If Today's Media Covered Past Eras
Have you ever wondered how today's news media would have covered historic events of earlier eras?If current types of journalism were in place generations ago, the coverage might have gone something like this:* "CBS Evening News," Spring 1913.DAN RATHER: "Tensions are high in the nation's capital tonight, hours after a militant march down Pennsylvania Avenue by suffragettes. Police say 3,000 ladies were there. Protest leaders claim twice that number. For some perspective, we turn now to CBS news analyst Laura Ingraham."LAURA INGRAHAM: "Dan, anyone watching the march had to be concerned about the polarization of America. Gender conflict is on the rise. What's next? Refusal to wear corsets? Brassiere burning? Female lawyers? The latest fashion statements are coming from feminists with an anti-male agenda. It's as though men can't do anything right."RATHER: "But what about the idea that women should have the right to vote, just like men?"INGRAHAM: "Sounds like some kind of envy to me, Dan. Those of us who are secure in our womanhood don't make these demands. We may not like the results of the male electorate, but it's the height of elitist arrogance to assume that other voters could do any better."**** ABC's "This Week," March 1933.SAM DONALDSON: "A new president -- in a wheelchair no less -- entering the White House after a landslide. How's this going to play out? Cokie?"COKIE ROBERTS: "Sam, it's important that our new president avoid doing anything rash. Let's remember, he wisely campaigned on a moderate platform. Now, as usual, some Democrats want to push him to the left. It would be political suicide."GEORGE WILL: "The leveling impulse has always been a hazard to democracy, as Alexis de Tocqueville pointed out a century ago. He warned that Americans were overly enamored with equality, which can only lead to the tyranny of the mob. Right now, I fear for this republic."DONALDSON: "George, surely you're not saying Franklin Roosevelt is dangerous. I mean --"WILL: "Time will tell. There's talk of a federal social-security program. And unemployment insurance. The kind of welfare-state mentality that undermines family values and frays the moral fabric of the free-enterprise system."ROBERTS: "But I'm convinced cooler heads will prevail. That's the word on Capitol Hill."**** Headlines, July 1946.PEOPLE MAGAZINE: "Bob Oppenheimer, the Sexy Brain Behind the Bomb Tests"WALL STREET JOURNAL: "Bikini A-Bomb Blasts Encourage Investors"USA TODAY: "We're Happy About Atomic Weapons!"**** ABC's "20/20," September 1957.HUGH DOWNS: "It's not so easy being a governor these days. Is it, Barbara?"BARBARA WALTERS: "Certainly not if your name is Orval Faubus. I visited him yesterday at the governor's mansion in Little Rock. He was kind and charming. But his life has been quite stressful with all the well-publicized controversy about integration at Central High School. Next: a look inside the private life of the governor of Arkansas, a gentle man in a difficult time."**** "The McLaughlin Group," April 1963.FRED BARNES: "This kind of lawlessness can't be tolerated. It's outrageous."MORTON KONDRACKE: "A big publicity stunt, that's what we're seeing. Some of my gullible colleagues in the press corps are falling for this smear campaign against the city of Birmingham, the state of Alabama and the United States of America. These demonstrations give comfort to our country's enemies."PATRICK BUCHANAN: "The protesters say they want 'civil rights.' What a laugh. They want special rights. If the media would ignore these troublemakers, we'd have some racial tranquility in America. The police measures have been entirely justified."JACK GERMOND: "Gosh, I can't agree with that. Maybe the fire hoses are necessary. But using attack dogs on those young demonstrators seems too extreme."JOHN McLAUGHLIN: "Jack, is that the bleating sound of a bleeding-heart liberal?"KONDRACKE: "Ha ha."BARNES: "Ha ha."Norman Solomon is a syndicated columnist on media and politics. His new book "The Habits of Highly Deceptive Media" is being published in mid-April by Common Courage Press (1-800-497-3207).