19 5 when king marched in chicago, we also marched on the east side. i made the front page of the local newspaper protesting king's march on the east side that. photograph changed my life in 1968 i was 18 years old. me and my gang went downtown to beat up hippies and protesters. that's what daley was telling us to do. i had a conversation with a hippy, changed my outlook on the demonstrators and all that stuff. they said you're full of baloney. three months later i was smart enough to talk three of my marine o join the
corps. we came back with all our fingers, all our toes. they said you call for help, you don't care who comes. it doesn't matter. it could be short, tall, black, brown, green. those kind of things changed my life. i learned not to be prejudiced. comment, talk to me. guest: i love you. [laughter] host: i want to go back to another piece of film from the democratic convention but before we show, that what was happening on the republican side? how was the g.o.p. convention that year in miami beach? guest: i wasn't there but david douglas duncan did an incredible photo essay of inside with nixon -- duncan tooing the great korean war photos and all that. he'd known nixon in the pacific when he was also in the navy out there.
and his photographs of inside the nixon campaign, inside the convention and inside the democrats, it's a fantastic photo book and all i know is what i saw from those photographs and it was a hell of a lot more orderly than democrats, which is probably one of the reasons nixon, it helped his campaign. host: one more from the democratic convention in chicago courtesy of cbs news, and here's walter cronkite. there ailey, are -- is going to be any delay in the convention as a result of what's going on downtown? >> i'm here with the delegation. i haven't been watching television and somebody handed me something. >> yes, a rather large disturbance downtown and there's thought that some of these delegations are caucusing now
not to come back tomorrow because of what they call the police state tactics used around the convention hall and downtown. >> i assume the people who are here, making sure that there was no interruption in the convention itself. after all, this is a very serious convention. we're going to nominate the next president of the united states here. >> mr. bailey, the charge is undue force being used by police and national guard. yes, i know nothing about it. i've been here on the front row with my connecticut delegation and on the podium where i'm going now. >> no delay in the delegation? >> i'm sure the president will be nominated tonight and tomorrow the vice president. >> thank you, mr. bailey. john baley, chairman of the democratic party and quite a crush here as reports -- reporters attempt to ask him what's going on and with all the reports of undue force being
used. he was reading a news report and looked ramp amazed and interested as did some of the people standing with him. host: marvin kalb, this is pre-cable, pre-c-span, the networks carrying these conventions almost gavel to gavel. guest: that's right and the was a -- it was a very exciting experience to watch that and also interesting watching mr. bailey engaging in what's called gap.redibility he claims he knew nothing about that but it was all over television at the time. he was claiming that he knew nothing. he was on gap. he the front seat doing his job. this was nonsense and the american people watching that knew it because they had seen what was going on inside and outside the convention. this is one of those things, that when people look back upon 1968 and try to answer questions
today about a lack of faith in the u.s. government, why don't we believe what it is that a president says or a senator says. i'm not saying if you went want -- back to 196 you'd get all the answers but you'd get some of the answers because that's where it was spawned. that's where this whole idea of power talking lies to people rather than journalists trying to find out what the heck was going on and telling it as truthfully as they could. host: jack, republican line. good morning. >> -- caller: good morning. 50 years ago in june, my wife and i were married and the day we were married i listened to teddy kennedy's eulogy on his brother. thought it was the best speech i had ever heard, that's it. guest: congratulations for 50 years, that's a real landmark, being married that long.
host: that speech that senator kennedy delivered in new york at st. patrick's cathedral. guest: it was one of the great speeches that teddy kennedy ever game and he was capable of doing great speeches and i think that people over the years learned about this great skill that he had, which was something in the kennedy genes and i think at that particular time, people realized that ted kennedy had taken upon himself the responsibility of being the leader of the kennedy clan and people in the political world also recognized that and kennedy himself changed at that point. there was the chappaquiddick incident after that but he became a full person and a full politician when he suddenly realized that there were none of his brothers around any longer and he was the kid called upon to be the senior member of the
clan and i think, as a senator, most everybody right and left would agree that ted kennedy was an extraordinary senator. after that time. host: next calmer is william from new york city. good morning, welcome to the conversation. caller: all right. yes. i would just like to say for the -- yes,hat kennedy lost i'd just like to correct the record that kennedy lost the primary in oregon and it was the first time that kennedy had ever lost an election and i'm very surprised neither of your commentators knew that or -- guest: he's right. that was my mistake. as a native oregonian, i like to think everybody comes away a winner from oregon.
