A United Boeing 737 crashed into a Chicago residential area (December 8, 1972) during an approach, killing everyone on board, including the wife of Watergate figure E. Howard Hunt. She was reportedly carrying money to silence Watergate witnesses, and carried papers implicating President Richard Nixon in the coverup. A Chicago public-interest group, know as the Citizens Committee believed that Justice Department personnel played a role in the crash of United flight 553, and that they wanted key individuals on flight 553 exterminated. Twelve of the people who boarded United Flight 553 had something in common relating to questionable Justice Department and Watergate activities.
There had been a gas pipeline lobbyist meeting as part of the American Bar Association in Washington, D.C., conducted by Roger Morea. Among the lobbyists attending were attorneys for the Northern Natural Gas Company of Omaha; attorneys for Kansas-Nebraska Natural Gas Company; and the president of the Federal Land Bank in Omaha. The Citizens Committee portrayed these people as a group determined to blow the lid off the Watergate case.
For many years Chicago resident Lawrence O'Connor boarded flight 553 like clockwork. He had no Watergate connections, but he had friends in the White House. On this particular Friday, O'Connor supposedly received a call from someone he knew in the White House, strongly advising him not to take flight 553. The caller advised him to go to a special meeting instead of taking that flight. Whether this was coincidental or to save his life is unknown to me, although the Citizens Committee considers it significant.
U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell, later indicted and sent to federal prison, and the Justice Department were putting pressure on Northern Natural Gas. The firm had subsidiaries that the federal government indicted on federal criminal charges in Omaha, Chicago, and Hammond, Indiana. (September 7, 1972.) Justice Department charges included bribery of local officials in Northwest Indiana and Illinois, to get clearance for installing the pipeline through their state.
Allegedly to blackmail the Justice Department and cause them to drop the charges, the Omaha firm uncovered documents showing that Mitchell, while attorney general in 1969, dropped antitrust charges against a competitor of Northern Natural Gas - El Paso Natural Gas Company. Just before the crash, Carl Kruger, an official with Northern Natural Gas Company, had been browbeating federal officials to drop the criminal charges.
The Citizens Committee alleged that dropping these charges saved the utility 300 million dollars. Simultaneously, Mitchell purchased through a law partner a stock interest in El Paso Natural Gas Company. Gas and oil interests, including El Paso, Gulf Resources, and others, contributed heavily to Nixon's spy fund supervised by Mitchell. The Citizens Committee reported that Kruger had previously been warned he would never live to reach Chicago. Kruger carried these revealing documents on United Flight 553, telling his wife that he had irreplaceable papers of a sensitive nature in his possession. For months after the crash Kruger's widow demanded that United Airlines turn his briefcase over to her.
CBS news reporter Michelle Clark travelled with Mrs. Hunt, doing an exclusive story on Watergate. Ms. Clark had already gained considerable insight into the bugging and coverup through her boyfriend, a CIA operative. Others knew of this exclusive interview, including the Justice Department.
As you may know, the National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating the aircraft accident of the United Air Lines Boeing 737, at Midway Airport, Chicago, on December 8, 1972. Our investigative team assigned to this accident discovered on the day following the accident that several FBI agents had taken a number of non-typical actions relating to this accident within the first few hours following the accident.
Included were: for the first time in the memory of our staff, an FBI agent went to the control tower and listened to the tower tapes before our investigators had done so; and for the-first time to our knowledge, in connection with an aircraft accident, an FBI agent interviewed witnesses to the crash, including flight attendants on the aircraft prior to the NTSB interviews. As I am sure you can understand, these actions, particularly with respect to this flight on which Mrs. E. Howard Hunt was killed, have raised innumerable questions in the minds of those with legitimate interests in ascertaining the cause of this accident. Included among those who have asked questions, for example, is the Government Activities Subcommittee of the House Government Operations Committee. On the basis of informal discussions with the staff of the Committee, it is likely that questions as to what specific actions were taken by the FBI in connection with this aircraft accident, and why such actions were taken, will come up in a public oversight hearing at which the NTSB will appear and which is now scheduled for June 13, 1973.
In order to be fully responsive to the Committee, as well as to be fully informed ourselves about all aspects of this accident so as to assure the complete accuracy of our determination of the probable cause, we would appreciate, being advised of all details with respect to the FBI activities in connection with this accident. We would like to have, for example, the following information: the purpose of the FBI investigation, the reasons for the early response and unusual FBI actions in this case, the number of FBI personnel involved, all investigative actions taken by the agents and the times they took such actions (including the time the first FBI agents arrived on the scene), and copies of all reports and records made by the agents in connection with their investigations (we already have copies of 26 FBI interview reports; any other documents should be provided, therefore).
While we have initiated action at the staff level between our agency and yours to effect better liaison and avoid engaging in efforts which may be in conflict in the future, we have determined that some more formal arrangement in the nature of an interagency memorandum of agreement of understanding, for instance would seem appropriate. It would clearly delineate our respective statutory responsibilities and set forth procedures to eliminate any future conflicts. We would therefore appreciate it if you would designate, at your earliest convenience, an official with whom we may discuss this matter and with the authority to negotiate such a formal agreement with the Safety Board.
In the interim, however; we would like to receive, in advance of the scheduled June 13, 1973, public oversight hearing, the specific information concerning the actions of the FBI in connection with the Midway - accident and the reasons therefore, in order to enable us to be as fully responsive as possible to the House Subcommittee.
Your letter dated June 5, 1973, concerning the FBI's investigation into the crash of a United Air Lines Boeing 737 at Midway Airport, Chicago, Illinois, on December 8, 1972, has been received.
The FBI has primary investigative jurisdiction in connection with the Destruction of Aircraft or Motor Vehicles (DAMV) Statute, Title 18, Section 32, U.S. Code, which pertains to the willful damaging, destroying or disabling of any civil aircraft in interstate, overseas or foreign air commerce. In addition, Congress specifically designated the FBI to handle investigations under the Crime Aboard Aircraft (CAA) Statute, Title 49, Section 1472, US Code, pertaining, among other things, to aircraft piracy, interference with flight crew members and certain specified crimes aboard aircraft in flight, including assault, murder, manslaughter and attempts to Commit murder or manslaughter.
FBI investigation of the December 8, 1972 United Air Lines crash was instituted to determine if a violation of the DAMV or CAA Statutes had occurred and for no other reason. The fact that Mrs. Howard Hunt was aboard the plane was unknown to the FBI at the time our investigation was instituted.
It has been longstanding FBI policy to immediately proceed to the scene of an airplane crash for the purpose of developing any information indicating a possible Federal violation within the investigative jurisdiction of the FBI. In all such instances liaison is immediately, established with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) personnel upon their arrival at the scene.
Approximately 50 FBI Agents responded to the crash scene, the first ones arriving within 45 minutes of the crash. FBI Agents did interview witnesses to the crash, including flight attendants. Special Agent (SA) Robert E. Hartz proceeded to the Midway Airport tower shortly after the crash to determine if tower personnel could shed any light as to the reason for the crash. On arriving at the tower, SA Hartz identified himself as an FBI Agent and explained the reason for his presence. He was invited by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) personnel at the tower to listen to the recording made at the tower of the conversation between the tower and United Air Lines Flight 553. At no time did SA Hartz request to be allowed to listen to the tapes. After listening to the tapes, SA Hartz identified a sound as being that of the stall indicator on the aircraft. The FAA agreed that SA Hartz was right and immediately notified FAA Headquarters at Washington, D.C.
The FBI's investigation in this matter was terminated within 20 hours of the accident and on December 11, 1972, Mr. William L. Lamb, NTSB, was furnished with copies of the complete FBI investigation pertaining to this crash after it was determined there was apparently no violation of the DAM or CAA Statutes.
In order to avoid the possibility of any misunderstanding concerning our respective agencies' responsibilities and to insure continued effective liaison between the NTSB and the FBI, I have designated SA Richard F. Bates, Section Chief, Criminal Section, General Investigative Division, FBI Headquarters, Washington, DC, telephone number 324-2281, to represent the FBI concerning any matters of mutual interest.
Michele Clark moved into Marc Sommer's commune on S Street and Craig Spratt was always around, as often as not underfoot in the opinions of everybody except me. With my removal to Vermont pending just as soon as I could manage it, Marshall and Michele were the only really permanent people willing to stay in Washington, and the news service had grown to need at least a dozen full-time workers in order to maintain its established pace, and more if it was to grow...
Michele Clark, mid-20s, married to a New York City film-maker, and herself from the Bread and Puppet Theater. Michele has the longest, frizziest, wonderful brown hair and a throaty laugh. She was one of the many who hit Church Street while just passing through town, one of the few who stayed; and by the time she arrived in March of 1968, we were already talking about getting out. I saw my younger self in her face as she advanced all the arguments for our staying in Washington - guerrillas in enemy territory, keep an eye on the bastards, etc. After LNS split, Michele went to Cuba, where she met a man named Mungo, and then to Cambridge, Mass., where she taught school for a while. I don't know where she is now, but sure wish I did.
Based on the facts agreed upon by both sides, it is at least apparent from these letters (see above) that the FBI was all over Dorothy Hunt at the time of the crash, despite Ruckelshaus's, protest that Dorothy Hunt's presence on 553 was "unknown to the FBI at that time." There is no obvious way such a large response as fifty agents within the hour could have been generated from a standing start as of the moment of the crash itself. The closest FBI office is forty minutes from the crash site and there are never fifty agents available at once without warning. It is tradition that FBI agents do not gather in offices waiting for calls but stay in the field. When a really obvious intelligence agent, Hungarian Freedom Fighter Lazlo Hadek, died in a crash the next summer at Boston's Logan Airport, leaving a trail of secret NATO nuclear documents strewn down the center of the runway, the FBI was barely able to get a solitary agent to the scene on the same day as the wreck. That this same FBI could get fifty agents to the scene of the Chicago crash within an hour is to my mind an arresting piece of information. How could the FBI have done this if it had not had Dorothy Hunt's airplane, for whatever reason, under full company-scale surveillance before the crash ever happened? And why might the FBI have been doing that?
