Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cronkite, Muskie, and Rollins College in 1969

YahooNews obtained, through FOIA, some redacted FBI documents relating to Walter Cronkite, and the anti-war movement in 1969:

[Redacted] told group he had been to CBS Channel Six in Orlando prior to meeting to speak to newsmen about Vietnam moratorium activities. [Redacted] related that while at TV station, Walter Cronkite, nationally known radio and television commentator, spoke to him by telephone for approximately forty five minutes and that Cronkite reportedly told [redacted] that CBS would have thirty six hours of coverage on Vietnam moratorium with "open mike" to give demonstrators a chance to be heard. Cronkite noted, according to [redacted], that Senator Edmund Muskie would be in Orlando, Fla., November 13 instant for Democratic fund raising dinner. According to [redacted], Cronkite suggested that [redacted] attempt to Muskie to come [sic] to Cape Kennedy to speak at Kelly Park rally to be held November thirteen instant. Cronkite allegedly told [redacted] that CBS would rent helicopter to take Muskie to and from site of rally at Kelly Park.

The Kelly Park in question is along the Banana River, as distinct from the Kelly Park near Apopka. The demonstrators in question were from Youth for New America at Rollins College, with Rollins College somewhat of a haven for the affluent. A problematic point is the suggestion that Cronkite purportedly offered CBS resources to the demonstrators, but there is no verification of whether this did, or did not, happen.

As to patent law, the evidentiary value of some documents can be open to question. With the Cronkite story, the notes are of verbal reports from an informer, who might have been telling the FBI what it wanted to hear. In the case of internal company reports, used in patent litigation, the author might have been telling management what it wanted to hear, as (possibly) opposed to what actually happened.

As a related point, newsman Ben Aycrigg of Orlando's WDBO Channel 6 was a Rollins grad:

He's been called the "Walter Cronkite of Orlando." And for 35 years, that's the way it was. Ben Aycrigg was the face Channel 6 news for many Central Floridians. He reported with authority and knowledge as someone who grew up in the region. After graduating from Winter Park High School in 1944, Aycrigg began work at WDBO-AM as a radio announcer. He went on to attend Rollins College, and after graduation he landed at job at WLOF-Channel 9 as a reporter in 1959. He worked there two years before jumping across town to the more popular WDBO-Channel 6 -- the start of a long and distinguished career.
[from ] A vivid memory of Aycrigg was his reporting of Orange County election results in the '60s when Republicans started winning elections and Aycrigg almost broke down in tears (with despair). Being called the Walter Cronkite of Orlando could have a double meaning to some.

In passing, the yahoo story notes --Cape Kennedy (now known as Cape Canaveral) --, but does not get into the history of the name, which history reveals an interesting federal/state dispute. From wikipedia:

From 1963 to 1973 [Cape Canaveral] was called Cape Kennedy. President John F. Kennedy set the goal of landing on the moon. After his assassination in 1963, his widow Jacqueline Kennedy suggested to President Lyndon Johnson that renaming the Cape Canaveral facility would be an appropriate memorial. However, Johnson recommended the renaming not just of the facility, but of the entire cape. Accordingly, Cape Canaveral was renamed Cape Kennedy.

Although the name change was approved by the United States Board on Geographic Names of the Interior Department in 1964, it was not popular in Florida, especially in the city of Cape Canaveral. In 1973 the state passed a law restoring the former 400-year-old name, and the board went along. The Kennedy family issued a letter stating they "understood the decision"; Jacqueline Kennedy also stated if she had known that the Canaveral name had existed for 400 years, she never would have supported changing the name. The NASA center, Kennedy Space Center, retains the "Kennedy" name.

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