[laughter] you're totally correct. gene mccarthy won that but then kennedy recovered in california but good catch on that. host: jeff from illinois. good morning, independence line. caller: good morning, steve. thank you very much. i appreciate c-span's programming. today in having the courage to examine the immediate rey's role in america -- media's role in america today. and c-span is doing a great job in making sure we have balanced coverage. this question is for marvin. marvin, i've watched your work and i appreciate the intellectual and objective approach that you take to examining stories and you did mention that the media has done a good job in moving america forward in terms of racial progress and i do agree with that but i'm curious to know from you, do you think that the local press is doing enough to
make sure that they're not putting negative images before the american people that cast latinos and african-americans in a very negative light and causing primarily white aericans to look at them from negative perspective. and i just don't any that the intellectual grit and analysis that you put into your stories are taking place locally and that's what drives a lot of the desings -- dissension and anger in this country. i'm going to hang up and listen to your thoughts. thank you. guest: you're right. a lot of the polling data indicates that most americans get their news from local news and mostly local television news so that's absolutely right and therefore that puts a huge responsibility on the people who run local news as to what they put on the air.
if there's an imbalance, if they put too much negative associated with one group, that's wrong. and it's bad journalism and it simply isn't true. but at the same time, if it is a fact that something negative is associated with african-american community, hispanic community, you have to report that. that is also part of the news and my own feeling is that for the most part, exceptions taken into account, for the most participate, news people locally and on network level try to do the best job job that they can. host: what did walter cronkite think of richard nicks than 1988? guest: there were two walter cronkite's there. the one on the air who was objective and told it as it is. walter halls had a feeling -- i don't know how he voted but if i
had to guess, i would say that cronkite was a reluctant democrat in that his instincts would go to the liberal side on domestic affairs but he was very tough on foreign affairs and it was very difficult for him to say that the war in vietnam was stalemated because that meant that the united states was not winning and that was something walter cronkite rebeled against. he reveled in the fact of america winning. guest: he was a world war ii guy. guest: absolutely. host: the space program was flourishing in 1988. guest: yes, and i was mainly watching this one on television. i-didn't get a chance to photograph him at that point but it was a big story and the russians were doing remarkable things at that time too and one of the ones i remember was that
when the united states was sending one of its first rockets to the moon, i was called back from moscow to go to came commave california 1/2 rell to help report the story with walter and that was soliloquy because he knew the entire story. i really did not. but the idea was that space was open to both superpowers at that time and there was a recognition in our coverage that we understood that the russians would also play a major role, not just the u.s. host: this photograph from christmas eve, 1968, kind of a capstone to a very tumultuous year. you can see the view of earth from space. guest: also what happened in 196 christmas, the crew of the uss pueblo was let go by the north koreans and i think it's worth talking about right now. commander lloyd bucher and i was in san diego when the crew came
off of the airplane there and they were playing "the lonely bull," which was the theme song, apparently, of the crew. it was one of the most emotional things i'd ever seen and now flash forward to possible peaceful peace breaking out on the korean peninsula. i'll never forget what happened n 1968 on christmas with the fledloe crew. host: our last call from florida. quick question, tom. caller: definitely. it's great listening to you. i am a student of history, have a degree of history so i've studied 1968 very well. just a quick comment and then a question. unfortunately i do worry that the media today is not close to what you guys were in the 1960's because i see a lot of terminology, they're redefining the terms where it excuse the language.
we're talking about illegal aliens but we say undocumented workers to try to skew the discussion. when president trump said something about both sides being wrong in charlottesville, we hear about it's the evil -- but we never hear about the evil left in the media. guest: radical left, rad -- i'm right, these are terms used to review processes. i find it difficult most of the time to look at steve scully, for example, are you a democrat or a republican? i don't have a clue and frankly i don't care. i don't think so you professionally do your job, which you do so well. that is the key. look at the result at what a reporter does and at the end of the day, if you think that that reporter has done as good a job as a human being can do, that's enough.
host: boast -- both of you, as you look back at 1988, what are the lessons when it comes to the media? guest: i was glad to get out of it -- alive. i think we've come a long way. honestly i've been doing it so long, i'm still doing it. i work for cnn now covering politics. photographing politics and i love my colleagues. i think we still have a band of brothers and sisters who are out there telling the truth and are president obama: people and in he case of being a photographer, if you put and hing -- into a photo take it out you get fired. the "new york times" and the services and all these people really hold the line of integrity. host: marvin kalb, you have the last word. guest: i think that journalism
in 1968 learned one huge lesson in that its government, the government of the united states, when it wished, to could lie. could lie directly to the american people using the press as the middle man and the press therefore had a responsibilities to speak truth toe power and to understand when power was lying and to speak truth to the american people. host: marvin kalb from w thinks signature red tie. and mar far photographer and later in the white house with gerald ford and now with cnn. thank you to both of you for being with us. guest: thanks a lot, steve. >> our series "1988: america in turmoil" is available as a podcast. u can find it on our website c-span.org/history. this is american history tv, only on c-span 3. next, we interview wofford
college history professor mark byrnes talked about the influence of radio on world war ii-era politics in this interview recorded at the organization of american historians' annual meeting in sacramento, california. this is about 20 minutes. mark burns is a professor of history at wofford college. let me begin by asking, where was america in 1930's on the eve of world war ii, where was radio? it was inbyrnes: 1930's that they really had national media. anyone, basically anywhere in america could hear the same thing and that had never happened before in