Note in this connection that it was specifically the airplane itself that was being followed; and not the person of Dorothy Hunt. That is, no FBI agent was aboard the plane. If the FBI was tailing Dorothy Hunt, why was she not being followed on the plane? Was it that her flight was too sudden? But it was delayed on the ground for fifteen minutes. Michelle Clark of CBS, who was on the same flight, knew she was going to be on it and may have been her companion in the first-class cabin. The Hunts took enough time at the airport to buy $250,000 worth of flight insurance.
Ruckelshaus does not meet Reed's main questions. He reads the book with a straight face as though Reed had asked him what were the statutory grounds of the FBI intervention instead of why, suddenly, this time and no other time, and so massively, and hence with such a semblance of advance contrivance, were these grounds taken up and acted upon. One understands that the FBI will always be able to - demonstrate a rudimentary legal basis for whatever it takes it its head to do. What we want to know is where these whims arid fancies bubble up from.
We wonder finally what in the world made the FBI think S53's crash might have been a case of "willful disabling of a Civil aircraft," or of "crimes aboard aircraft , in flight including assault, murder, and manslaughter"? Not that any of this necessarily happened or did not, but the FBI does not usually behave as if it might have. Does it? How does Ruckelshaus account for this, especially in view of his assertion that the FBI acted with no knowledge of Dorothy Hunt's presence? What was the chain-of-command activity and what were the reasons that had so many FBI agents waiting to move when that plane came down?
John Dean: Kalmbach raised some cash.
Richard Nixon: They put that under the cover of a Cuban committee, I suppose?
John Dean: Well, they had a Cuban committee and they... some of it was given to Hunt's lawyer, who in turn passed it out. You know, when Hunt's wife was flying to Chicago with $10,000 she was actually, I understand after the fact now, was going to pass that money to one of the Cubans - to meet him in Chicago and pass it to, somebody there.... You've got then, an awful lot of the principals involved who know. Some people's wives know. Mrs. Hunt was the savviest woman in the world. She had the whole picture together.
Richard Nixon: Did she?
John Dean: Yes. Apparently, she was the pillar of strength in that family before the death.
Richard Nixon: Great sadness. As a matter of fact there was discussion with somebody about Hunt's problem on account of his wife and I said, of course commutation could be considered on the basis of his wife's death, and that is the only conversation I ever had in that light.
Of the more than a dozen suspicious deaths in the case of Watergate... perhaps the most significant death was that of Dorothy Hunt in the crash of United Air Lines in December 1972. The crash was investigated for possible sabotage by both the FBI and a congressional committee, but sabotage was never proven. Nevertheless, some people assumed that Dorothy Hunt was murdered (along with the dozens of others in the plane). One of these was Howard Hunt, who dropped all further demands on the White House and agreed to plead guilty (to the Watergate burglary in January 1973).
It was at 2:29 PM on Friday, December 8, 1972, during the height of the Watergate scandal that United Airlines flight 553 crashed just outside of Chicago during a landing approach to Midway Airport. Initial reports indicated that the plane had some sort of engine trouble when it descended from the clouds. But the odd thing about this crash is what happened after the plane went down. Witnesses living in the working-class neighborhood in which the plane crashed said that moments after impact, a battalion of plainclothes operatives in unmarked cars parked on side streets pounced on the crash-site. These so-called 'FBI types' took control of the scene and immediately began sifting through the wreckage looking for something. At least one survivor recognized a "rescue worker"--clad in overalls sifting through wreckage - as an operative of the CIA.
One day after the crash, the Whitehouse head of Nixon's "plumber's" outfit - Egil Krogh, Jr. - was made undersecretary of transportation, a position that put him in a direct position to oversee the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Agency which are both authorized by law to investigate airline crashes. Krogh would later be convicted of complicity in the break-in of Daniel Ellsberg's Psychiatrist's office along with Hunt, Liddy and a small cast of CIA-trained and retained Cuban black-bag specialists.
About a month after Krogh's new assignment, Nixon's appointments secretary, Dwight Chapin, was made an executive in the Chicago office of United Airlines, where he threatened the media to steer clear of speculation about sabotage in the crash. On December 19th - eleven days after the crash - Nixon appointed ex-CIA officer, Alexander Butterfield, as head of the FAA. Students of Watergate will remember Butterfield as the Whitehouse official who supervised Nixon's secret taping system and who exposed the existence of the infamous tapes that ultimately would force Nixon to resign.
Ostensibly traveling with Mrs. Hunt on flight 553 was CBS news corespondent Michelle Clark who, rumor had it, had learned from her sources that the Hunts were about to spill the proverbial beans regarding the Nixon whitehouse and its involvement in the Watergate burglary; Clark also died in the crash.
A large sum of money (between $10,000 and $100,000) was found amid the wreckage in the possession of Mrs. Hunt. It was during this time that Dorothy Hunt was traveling around the country paying off operatives and witnesses in the Watergate operation with money her husband had extorted from Nixon via his counsel, John Dean. Hunt had threatened Nixon and Dean with exposing the nature of all the sordid deeds he had done.
Could it be that the fuel for Hunt's blackmail of the president had little to do with the so-called "third-rate burglary" of the Democratic headquarters? Could it have had more to do with the fate of John F. Kennedy and of Nixon's awareness of who was really behind the planning and deployment of his demise? In the Watergate tapes, Nixon displays a malignant paranoia to his chief-of-staff, H. R. Haldeman, concerning E. Howard Hunt and the Bay of Pigs operation...
After reading in the spring of 1991 James Hougan's amazing Watergate book, Secret Agenda, I began a Freedom of Information Act search on certain FBI documents related to the death of Dorothy Hunt. I was especially intrigued by the report by Hougan, that amongst the cash Mrs. Hunt had in her possession, was a $100 bill with the inscription, "Good Luck FS". I immediately suspected that FS could stand for Howard's Watergate co-conspirator and fellow CIA affiliate, Frank Sturgis, and began searching for other crash-material ascribed to Mrs. Hunt from the ill-fated flight.
In Secret Agenda, Hougan describes an engineer, Michael Stevens, proprietor of the Chicago-based Stevens Research Laboratories, as being visited in early May, 1972 by Watergate wireman James McCord who had come to place orders for ten highly-sophisticated eavesdropping devices - much more sophisticated units than the cheap, commercial-grade bugs supposedly found in the DNC the next month in June.
Stevens claims that Dorothy Hunt was traveling to see him in Chicago when her plane went down and that the $10,000 or more she possessed was intended for him as an installment for his silence. Stevens says he told the FBI that his own life had been threatened anonymously and that Hunt's death was a homicide.
After the plane carrying Hunt's wife Dorothy crashed under mysterious circumstances in December 1973, the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board told the House Government Activities Subcommittee that he had sent a letter to the FBI which stated that over fifty agents came into the crash zone. The FBI denied everything until William Ruckleshaus became temporary Director, at which time they admitted that their agents were on the scene. The independent researcher Sherman Skolnick believes that Dorothy Hunt was carrying documents that linked Nixon to the Kennedy assassination. According to Skolnick these papers, which were being used to blackmail Nixon, were seized by the FBI. Skolnick's theory is corroborated by a conversation that allegedly took place between Charles Colson and Jack Caufield.
According to Caufield, Colson told him that there were many important papers the Administration needed in the Brookings Institution and that the FBI had recently adopted a policy of coming to the scene of any suspicious fires in Washington D.C. Caufield believed that Colson was subtly telling him to start a fire at Brookings and the FBI would then steal the desired documents.
Note at this point that one day after the plane crash, White House aide Egil Krogh was appointed Undersecretary of Transportation. This gave him direct control over the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration-the two agencies that would be in charge of investigating the crash. Soon Dwight Chapin, Nixon's Appointment Secretary, became a top executive at United Airlines. Dorothy Hunt was on a United carrier when she made her ill-fated journey.
Sherman Skolnick: CBS News reporter Michelle Clark was on the plane beside Mrs. She was also a friend of Rep. George Collins (D-Ill.) who also died on that crash. At the later hearings, we had the chief assistant of Congressman Collins. Apparently Collins had somehow found out about the Watergate affair before the break-in and had told Michelle Clark about it, and she knew about it.
What happened was that certain people decided to sit on matters for their own financial gain. Here's briefly what happened. I had a mutual friend who knew Ms. Clarke's family. They said that since Michelle had died in the crash, they were going to blow the lid off United Airlines, which is owned largely by the Rockefeller family's Chase Manhattan Bank. They were also going to use this information against CBS (Michelle's employer) which was part of the cover-up.
Using my material they got what was said to be as much as a $5 million settlement from CBS by remaining silent about what the family found out. Cardiss Collins, the widow of Congressman Collins, took his place, and from my information she was in favor of squelching the whole affair.
"This was probably the most investigated airplane crash in history" said Deputy Cook County Coroner John Haigh when he announced the findings of the coroner's jury looking into the crash at Midway Airport. The findings coincided with those of the National Transportation Safety Board: pilot error.
Flight 533 left Washington DC for Omaha, Nebraska stopping in Chicago. Approaching Midway the pilot was instructed by the control tower to execute a "missed approach" pattern. The pilot applied full power to go around for another landing attempt. At 2:27 p.m., 1.5 miles from the airport, Flight 533 hit the branches of trees on the south side of 71st Street. It then hit the roofs of a number of neighborhood bungalows before plowing into the home of Mrs. Veronica Kuculich at 3722 70th Place, demolishing the home and killing her and a daughter, Theresa. The plane burst into flames killing a total of 45 persons, 43 of them on the plane, including the pilot and first and second officers. Eighteen passengers survived.
Among the passengers killed were U.S. Representative George Collins (7th), a former 24th Ward Alderman, and Mrs. Dorothy Hunt. Her husband, E. Howard Hunt, had been indicted on charges of conspiring to break into the Democratic National Committee Headquarters in the Watergate Hotel. Found in the debris was a purse belonging to Mrs. Hunt containing $10,585 in cash. There was immediate concern that the money might be linked to the financial dealings surrounding the Nixon "slush fund" to which defendants in the Watergate case had access and that the crash therefore might be linked to sabotage. In the end sabotage was ruled out, but the mystery surrounding the money and the deaths of such prominent, politically connected individuals insured a very thorough investigation.
The NTSB issued its report after recreating the last minutes of the flight based on the flight and voice recording instruments, interviews with survivors and eyewitnesses on the ground, and physical evidence. According to the report, when Midway's control tower directed the crew to abort the landing and try again, they became distracted and failed to prepare a proper landing. As they attempted to pull the jet from the landing descent, the crew forgot to deactivate the wing spoilers. The plane stalled. And then it crashed.
