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Monday, September 1, 2008

Seeing Is Believing

In 1968, as the Vietnam War was at its height, no newscaster was more respected in the United States than Walter Cronkite [left]. Dutifully, he had been reporting on the US incursion based on Government-supplied information. But he began hearing reports from colleagues on the scene that led him to question exactly what was happening in that corner of Southeast Asia. As an "old school" journalist [he had reported with distinction during World War II a quarter-century earlier], Cronkite wanted to explore these stories himself. He finally persuaded CBS [the network he worked for] to send him to Vietnam, and report from the war zone. While there, he spoke to officers and enlisted men, official and unofficial sources. And he came to a disturbing conclusion; he, and the rest of the American people, were being lied to.



In his reports from Vietnam, and his reporting on the War thereafter, Cronkite was a changed man. In an editorial, he said what many on the scene had said; the War, as it was being fought, was unwinnable. His coverage changed the opinions of many at home.

Something similar happened a few years ago, when Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast region of the United States, with special destruction reserved for the city of New Orleans. Journalists on the scene saw the destruction and death, and were amazed that the Government attempted to say, "All is well".Their reports reflected what they saw and heard.

Now that region, still rebuilding from Katrina, is about to be challenged again. AS this is being written, Hurricane Gustav is about twelve hours from reaching land in the Gulf. To be fair, the lessons learned from Katrina are bearing fruit. New Orleans, a city built below sea level, has been evacuated. The Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] is on the scene. Equipment and the military are there [it's a pity so many are unavailable, fighting another unwinnable war]. Once again, the Gulf region, and the world, holds its breath.

Those of you who pray, or meditate, or believe in positive thinking: please send your thoughts to New Orleans and environs. No area should go through what they have gone through.

Again.

-Mike Riley










2 comments:

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