Upwards of twelve persons connected in one way or another with Watergate, boarded United Air Lines Flight 553 on the afternoon of December 8, 1972. They had something in common. That week there had been a gas pipeline lobbyists meeting as part of the American Bar Association meeting in Washngton, DC It was conducted by Roger Moreau. His secretary was Nancy Parker. Among those attending were Ralph Blodgett and James W. Krueger, both attorneys for the Northern Natural Gas Co., of Omaha, Nebraska. Associated with them were Lon Bayer, attorney for Kansas-Nebraska Natural Gas Co.; Wilbur Erickson, president, Federal Land Bank in Omaha. This was a belligerent group determined to blow the lid off the Watergate case. Reason Former US Attorney General, John Mitchell, and his friends running the Justice Department were putting the spear into Northern Natural Gas. Some officials of that firm and its subsidiaries were indicted on federal criminal charges, September 7, 1972, in Omaha, Chicago, and Hammond, Indiana. Charge bribery of local officials in Northwest Indiana to let the gas pipeline go through. To blackmail their way out of these charges, the Omaha firm had uncovered documents showing that Mitchell, while U.S. Attorney General in 1969, dropped anti-trust charges against a competitor of Northern Natural Gas - El Paso Gas Co. The dropping of the charges against El Paso was worth 300 million dollars. A spokesman for Mitchell belatedly claimed, in March, 1973, that Mitchell had "disqualified" himself in 1969, because Mitchell's law partner represented El Paso. The Justice Department under Mitchell, dropped the charges. Period. About the same time, Mitchell, through a law partner as nominee, got a stock interest in El Paso. Gas and oil interests, such as El Paso, Gulf Resources, and others contributed heavily to Nixon's spy fund, supervised by Mitchell.
Pipeline official Krueger was carrying the Mitchell-El Paso documents on the plane. He had told his wife that he had in his possession irreplaceable papers of a sensitive nature. For months after the crash, his widow demanded, to no avail, that United Air Lines turn over to her his briefcase. It later came out in the pipeline trial in Hammond, that Blodgett had been browbeating federal officials, to drop the criminal charges just prior to the crash. (Our investigation uncovered that most of the local officials, to be government witnesses against the pipeline, were murdered just prior to trial. In all, some five Northwest Indiana officials.)
Dorothy Hunt, Watergate pay-off woman, who offered executive clemency directly on behalf of Nixon to some of the Watergate defendants, was seeking to leave the US with over 2 million dollars in cash and negotiables that she had gotten from CREEP, Committee to Re-Elect the President. (She was so concerned about these valuables, she purchased a separate first class seat next to her on the plane for this luggage.) She and her husband, E. Howard Hunt, the Watergate conspirator, were a "C.I.A. couple", two agents "married" and living together. Early in December, 1972, both were threatening to blow the lid off the White House if (a) he wasn't freed of the criminal charges; (b) Nixon didn't pay heavy to suppress the documents they had showing he was implicated in the planning and carrying out, by the FBI and the CIA, of the political murder of President Kennedy; and (c) Dorothy and Howard Hunt didn't both get several million dollars. Some of these details are in the Memo of Watergate double-agent, James McCord, a CIA official in charge of the Agency's physical security; details before the Senator Ervin Committee. Hunt claimed, according to McCord, to have the data necessary to impeach Nixon. McCord said matters were coming to a head early in December, 1972. Hunt was unhappy with her job of going all over the country to bribe defendants and witnesses in the bugging case. She wanted out.
Mrs. Hunt was on the way to arrange to take her money out of the country, possibly Costa Rica, to link up with international swindler Robert Vesco who was there at the time; through Harold C. Carlstead, whose wife was Mrs. Hunt's cousin. Carlstead reportedly did accounting and tax work for mobster-owned businesses in the Chicago area. He operated two Holiday Inn motels in Chicago's south suburbs - at 174th and Torrence, Lansing, Illinois and at 171st and Halsted, Harvey, Illinois. Carlstead's motel on Torrence was reportedly a favorite hang out for gangsters and dope traffickers such as apparently "Cool" Freddie Smith, Grover Barnes, and the late Chicago mobster Sam DeStefano (who aided the American CIA in bloody tricks and was snuffed out to silence him), to name a few. Hunt had (a) Ten Thousand Dollars in untraceable cash; (b) Forty Thousand Dollars in so-called "Barker" bills, traceable to Watergate spy Bernard Barker; and (c) upwards of Two Million Dollars in American Express money orders, travelers checks, and postal money orders. (As shown by testimony before the National Transportation Safety Board, re-opened Watergate plane crash hearings, June 13-14, 1973. Hearings reopened as a result of my lawsuit claiming sabotage covered up by the N.T.S.B.) Carlstead issued a fake "cover" story that had (only) Ten Thousand Dollars with Mrs. A story swallowed up by the Establishment Press.
Mrs. Hunt got on Flight 553 with Michele Clark, CBS Network newswoman, going to do an exclusive story on Watergate. Hunt, Mitchell, Nixon - the story could have destroyed Nixon at the time. Ms Clark had lots of insight into the bugging and cover-up through her boyfriend, a CIA operative. In the summer of 1972, prior to any major revelations of Watergate, Ms Clark tried to pick the brains of Chicago Congressman George Collins, regarding the bugging of the Democratic headquarters. Ms Clark was sitting with Collins on the plane.
After the crash, Michele Clark's employer, CBS Network News, ordered and demanded that the body be cremated by the southside Chicago mortician handling the matter - possibly to cover up foul play. Later, the mortician was murdered in his business establishment, an unsolved crime. (We interviewed close confidants of her family who informed us of the details how CBS applied tremendous pressure and offered large sums for silence on the crash details and having her body cremated contrary to her family's wishes.)
Also on the plane were four or more people who knew about a labor union that had given a large "donation" to CREEP to head-off an criminal indictment of a Chicago labor union hoodlum (at the time of the book, 1973, actively investigated by us).
For many years, like clockwork, one Chicagoan went to Washington, D.C. on Monday and came back Friday afternoon on Flight 553 or its equivalent Lawrence T. O'Connor, Apt. 5-C, 999 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois. On Friday, December 8, 1972, he received a call from someone he knows in the White House, telling him not to take Flight 553 but to go instead to a special meeting.
My long-time friend, political activist Dick Gregory, informed me that there had been strenuous efforts to steer him that same afternoon onto United Air Lines Flight 553. Luckily, he had changed his mind.
Also getting on Flight 553 was a reputed "hit-man", pursuing Mrs. Hunt and others, and going under the "cover" of being a top Narcotics official with DALE (Drug Abuse Law Enforcement). He used the name Harold R. Metcalf. He is an unusual "narc"; he worked directly for Nixon. Metcalf told the pilot he was packing a gun, and so Metcalf was assigned seat B-17, near the stewardesses' jump seat and also near the food galley and the rear door of the plane. After the crash, he walked out of the cracked open fuselage of the pancaked plane wearing a jumpsuit. A former Military Intelligence investigator, who used his credentials to get into the crash site, identified the person posing as "Harold Metcalf" as an overseas CIA parachute spy. Metcalf evidently supervised certain foul play, possibly cyanide, directed at certain passengers, but he didn't know of the over all sabotage plan. One of our staff investigators confronted Metcalf about a week after the crash: (a) Metcalf, supposedly a government narcotics bigshot, knows nothings about dope. (b) in response to our question, "Did you know the plane was sabotaged?", he blurted out half a sentence, "It was not supposed to....", turning purple, he then left the room. Evidently, he was a double cut-out, an espionage term for an operative to be himself eliminated by someone else. His survival was an oversight.
There were problems, and all the networks knew they would have to hire more women because you had the women's movement in the early 1970s really hitting full steam, coming right out of the civil rights movement. And, in fact, when my daughter was born, I put in her baby book - she was born in 1970 - "A feminist is born." I saw that. So I was kind of steeped in all of the feminist rhetoric of that period of time. I'm sure that's why NBC was really after me, and I was a "two-for." They would get a female and they would get a minority.
Michele Clark was hired by CBS, the first black woman network correspondent, and I was the second one to be named in the nation, and, of course, she died tragically in a plane accident. In fact, I covered that plane crash. People were very, very thoughtless. This was a beautiful black woman hired by CBS News, and she was going to be a star. She was a real comer. And she was killed in this awful crash at Midway Airport with a black congressman from Chicago. A lot of people were on that plane. I was sent to the plane crash scene and then to the morgue, and it was a horrible, horrible - I don't know how many, close to a hundred people died.
It's the kind of thing, these horrible stories that I've had to cover, and I saw the body bags come in, and I saw the burned corpses, and they're trying to make identifications and that kind of thing. I have always been able to work, do the job while I have to do it, and then fall apart. I could always steel myself, and see horrible things and report, because my job was to report this - and then just collapse. I went through all of that. We were on the air so much - it was a huge local story - I was doing live reports from the scene of the crash, and from the morgue.
I talked to my mother during the night, and she said, "People have been calling me," because there were rumors that Michele Clark had been on the plane. They couldn't identify her body. And people thought it was me. Can you imagine people being so thoughtless to call up my mother and say, "Was that your daughter that was killed in the plane crash?" So she had been getting phone calls like that, and it wasn't until the next day that they identified her body, but I remember opening the newspaper - I had worked very late, I didn't get home until midnight, and couldn't go to sleep from the horror of what I'd seen, but finally went to sleep, and then the next morning getting up and seeing the newspaper and Michele's picture on the front page of it, and just breaking down, just crying. I mean, the horror of all of that came back.
And it's happened to me many times, when I covered murders. Two little boys drowned, grappling hooks searching for their bodies in the river, and they're being brought to shore. You can't steel yourself against that. I mean, you can while you're working. I have been able to while I'm working. But then you're haunted by these images for a long, long period of time.
That was an aside. But I'm sure because CBS had a black female, NBC wanted to have one, and she [Michele Clark] and I both had worked in local news in Chicago. She had been at the CBS station, and I had been at the NBC station, and we were friends. So there was pressure to hire, I think, someone, and I was an obvious choice.
Raiders' Carl Nassib becomes the first active NFL player to come out as gay
After undergoing what he describes as an agonizing 15-year wait, Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib became the first active player in NFL history to come out as gay. Nassib follows in the footsteps of former Rams defensive end Michael Sam, who never played in a regular-season game after becoming the first openly gay player to be selected in the NFL Draft in 2014.
Entering his sixth season in the NFL, Nassib broke the news on his Instagram account Monday afternoon. He also announced that he was donating $100,000 to The Trevor Project, a confidential crisis support service for LGBTQ youth.
"Just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I'm gay," Nassib said. "I've been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest. I really have the best life. I've got the best family, friends and job a guy could ask for.
"I'm a pretty private person, so I hope you guys know I'm not really doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important. I actually hope that one day videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary. But until then, I'm going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that's accepting, that's compassionate."
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Nassib, 28, was the 65th overall pick in the 2016 draft. The former Penn State standout spent his first two seasons with the Browns before signing with the Buccaneers, where he recorded 12.5 sacks and 20 tackles for loss over a two-year span. Nassib tallied 28 tackles, 2.5 sacks, five passes defensed and his first career interception during his first season with the Raiders. The team was quick to show its support, with the Raiders tweeting "Proud of you, Carl" alongside the defensive ends' statement.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell offered his support of Nassib in a statement issued Monday night.
"The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously showing his truth today," Goodell wrote. "Representation matters. We share his hope that someday soon statements like this will no longer be newsworthy as we march toward full equality for the LGBTQ+ community. We wish Carl the best of luck this coming season."
Along with thanking his family and friends, Nassib also thanked the NFL, coaches and players for their support while feeling "the utmost respect and acceptance." And while he wants to serve as a beacon of light for the LGBTQ community, Nassib added that he remained focused on helping the Raiders have a successful 2021 campaign.
"I am a lanky walk-on who is living his dream," Nassib wrote on Instagram. "I only have a small window to achieve greatness in my sport and I owe it to my team, coaches, and Raider fans to be completely locked in and at my best for the upcoming season. I'm a private person, so I'd ask the media to give me some space as I navigate this exciting time in my life. Please do not take it personally if I decline an interview or am unable to answer your questions. Thank you everyone for your support. Happy Pride Month and Go Raiders."
A BROKEN FAMILY
On a cold January day in 2018, 45-year-old Lloyd Neurauter was surrounded by local and state police five months after Michele's death.
POLICE RADIO: We're out with a male suspect on the top floor of the Spring Street garage.
D.A. Brooks Baker | Steuben County, N.Y.: He's on a ledge on the fifth story of a parking garage in Princeton, New Jersey, threatening to jump.
It wasn't supposed to end this way. Almost 30 years earlier in 1989, 16-year-old Lloyd had fallen for an older classmate, Michele Laundy.
Jeanne Laundy: They were going to the same high school. And she was graduating, and we told her she could invite friends, and &hellip she invited Lloyd.
Michele's mother Jeanne Laundy remembers how quickly the relationship developed.
Erin Moriarty: How did she feel about him?
Jeanne Laundy: Oh, she was falling in love.
Two years later, in 1991, Michele and Lloyd tied the knot.
The newlyweds headed off to college.
Michele gave birth to a daughter, and two years later, a second child, Karrie.
Michele and Lloyd Neurauter Jeanne Laundy
The family settled in the upstate New York community of Corning.
D.A. Brooks Baker: It's the kind of place where a lot of folks still don't lock their doors.
Corning is a quaint, family place best known as the headquarters of Fortune 500 company Corning Glass. Lloyd worked there as an engineer. Michele gave birth to a third daughter and she homeschooled the kids.
Later she would teach at a local college.
Mina Raj: She was an English professor when I met her, so she was big on reading and writing &hellip and &hellip she would always really encourage her girls to be well spoken and educated.
Mina Raj met the Neurauter's middle daughter Karrie in ballet class.
Mina Raj: All of our dance families were very close.
Her mother Cynthia would become one of Michele's closest friends
Erin Moriarty: When's the very first time you met Michele?
Cynthia Raj: I met Lloyd first, because he would bring the children to class, dance classes &hellip he would do their hair &hellip and the mothers were rather smitten with him.
Mina Raj: I thought he was a really amazing person. He's very charismatic, shows a lot of care.
But as Mina spent more time with Karrie, she became concerned about Lloyd's overbearing parenting style.
Mina Raj: There were times when I'd call my mom and tell her that I was worried about how strict of a disciplinarian he was, for really, really small things. It was sort of like you never knew when he would snap. &hellip and if he decided he was mad at one of them, he would call them over, yell "front and center." &helliphave them drop to their knees in front of everyone.
Cynthia Raj: The first time I witnessed that &hellip Karrie was very close to me, and I could see, physically see her body shaking
Mina Raj: I've seen him slap them.
Erin Moriarty: Slap? Across the face?
Mina Raj: On the face, yes.
Erin Moriarty: Would he do things to Michele?
Jeanne Laundy: He would put her down &hellip with a smile on his face.
And then around Thanksgiving 2007, Michele suddenly cut ties with her parents. Her mother believed Lloyd was behind the rift.
Erin Moriarty: What do you think happened?
Jeanne Laundy: I think that he threatened her, either to harm the children &hellip or to harm her.
Cynthia Raj: She said, "Cynthia &hellip It was Lloyd that made me cut off contact with them." He didn't want her to have a place to go if she wanted to leave.
But it turned out to be Lloyd who left the following year. In 2008, he took a new job in New Jersey, leaving Michele and the kids behind in Corning.
Cynthia Raj: Once he was gone Michele seemed like a different person.
Erin Moriarty: Better?
Cynthia Raj: Better, she seemed much more relaxed.
Susan Betzjitomir was Michele's attorney.
Susan Betzjitomir: Her husband had filed for divorce. Michele was surprised that he filed for divorce, she was a stay at home mom, she had done everything she thought she could do to make him and the family happy.
And in 2013, after the couple had divorced, Michele moved into a new house with the girls. And that's when the real trouble began. Lloyd wanted sole custody of the kids.
Susan Betzjitomir: Lloyd was relentless in using the legal system to harass Michele. &hellip It just never ended.
Susan Betzjitomir: There were 26 separate sets of filings post-divorce.
Erin Moriarty: And how unusual is that?
Susan Betzjitomir: That is super unusual. If you have two or three, it's a lot. To have 26 is astounding.
Erin Moriarty: And what was he suing for? What were these filings for?
Susan Betzjitomir: He continually filed things making false claims against Michele &hellip Lloyd was trying to get out of child support.
And Michele accused Lloyd of trying to turn the kids against her. The oldest daughter was already living with Lloyd and Karrie had gone off to college.
Susan Betzjitomir: Karrie was &hellip at RIT, she was set to graduate in another year.
But Lloyd continued to fight for custody of their youngest child, then 14 years old. "48 Hours" we agreed not to show recent pictures of her.
D.A. Brooks Baker: I think anybody who worked in a courthouse had heard about the Neurauter case, this husband and wife were going at it nonstop. &hellip So, this is one of those cases that everybody sort of heard about, talked about over the water cooler or at a bar and the name came up. It was one of those cases that just didn't go away.
But in late August 2017, Lloyd did something unusual. Betzjitomir got a text from Michele:
Susan Betzjitomir [reading text to Moriarty]: He says, "I'm in shock, Lloyd did not show up for the appearance for his petition for sole custody &hellip He did not withdraw, he did not ask for an adjournment. He did not answer the courts phone calls, emails, nothing &hellip
Erin Moriarty: How unusual is that for him, knowing how many of these filings he's made
Susan Betzjitomir: It was very unusual. It was very unusual. It was unthinkable, really.
Because of Lloyd's no-show, the case was dismissed. Michele seemed relieved and happy.
Susan Betzjitomir: It was summer, and she had a mutual friend of ours and the children sliding on big blocks of ice down a hill of grass.
Two days later, on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, a family friend came to pick up the Neurauter's 14-year-old for swim practice. Instantly, he knew something was very wrong:
911 OPERATOR: 911 Center.
CALLER: Got something strange happening &hellip at our friend's house. &hellip I thought I saw the mother standing in the stairway, but she's motionless.
Corning Police Sergeant Jon McDivitt was the first to respond to Michele's house that afternoon.
Erin Moriarty: Alright. So, tell me what you did.
Sgt. Jon McDivitt [outside Michele's house]: So, I walked up to the front door here. And through these three panes of glass I could see inside. &hellip And I could see a female laying at the bottom of the stairs. &hellip Opened the door. A dog came running out. I came running in. &hellip And as I got closer I could see &hellip There was a rope around her neck. &hellip there was no pulse. She was cold and stiff to the touch.
Michele Neurauter Jeanne Laundy
He found 46-year-old Michele Neurauter dead.
Erin Moriarty: So, your first thought when you saw her was what?
Sgt. Jon McDivitt: It appears to be a suicide by hanging.
But, Corning Police Chief Jeff Spaulding wasn't so sure.
Erin Moriarty: Because you couldn't figure out how she got a mark here [gestures a U shape around her chin].
Chief Jeff Spaulding: No, I didn't like that, that was unsettling. it appeared as though &ndash somebody &hellip had gone behind and thrown a rope over the neck and pulled back and down and caused that.
What's more, Michele's youngest child &ndash the 14-year-old at the heart of the custody battle, and who was supposed to be picked up for swim practice &mdash was nowhere to be found.
D.A. Brooks Baker: Obviously the number of possible outcomes there that are bad is tremendous.
As the nation struggles with racism, CBS News veteran Michelle Miller gets personal
CBS News national correspondent Michelle Miller can clearly recall what the publisher of the Minneapolis Star Tribune told her and other Black editorial interns on their first day at the newspaper 32 years ago.
“He said, ‘You’ve got to put your blackness aside — you can’t be a journalist and a Black journalist,” Miller, 52, said during a Zoom call from her home in New Jersey. “I said ‘Has anyone told you to put your whiteness to the side? Or your maleness to the side? I was born a Black woman…. You have to excuse me if I think differently than you. My lens is different. My perspective is different.’”
The publisher was shocked, while Miller’s colleagues of all colors supported her. It was the beginning of a journalism career that always kept an eye on racial inequity and social injustice, from her early days as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, through her 16 years at CBS News where she is now a co-host of “CBS This Morning Saturday” alongside Jeff Glor and Dana Jacobson.
In the aftermath of George Floyd, the unarmed black man killed May 25 while in the custody of Minneapolis police, voices such as Miller’s have been amplified in TV newsrooms that are covering the protests and a cultural reckoning brought on by the event.
“Reporters and anchors of color are feeling this story in a different way than others, and I think their ability to draw string from their past is a very valuable asset,” said CBS News President Susan Zirinsky. “The ability of reporters like Michelle to share their experiences in a meaningful way really does allow America to see itself.”
Zirinsky said every Black correspondent has experienced racial bias, and in on-air panel discussions in the days following after the Floyd killing they shared examples freely. Pierre Thomas, the justice correspondent for ABC News, told how he recently was wiping down a shopping cart at a supermarket when a white woman motioned to him as if he was cleaning the cart for her. “I simply said to her ‘I’m cleaning this cart for me,’ ” he said. “We suffer these indignities every day, all the time.”
For Miller, the struggle against racism is woven into her family history.
The Louisiana native, who joined CNN in 2006 and is the only Black cable news anchor in prime time, is clearly energized by having a role in shaping the current national discourse on race relations.
She is the daughter of Dr. Ross Miller, a trauma surgeon who in 1964 wanted to buy a home in Compton but was turned down by a white owner who refused to sell to him because of his race. A white friend made the purchase and quitclaimed the home to Dr. Miller, who channeled his outrage into local activism.
He headed up the school board, where he reformed racially discriminatory practices and the curriculum, and served on the city council in Compton.
As Miller said in an essay she delivered on a recent edition of “CBS This Morning,” her father placed his hopes for the country’s future in Robert F. Kennedy, whose bid for the 1968 Democratic presidential nomination was propelled by a message of social and economic equality that appealed both to Black voters and working class whites.
Those dreams were deferred in the ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel in downtown Los Angeles on June 5, 1968, when gun shots rang out after Kennedy declared victory in the California primary.
Dr. Miller was among the celebrating Kennedy supporters in the room, eager to head to the Democratic nominating convention in Chicago as a delegate. Instead, he tended to the gravely wounded Kennedy — after having to convince security people who did not believe he was a doctor because he was Black — and was the first to tell TV news reporters about the candidate’s condition. Kennedy died the following day, but the other victims of the assassin Sirhan Sirhan who were treated by Dr. Miller that night survived.
Michelle Miller was only 6 months old at the time of the shooting that was part of a tumultuous year filled with social upheaval. She had been living with an aunt in Alabama and that month was taken in by her grandmother in South Central. “As we were flying in, Robert Kennedy was flying out in a casket,” she said.
The relatives of Miller’s father cared for her because he was not married to her mother, a white administrator at the hospital where he worked. The woman kept her pregnancy secret from her own family members who disapproved of her dating a Black man.
Racism forced Miller to grow up without having any relationship with her mother. They spoke for the first time in the early 1990s, when her father was diagnosed with cancer, but rarely after that. Her mother’s relatives have no knowledge of her existence to this day.
“It was until 10 years later after my son was born that I felt this real need for her to acknowledge this whole lineage and when she told me she wouldn’t, that’s when it hurt,” said Miller, the mother of two teenagers.
Miller never discussed the painful aspect of her family background on TV until she was asked by “CBS This Morning” executive producer Diana Miller and senior producer Brian Bingham to reflect on the nation’s response to Floyd’s death in a personal essay. They wanted to tap into the passion that the typically exuberant Miller was bringing to their discussions on the subject in editorial meetings.
“When I’m on a call with them and I have something to say, I lay it out,” Miller said. “They said, ‘You’re so clear from your perspective and we think that perspective needs to be heard.’ They didn’t know anything about my personal story.”
After getting the assignment she pulled out her mobile phone and started dictating her thoughts. “It was like a stream of consciousness,” she said. “Maybe it was on the surface waiting to come out. I’m pretty transparent.”
Marsha Cooke, a former CBS News executive who is now senior vice president of impact for Vice Media Group, said Miller’s unfiltered nature is what makes her compelling as a journalist and a person. “She’s telling you exactly what she thinks and where she stands all the time,” Cooke said.
Miller’s “Reporter’s Notebook” segment embedded the details from her life in Los Angeles — which included the rejection by her mother, being bused to schools in white Los Angeles neighborhoods and her grandmother’s instructions to “steer clear” of police officers — into a sweeping look at the nation’s racial disparities. She cited national flash points, many of which she covered over the years, such as the beating of Rodney King and the shooting of Michael Brown by police in Ferguson, Mo.
Miller concluded that while the massive protests in response to Floyd’s death offer some hope, real change would come only after self-reflection and a sustained effort to end the cycle of racial bias that keeps repeating itself.
“Rooting out racism takes a lifetime commitment,” she said in the piece that aired June 5. “. Everyone must see in America who she was and who she is in order to decide who she wants to be. We are living with the remnants of her original sin. We must face that and bear witness to the change that won’t allow a next time.”
Miller said her experiences, reporting and conversations on racism throughout her life likely drew her to her husband, Marc Morial, the president of the Urban League, a non-partisan civil rights organization in New York. They first met when he served as mayor of New Orleans and she was a correspondent and anchor for WWL, the leading local TV station in the city. They have been a power couple ever since.
Miller knows the challenges of changing police conduct and the racial bias often attached to it. She watched closely as Morial, the son of New Orleans’ first black mayor, devoted himself to reforming local law enforcement during his two terms in office from 1994 to 2002. He succeeded in cutting the city’s violent crime rate by more than half and reducing the number of complaints against police.
After Miller’s “Reporter’s Notebook” aired, Zirinsky circulated it to the entire division and to some of the top executives at CBS. Colleagues, some stunned by the revelation about her family life , called Miller and told her, “do more of that.”
But Miller has long championed stories on Black history for CBS News, including one on her father’s heroism on the night Robert Kennedy was shot. The details were a bit hazy to her (“The older my father got, the less he told the story,” she said). Then in 2013 a Google search turned up an FBI document that said CBS News offered to drive Dr. Miller back from the Central Receiving Hospital where Kennedy was taken, in return for an on-air interview. It sent her and a producer into the CBS News video archives where they found tape of Dr. Miller talking to correspondent Terry Drinkwater.
“I’d never seen my father that young,” she said. “I never heard his voice that way. I was frozen. I said, ‘we’ve got to do this story.’”
Recently, Miller and CBS Sports host James Brown held a video chat for parent company ViacomCBS employees, where they discussed the need to draw candidly on their experiences to get viewers to truly understand the depth of the nation’s race problems. “Frankness is the only way that we’re going to be able to make progress for each of us, all of us, to be heard at the table together, to talk about those things in order to be able to move forward,” Brown said.
Many major newsrooms — including the Los Angeles Times — are having similar internal conversations, some of them tense, with their journalists.
But Cooke, the first Black woman to serve as Asia bureau chief for CBS News, said it’s a long time coming. She believes Black journalists have focused on achieving greater representation in news organizations, and now getting higher-ups to listen to their experiences is the next obstacle to be scaled. The current crisis is presenting an opportunity.
“Now it’s not only that we’re demanding that these newsrooms be diverse, but our personal experiences must be factored in as well,” Cooke said. “That’s what’s changing. It’s the most optimistic I’ve been in this industry for a long time.”
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Stephen Battaglio writes about television and the media business for the Los Angeles Times out of New York. His coverage of the television industry has appeared in TV Guide, the New York Daily News, the New York Times, Fortune, the Hollywood Reporter, Inside.com and Adweek. He is also the author of three books about television, including a biography of pioneer talk show host and producer David Susskind.
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Fight Brewing Over Fate Of Historic Long Island Farm
COMMACK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – One of the last historic big homesteads in Commack, Long Island may vanish.
CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis reports on the big fight underway about what to do with it.
Buried in the heart of Commack is Marion Carll Farm.
“It’s an 1860 time capsule of a family that was on this land since 1701. The archeological and historical value is through the roof,” said Cynthia Clark, co-director of Marion Carll Farm Preserve Inc.
Behind a gate is a farmhouse, a horse and carriage barn – nearly 10 acres. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places, which describes it as a “symbol of the important agricultural development of central Long Island.”
“My grandmother was friends with Marion Carll. This is the last piece of Commack history,” Clark told CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis.
The property was willed to the Commack School District with several stipulations, including maintaining the buildings as historical museums. That is not being done.
“There are gaping holes in the roof, there is still water pouring in through the roof,” Clark said.
A glimpse inside shows pictures of a family, clothing, medicine, furniture and history, frozen in time.
“This is beyond a nightmare. It is redeemable but work has to start very quickly …
Cynthia Clark is with the non-profit Marion Carll Farm Preserve, which wanted to restore the place as a working organic farm using profits, grants and donations. Instead the Commack School District approved a proposal to lease about six acres of the property along Commack Road there to Long Island University for a veterinary school.
The lease money will be put towards shoring up just the farm house but some locals question if this is enough.
“Absolutely not. The school district has negotiated right now somewhere in the range of 1,250 a month worth of rent,” Michael Hoddinott said.
“$1,250 isn’t going to do anything to save that house and without the house there simply is no farm.”
The district agrees it’s only a start.
“One thing you have to remember is the school districts primary purpose is educating children so to divert funds from that to maintain a historical property is a difficult proposition,” Jarrett Behar of the Commack BOE said.
Clean up on the grounds started, but for now the state has put a stop work order in effect until proper documents are in place however, the district says it is meeting the terms and spirit of the Carll will.
The superintendent says LIU’s vet program will include field trips and opportunities for Commack students to learn.
&ldquoLIU responded to an RFP from the Commack School District to restore the Marion Carll Farm and our proposal was unanimously selected. Working with the Commack School District and New York State Department of Education, we will invest in the property, relieve a burden on Commack taxpayers through lease payments, and develop innovative programs which will benefit the region. As we are currently in the accreditation process, we cannot provide more detail, but look forward to doing so as this effort advances,” Long Island University said in a statement.
“Make no mistake, though we are still in the process of gaining all the necessary State approvals, I, the Commack School District, and the people of Commack have made a commitment to using the property as Marion Carll intended in her will. Further, funds from the lease, as well as other savings associated with LIU&rsquos support of the Property, will allow us to stabilize the existing house and barn and properly catalog and preserve the contents of those buildings. It is flatly disingenuous to indicate that the District does not have the will or the wherewithal to engage in the plans set forth above in a way that will benefit the students and residents of this community while simultaneously living up to the spirit of Mrs. Carll&rsquos, Commack&rsquos first teacher, Last Will and Testament. We very much look forward to the coming years and the benefits and history we can share with our students and community,” said school district superintendent Dr. Donald James.
Changes coming to CBS golf coverage under new leadership in 2021
CBS golf is under new direction heading into the 2021 season.
It’s not just the most exclusive job in golf, it’s one of the most exclusive jobs on earth.
Since 1959, there have been 62 Masters champions. Tiger Woods has won 82 times. Thirteen U.S. Presidents have held office. Myanmar has installed three governments (and has gone by three different names).
And Golf on CBS has had two coordinating producers.
The network’s incredible run on talent began in 1959, when Frank Chirkinian — the father of golf television — was hired as the network’s first true “lead” golf producer. Chirkinian radically changed the way golf television was viewed, introducing the concept of scores “over” and “under” par, instant replay, and even the practice of spray-painting the edges of holes white. In 1997, Chirkinian was succeeded by Lance Barrow, his protégé, who commandeered the network’s coverage for the next 23 years.
On Saturday, the number of coordinating producers in Golf on CBS history expands to three.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Sellers Shy to our role as the coordinating producer,” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said on a conference call previewing the 2021 season. “He’s the perfect person to carry the mantle from Lance Barrow. When you think about the heritage and the shoes he’s stepping into, it’s pretty august company.”
Sellers Shy, a veteran producer whose time on the CBS Golf team dates back to 1987, begins his post as the network’s third coordinating producer at 3 p.m. ET Saturday at the Farmers Insurance Open. Shy is a Memphis native and decorated former junior golfer — a talented, multi-sport producer for CBS who succeeds the newly retired Lance Barrow.
“I have ultimate faith in Sellers, he’s got a great production mind,” McManus said. “He lives and breathes golf, 52 weeks a year. He’s innovative, he’s organized, he works incredibly well with talent, and there’s no doubt in my mind that Sellers is going to bring us forward.”
In recent years, CBS’s golf coverage fell under frequent criticism from golf fans for a series of perceived missteps. Some felt the network’s coverage moved too slowly and neglected to show an adequate number of golf shots, while others were frustrated with Barrow for what they saw as a refusal to adjust to modern sports television.
Shy steps into the lead producer role with a series of changes planned to refresh the network’s look and feel.
“We’ve worked very hard on making sure that there is a slight difference, a re-energized few areas,” Shy said. “All I’m going to do is repeat what Sean (McManus) said and say that we’re really excited about it. In the first hour, you might see three, four, maybe even five new looks.”
Among the most significant changes: new music, updated graphics and a constant mini scoreboard in the lower righthand corner of the screen. The goal, Shy says, is to keep the leaderboard on-screen on a near-constant basis, similar to the score bugs used in other professional sports broadcasts.
“We like to think that viewers love the score bug on football and on basketball, and we’re attempting to make that a standard position for golf for our mini-leaderboard,” Shy said. “I’d like to think that whenever anyone comes in the room and they want to know who’s leading the tournament, you’re going to find out very shortly.”
Newly minted CBS Golf executive producer Sellers Shy says the network will experiment with a 'constant mini leaderboard' on-screen in 2021 similar to the score bugs used in other major sports broadcasts pic.twitter.com/Pj7QDAMBlx&mdash James Colgan (@JamesColgan26) January 19, 2021
Outside the production truck, CBS will employ a full-time PGA Tour rules official to help explain rules situations in real-time, while the network hopes to push further into hybrid advertising options.
“We’re hoping to have even more ‘Eye on the Course’ commercials so that live golf continues to be covered even when we’re in commercial,” McManus said. “So stay tuned for that also.”
“The other areas, Sean didn’t talk about, we’re hoping that we’ll increase our collaboration with our technology in our compound with Amanda [Balionis’] area in her cart,” Shy said. “I think the sky’s the limit for this team in New Zealand we work with so closely.”
Even if the changes amount to no-brainers, the network’s third coordinating producer showing an affinity for innovation and a willingness to break the mold set forth by his predecessor signals a noteworthy shift in the tenor of the broadcast.
After all, sports television broadcasts are supposed to be malleable. Viewers are tuning in to watch an entertainment product, and entertainment products carry the expectation of molding to viewership. The best sports broadcasts — Sunday Night Football, the NBA on TNT, even the NFL on CBS — stick to the bleeding edge of culture, tech, and their given sport. Often in golf, that tenet is conflated with “skewing younger,” but the reality is simpler. Broadcasts that remain even a half-step ahead of viewer expectation stand to gain a more deeply invested following, and eye-catching content helps to drive viewership retention and growth. CBS knows this well, they were the original innovators of golf television and saw the impact it had on the growth of the game. Not to mention their sister channel Nickelodeon just fetched two million viewers for its forward-thinking NFL playoff broadcast.
Shy’s promotion might not immediately translate into a preponderance of drone shots, microphones or shot tracers. Nor is it likely to mean that Golf on CBS will take on a radically different form from the version that has greeted viewers for the last several years — at least not right away. But make no mistake about it, Shy shouldn’t be viewed as a ringing endorsement of the program left behind by his predecessor, nor a sign that the network has no intention of shaking things up.
“We’re excited for showing you hopefully in the first hour that we’re improved,” he said. “Hopefully in this season and beyond.”
On Saturday, Sellers Shy becomes the third name etched next to “coordinating producer of Golf on CBS” in the last 60 years. Then the real work begins.
“Sellers is going to bring new ideas and new thoughts and new technology,” McManus said. “It’s a new beginning for us piggybacking on a great heritage and a great tradition of CBS Golf. And I couldn’t be happier to have Sellers Shy being the man in charge.”
5 Top Executives Quit Dick Clark Productions Amid ‘Toxic Culture’ Complaints (Exclusive)
Insiders complain about the management style of DCP President Amy Thurlow
Five senior executives have abruptly quit Dick Clark Productions, the company behind the Golden Globes and the upcoming Academy of Country Music Awards, amid complaints of what one insider called a “toxic culture,” TheWrap has learned.
In the past few weeks, the production company has seen an exodus of top executives, including Linda Gierahn, executive vice president of production Mark Bracco, executive vice president of programming and development Amy Pfister, vice president of communications Rika Camizianos, VP of creative content and postproduction — brand, marketing and digital strategy and Ben Roy, vice president of programming and development.
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Another top executive, EVP of Digital Strategy Ariel Elazar, has moved out of DCP into another division of parent company MRC, which is co-owned by Modi Wiczyk, Asif Satchu and Todd Boehly. A spokeswoman for the company confirmed Bracco had left DCP and said the others would be leaving after this year’s ACMs on April 18.
According to multiple individuals with knowledge of the company, the chief source of tension is Amy Thurlow, who joined DCP in 2014 and was elevated to president in November 2019, and Mark Shimmel, the company’s head of talent management. One insider described Thurlow as someone who was “very, very challenging” to work for, calling out a management style “that could be classified as toxic.”
Dick Clark Productions President Amy Thurlow with Ricky Gervais and then- Hollywood Foreign Press Association head Lorenzo Soria ahead of the 2020 Golden Globe Awards. (Getty Images)
Another said of Thurlow: “She’s poison. She’s oppressive, she’s a bully. Toxic is the word that keeps coming up over and over again.”
As for Shimmel, two insiders described him as exhibiting aggressive, bullying behavior toward subordinates, which led to at least two complaints to the human resources department. “It is astounding to me that he is still employed at that company,” one insider said.
Shimmel did not respond to a request for comment from TheWrap.
A spokeswoman had no comment on the allegations of a toxic culture but defended Thurlow’s management. “We know Amy Thurlow to be incredibly appreciative and supportive of all the efforts and hard work of her team in a particularly challenging year,” the spokesperson said. “As a new leader of the division, she has made changes and recently articulated goals and growth plans, it’s understandable that change is not for everyone.”
But concerns about Thurlow’s management style have extended beyond Los Angeles. At last September’s Academy of Country Music Awards in Nashville, Thurlow created a “huge fuss” at the Opryland Hotel when she didn’t get the presidential suite, according to three individuals with knowledge of the incident. Her outburst made such waves that, according to one insider, the famed hotel had to consult the Academy of Country Music to find a solution.
“When she threw her tantrum over the presidential suite, there was a lot of snickering,” another individual said.
The MRC spokeswoman had no comment on the hotel incident.
Dick Clark’s son Rac, the executive producer of the ACMs, said he regretted that the culture of the company had changed since his father’s death in 2012. “My father ran it like a Mom and Pop business, he said. “He used to walk around and clean up after the dogs. He’d turn off the light when people left. It was that sort of company. The people who have gone on since have increased the value, they were amazing businessmen and women, but it’s just a different vibe now.”
He added: “I’m sad that the young folks who were being ready to be the next generation are gone — it makes me sad.”
Still, what is particularly notable about the staff exodus is that several of those who decided to leave did so without another job lined up. Many were longtime staffers — Camizianos had been at DCP for 12 years, Bracco for eight. Said one knowledgeable individual: “They’re trying to push a narrative of people being exhausted. That is just not true.”
One executive with knowledge of the company said that there was widespread resentment at DCP over a perceived lack of appreciation by management after a brutal COVID year, when the company successfully pivoted to producing virtual award shows amid strict pandemic guidelines.
But another longtime DCP executive said Thurlow looked out for her team, noting that she canceled her flight from Nashville when a staffer had a medical emergency after the ACMs. “She’d do that for anyone on her team,” the executive said. “She’s a good person.”
54th Academy of Country Music Awards in 2019 (Getty Images)
The reports of toxic culture cannot be welcome at MRC, which has been striving to improve its reputation after a scandal in 2018 that resulted in the resignation of John Amato, the CEO of The Hollywood Reporter-Billboard. The trades were owned by MRC, called Valence at the time. Amato stepped down in February 2018 after an internal investigation into accusations of sexual harassment and inappropriate influence over editorial operations.
A Daily Beast report at that time echoed some of the current complaints at DCP, saying an internal investigation questioned whether the company had addressed complaints of inappropriate behavior.
Last year, Penske Media Corporation, owner of Rolling Stone, Variety and Deadline, reached a deal with MRC to take over operations of The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard and Vibe. MRC retained ownership and operations of its entertainment assets, including Dick Clark Productions. Early last year, Mike Mahan transitioned from CEO of DCP to vice chairman, which insiders described as more of a consulting role.
Insiders also expressed dismay that DCP has been silent on the firestorm swirling around the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization behind the Golden Globes. DCP has produced the Globes for decades and has a longstanding partnership with the HFPA. One DCP insider who does not work on the Globes telecast expressed surprise that DCP has not publicly commented on the HFPA’s lack of diversity and history of self-dealing — even after executives at broadcast partner NBC recently said they have pushed for “necessary changes” to the organization.
Last month, the HFPA vowed to expand its rolls and have at least 13% Black members by the end of 2021. That announcement came shortly after dozens of Hollywood PR firms threatened a blackout of the Golden Globes and all HFPA events by their clients. That also came as TheWrap previously reported that the HFPA denied requests to hold press conferences for three major projects with Black-led casts in recent years, including “Bridgerton,” “Girls Trip” and “Queen & Slim.”
Along with the Academy of Country Music Awards and Globes, DCP also produces the annual “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” “American Music Awards” as well as a pair of Nick Wallenda specials.
History of #1 analyst demotions
<UPDATE 6/9/2016: Added the demotions of Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci as co-#1 Fox MLB analysts.>
<UPDATE 9/16/2013: Added the demotion of Clark Kellogg as lead CBS college basketball analyst.>
CBS analyst Phil Simms received many unfavorable reviews for his recent Super Bowl 47 broadcast performance and some critics have even suggested that CBS might (or should) demote him from the lead NFL analyst position.
Simms has been the #1 NFL analyst at CBS for 15 seasons. He started there in 1998 working alongside Greg Gumbel and has been paired with Jim Nantz since 2004. For the three years prior to his CBS stint, he was one of two analysts on the #1 crew for NBC.
The post-Super Bowl speculation regarding CBS and Simms got me wondering about the historical frequency of such a move. So I decided to research cases where a TV network actually demoted its #1 analyst. Specifically, I looked at situations where CBS, NBC, ABC or Fox covered a sport using multiple announcer teams and I focused on the NFL, NBA, MLB, college basketball and college football.
For the purposes of this post, I am defining demotion as a case where the former "A" team analyst returns to the same network the following season on a lower tier broadcast crew.
Based on this research, no lead analyst with the longevity of Simms has ever been demoted to a lower tier crew on the same network. I only found 7 instances where a network demoted a #1 analyst who had been in that position for at least 5 years. In two of those cases, the "demoted" analyst actually moved into a play-by-play position. And in four of those cases, the network made the move to fit a newly hired broadcaster onto the "A" team.
Here is a closer look at those seven demotions ordered by longest tenure:
Tony Kubek (14 years as lead NBC MLB analyst)
Kubek had been the top analyst for the NBC baseball Game of the Week from 1969-1982 working first with Curt Gowdy and later with Joe Garagiola. In 1983, NBC hired Vin Scully as its lead play-by-play voice and Vin wanted no part of a three-man booth. So NBC decided to shift Garagiola into the lead analyst role alongside Scully and demoted Kubek to the "B" team where he worked with Bob Costas. Kubek remained in the #2 analyst role at NBC for 7 years. I believe this ranks as the most controversial lead analyst demotion of all time. On the plus side, Bob and Tony meshed so well together and I still consider them my favorite national baseball telecast tandem.
Bob Griese (12 years as lead ABC college football analyst)
ABC had used Griese as the top analyst for its NCAA games starting in 1987 where he worked with Keith Jackson. Griese remained in that role through the 1998 season. In 1999, ABC shuffled its broadcast crews and went without a true #1 team after Jackson switched to primarily covering west coast games. Griese remained on one of the crews which ABC treated as essentially co-#1. However, the network used Gary Danielson as the analyst for the BCS championship game that year.
Merlin Olsen (10 years as lead NBC NFL analyst)
Olsen had been in the #1 role at NBC from 1979-1988 working alongside Dick Enberg. In 1989, NBC brought in Bill Walsh as its new top analyst and demoted Olsen to the #2 slot. Merlin remained at NBC for only one season before taking an analyst position with CBS.
Bud Wilkinson (10 years as lead ABC college football analyst)
Wilkinson had served as the lead analyst on the ABC NCAA package from 1966 to 1975. He worked first with Chris Schenkel and later with Keith Jackson. In 1976, ABC demoted Wilkinson after it hired recently retired coach Ara Parseghian as lead analyst. Wilkinson remained with ABC for one season calling lower tier games.
Tom Brookshier (6.5 years as lead CBS NFL analyst)
Brookshier had been the lead CBS analyst since midway through the 1974 season when the network moved Pat Summerall into the top play-by-play role. That duo formed the #1 CBS team through the 1980 season. In 1981, CBS elevated John Madden into the lead analyst spot and shifted Brookshier to a play-by-play position on a lower tier crew. Brookshier remained with CBS for 6 more seasons after the demotion.
Don Drysdale (5 years as lead ABC MLB analyst)
Drysdale had been the top analyst on ABC Monday Night Baseball from 1978-1982. In 1983, ABC hired recently retired manager Earl Weaver as the new lead analyst. Drysdale stayed with ABC for 4 more seasons and became the play-by-play announcer on the "B" team.
Clark Kellogg (5 years as lead CBS college basketball analyst)
Kellogg was the #1 analyst on NCAA basketball for CBS 2008-09 through 2012-13. In September 2013, CBS promoted Greg Anthony to lead analyst. Kellogg became the lead studio analyst, but continued to serve as a game analyst on a lower tier crew.
Many cases involving a change to #1 analyst position featured an announcer retiring or moving to another network. Most of the long tenured lead analysts such as Billy Packer, Al McGuire, John Madden, and Tim McCarver were never demoted.
For completeness, here is a summary of the other cases when a network demoted its top analyst:
Walter Cronkite Biography
“Walter’s career curve and the curve of network television absolutely dovetailed. And, and he held that position for so long under such vastly changing circumstances … that it seemed to most people that as they got their first television set, Walter and CBS NEWS had joined their family.”
— Historian and journalist David Halberstam
He was the man who told us that President Kennedy had been shot, the man who told us that we had put a man on the moon, and the man who told us that we couldn’t win the war in Vietnam. During the 20 years he anchored the evening news on CBS, Walter Cronkite became a daily presence in the American home. Building on the legacy of Edward R. Murrow, he brought CBS to the pinnacle of prestige and popularity in television news. And when he left CBS, both began to ebb away.
Walter Cronkite’s life and his work followed a simple, consistent line. At the age of 12, he read about a foreign correspondent in BOY’S LIFE and decided that was what he wanted to be. It was a modest aspiration, the only career goal he ever had, and he achieved it by becoming the first important news anchor on American television. That achievement and the everyday work it involved made him happy, and he had the innate good sense not to be arrogant about it. Indeed, his modesty and his dedication were the reasons his wide audience liked him so much — and trusted him.
It isn’t enough to say that he was the “most trusted man in America,” as determined by a 1972 Oliver Quayle poll. In fact, in a many-headed questionnaire, he beat the president and vice-president of the United States, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, the Democratic candidate for the presidency (Senator George McGovern), and all other journalists. And this accolade came at the height of the turbulent 1960s and 1970s. In those years of anger and division, Americans simply believed that Walter Cronkite would not knowingly deceive them.
Cronkite — born in Missouri but raised in Texas — got his training as a journalist with the United Press wire service. He had had other jobs before it, with small newspapers and small radio stations. But the UP was his spiritual home and would remain so, in large part, for the rest of his life. There he learned to get the facts accurate, write them simply, and get them on the wire quickly.
In December 1941, right after Pearl Harbor, he signed up as a war correspondent, got his uniform, and headed for Europe on the U.S.S. TEXAS. He covered the air war against Germany from England and the Allied invasion of North Africa from the deck of a ship bombarding the Moroccan coast. When Cronkite returned to New York after the invasion, Paramount put him in a newsreel reporting on the North African campaign. Even then, he was good at it. Sincere, straight, no curlicues.
Edward R. Murrow was following his career and liked what he saw: a hard-working young wire service reporter who’d go anywhere and do anything for a story — even ride a bomber or a glider into combat. But Cronkite turned down the legendary CBS newsman and the prospect of a glamorous career in radio to stay with the workaday United Press. Years later, after the war, after Cronkite had covered the Battle of the Bulge, the end of the war, the Nuremberg trials, and the beginnings of the Cold War from Moscow, Murrow again offered him a job, this time on television. This time, Cronkite took it.
It was, according to historian David Halberstam, “one of those things that really worked. Right man. Right place. Right time. Right instrument.” Television was an unknown, but it was growing. It needed gravity, a tone, a voice, and Cronkite gave it all three. Because nobody really knew what television could do at the beginning, Cronkite was in a position to make it up as he went along and to establish the strict news standards of print journalism. His reports on the 1952 Democratic and Republican conventions were masterpieces of analysis, suspense, and story-telling.
“It’s interesting about the camera. You either have IT on television or not. It’s a kind of chemistry,” said journalist and colleague Bill Moyers. “The camera either sees you as part of the environment or it rejects you as an alien body. And Walter had IT, whatever IT was.” Cronkite could go on the air live and talk about what was happening without a script or notes, never repeating himself, always adding a little more information, filling time between events, coordinating the coverage of roving reporters on the convention floor. By the time the 1956 conventions began, Cronkite was as well-known as the men he was covering.
His early fame got a huge boost from a popular program peculiar to the early days of television: YOU ARE THERE. Each week a team of CBS correspondents — headed by Cronkite — would “report” on a critical historic event: the death of Julius Caesar, the Louisiana Purchase, the Salem witch trials, or the trial of Galileo. Reporters would “interview” Sigmund Freud while he was analyzing a patient or Joan of Arc on her way to the stake. Every show would end with the same, soon-to-be-familiar refrain from Cronkite: “What kind of a day was it? A day like all days, filled with those events that alter and illuminate our times. And you were there.”
The director of the series was the young Sidney Lumet, who would go on to create such award-winning feature firms as TWELVE ANGRY MEN, NETWORK, SERPICO, and DOG DAY AFTERNOON. He chose Cronkite for the role of anchorman “because the premise of the show was so silly, was so outrageous, that we needed somebody with the most American, homespun, warm ease about him.”
The same qualities got him the job as anchor of the CBS EVENING NEWS in 1961. At the time, the broadcast — like the news broadcasts of the other networks — was just 15 minutes long. But Cronkite wanted the networks to be responsible citizens, to take the news more seriously, to devote more time and more funds to news — whether that commitment made them a profit or not. He also wanted the title of Managing Editor so that the staff and the audience would know that the news judgment on the program was his.
By 1963 he had the title and the longer broadcast. Cronkite inaugurated the new, longer format with a feature with President John F. Kennedy in September 1963. Two months later, Cronkite broke into the broadcast of the soap opera AS THE WORLD TURNS to announce that the president had been shot in Dallas, Texas. Sitting behind the news desk in his shirt-sleeves with his glasses on, Cronkite continually updated the story. On a videotape of that historic broadcast, occasionally a hand can be seen pushing a wire service report, a photograph, or a correspondent’s report into Cronkite’s hand.
Throughout the morning, he calmly filled in the story, squelched any information that hadn’t been verified, reduced speculation to certainty — until he was handed a dispatch confirming that the President of the United States was indeed dead. He pulled off his glasses, looked to the clock to repeat the time, and seemed to subdue a sudden wave of emotion, before he continued with the broadcast.
The assassination was on a Friday. All of America watched this event together. Whether in California, Nebraska, or Mississippi, the entire nation was seeing the same thing — for three days. Saturday, Sunday, Monday … the networks ran nothing but coverage of the president’s death, the return of his body to Washington, the funeral procession to the Capitol, and the final journey of President Kennedy to his burial in Arlington National Cemetery. There were no commercials for those three days. By today’s standards, the coverage was simple and sedate. No emotion was added to the trauma of loss, nor was any needed.
It was a show of dignity that America never forgot. And, as a result, Americans awarded Cronkite the honor of allowing him to give us the bad news about our world as well as the good. This messenger was not condemned when he reported that America’s deeply racist history had to change. And he was not punished in the ratings when he went to Vietnam and reported that he had seen the lies, corruption, and stalemate in that war and that it was time for us to go.
President Lyndon Johnson listened to Cronkite’s verdict with dismay and real sadness. As he famously remarked to an aide, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost America.” After all, this was not one of the young, brash reporters like Morley Safer or Jack Laurence pricking the president’s power. It was Cronkite, veteran of World War II, a man of unimpeachable patriotism. When he stated the obvious — that the Viet Cong had no intention of giving up, and we had no intention of remaining in Vietnam for another generation — the common sense of it stuck with the public.
For more than a year, Johnson had been losing popularity due to the war that he could neither win nor end. But when he announced his decision not to run for re-election, just about everyone put it down to the influence and power of Cronkite. His integrity and clear judgment gave him tremendous authority, remarkably, with the old and the young, the conservative and the liberal. He transcended all those divisions. As Senior PBS Correspondent Robert MacNeil observed, “Cronkite came to be the sort of the personification of his era and became kind of the media figure of his time. Very few people in history, except maybe political and military leaders, are the embodiment of their time, and Cronkite seemed to be.”
Cronkite could report with disgust the Chicago police attacks on anti-war demonstrators at the 1968 Democratic convention. And he could report with unalloyed delight the landing of a man on the moon. He could withstand the attacks of Vice President Spiro Agnew against the so-called “nattering nabobs of negativism” of the press by speaking eloquently not only of “freedom of the press” but also, as he emphasized, of “the important right of the people to know what their government is doing in their name.” And to prove that he meant it, Cronkite picked up the WASHINGTON POST’s early article on the “Watergate Caper” and made the story national news with a two-part feature on the EVENING NEWS in the fall of 1972, just a month before the election.
A furious White House threatened to punish CBS by revoking its station licenses. But CBS stuck by its story and watched as Nixon self-destructed over the next two years. Cronkite reported with quiet admiration the thoughtful proceedings of the House Judiciary Committee on the Impeachment of President Nixon. And he reported Nixon’s resignation with sadness. There was no gloating, nor hard feelings. He was a professional doing his job, which he never doubted was serving the public.
There was no one, it was said, that he couldn’t get on the telephone. And in 1977, he got new Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to agree to an interview. In his autobiography, Cronkite described the hot afternoon on the banks of the Nile: “The interview was as tepid as the afternoon was hot. Sadat droned on about his hopes and plans for Egypt’s future as I fought to stay awake. Suddenly he brought me bolt upright. I was sure that I had heard him say he intended to go to Jerusalem. Yes, he assured me, he would go to Jerusalem.” Sadat was the first Middle Eastern leader to make any such gesture toward peace. Cronkite set up phone calls between Cairo and Jerusalem and flew with Sadat to his historic meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.
When Cronkite resigned in 1981, his audience didn’t really believe it — or want to believe it. It was, wrote a commentator in THE NEW REPUBLIC, “like George Washington leaving the dollar bill.” There were so many requests for interviews and photographs of the departing Cronkite that eventually all were denied. On the final broadcast, he assured his audience that while they would be seeing less of him, he would not be disappearing.
This is my last broadcast as the anchorman of the CBS EVENING NEWS. For me it’s a moment for which I long have planned but which nevertheless comes with some sadness. … This is but a transition, a passing of the baton. A great broadcaster and gentleman, Doug Edwards, preceded me in this job and another, Dan Rather, will follow. … Furthermore, I am not even going away. I’ll be back from time to time with special news reports and documentaries. … Old anchormen, you see, don’t fade away, they just keep coming back for more. And that’s the way it is, Friday, March 6, 1981. I’ll be away on assignment and Dan Rather will be sitting in here for the next few years. Good night.
But Cronkite was on the air less and less. “Walter was a tough act to follow,” CBS colleague Mike Wallace said, “and when Dan Rather started to take over the EVENING NEWS, he didn’t want Walter sitting there. I think, candidly, he just didn’t want Walter being the wise man looking over his shoulder. And I think that disappointed Walter.”
Though he was off the air, he was not silent. “There comes a time,” says journalist Bill Moyers, “when, having covered the world for all of your life, you want to reach and state the conclusions to which your life’s experience has led you.” And, freed from the restraints of objectivity, Cronkite has done and still does just that. The war on drugs, he said, succeeded only at putting young people in prison. Global warming is a fact, he said, and, regardless of the cost, the entire world should support the Kyoto treaty. It is not only immoral to kill one another in wars, he said, “even the matter of defense expenditures is immoral. To spend that much money … in building more refined systems of murder is not a civilized consideration.” “In the wake of 9/11, the desire for revenge against Islamic fundamentalists is both understandable — and dangerous. Without intending to, the United States could become mired in Middle Eastern wars for decades.”
Always he speaks out for the right and the duty of the citizen to know what is going on in the world. It is a stark moral code he holds up for the reader and the reporter alike. The conceit of the powerful is not the reporter’s concern. A good journalist has only one job — to tell the truth.
Cronkite set the standards of television news when the medium was new and malleable. He was loyal to those standards, and his large audience was correspondingly loyal to him. “He seemed to me incorruptible,” said director Sidney Lumet, “in a profession that was easily corruptible.” It was all that Cronkite wanted — and he achieved it.
Michele Clark: CBS - HistorySHOREBREAK: The Clark Little Story Released! Film available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Cable & DVD. --> ree 2-Day US Shipping of 2018 Clark Little Ocean Calendars with Amazon US Prime. -->
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Award-winning photographer Clark Little was born in Napa, California in 1968. Two years later, a move to the North Shore of Oahu (Hawaii) dramatically changed his future. In the 80’s and 90’s he made his name as a pioneer of surfing at the Waimea Bay shorebreak. Clark had a unique talent for taking off on hopeless closeout shorebreak waves and surviving in one piece.
In 2007, Clark discovered his ability and passion to capture the extraordinary beauty of the shorebreak when his wife wanted a picture of the ocean to decorate the bedroom wall. With the confidence of an experienced surfer, Clark went out and bought a waterproof camera setup, jumped in the ocean, and started snapping away, recording the beauty and power of Hawaiian waves. "Clark’s view" is a unique and often dangerous perspective of waves from the inside out, captured in photos for all to enjoy from the safety of dry land.
Clark Little in shorebreak. Photo: Dane Little
In a short time, Clark has gained worldwide recognition for his North Shore shorebreak wave photography with exhibitions in Japan, Canada, Brazil, Spain and throughout the US along with appearances on television shows including CBS Evening News, Good Morning America, Today, Inside Edition, the Discovery Channel, ABC World News Now, France 2, NHK and Asahi TV programs in Japan.
Clark’s work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian Museum, Alden B. Dow Museum, Science Museum of Virginia, Museum of Contemporary Art Barcelona (Spain), Parco Logos Gallery (Tokyo, Japan), Gallery X (Tokyo, Japan), Heritage Maritime Canada (Montreal, Canada), The Four Seasons and The Ritz-Carlton Resorts, and published in National Geographic, The New York Times, LIFE, Nikon World, Paris Match, Outdoor Japan, Sierra, Geo, Nature’s Best Photography, Rangefinder, The Surfer’s Journal among others. Commercial clients include Apple, Nike, Nikon, Facebook, Hewlett-Packard (HP), Toyota, Anheuser Busch, Starbucks Coffee, Whole Foods Markets, Panerai Watches, Hilton Hotels, Lockheed Martin, Verizon, and others.
Clark Little awarded the Oceans Photography Award at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC (May 2011)
In November 2009, Clark published his 182-page debut art book, The Shorebreak Art of Clark Little. In January 2011, Clark opened the Clark Little Gallery Haleiwa in his hometown of Haleiwa, Hawaii just down the road from many of the North Shore beaches featured in his photography. In February 2014, Clark published his second book Shorebreak, a 160-page coffee table book featuring wave and ocean photography from the North Shore of Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Big Island, California, Japan and French Polynesia. In 2014, Clark also published a book in Japan "Waves of North Shore" (Parco Publishing). Most recently in 2016, the film SHOREBREAK: The Clark Little Story was released.
Awards include the prestigious Ocean Photography Award from Nature’s Best Photography presented at the Smithsonian Museum in May, 2011. Two award winning images were on exhibit for 6 months at Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC from April - September 2011 and again in 2015.