Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Did TV News Show of Columbia University Provost's Father Support Vietnam War in 1960s?

One reason that GE-NBC’s evening news television show may not be eager to air many news segments that are critical of Columbia University is that the current provost of Columbia University, Alan Brinkley, is the son of the now-deceased former co-anchor of NBC’s “Huntley-Brinkley” evening news television show of the 1960s, David Brinkley.

The father of Columbia University Provost Brinkley was no friend of the U.S. anti-war movement during the 1960s. As Lyle Johnston recalled in his 2003 book, Good Night, Chet”: A Biography of Chet Huntley, when 100,000 anti-war protesters marched to the Pentagon on Oct. 21, 1967 to confront the U.S. war makers, Columbia University Provost Brinkley’s father, David Brinkley, called the march “a coarse, vulgar episode by people who seemed more interested in exhibitionistic displays than [in] any redress of grievances.”

The same book also observed:

“The Vietnam `conflict’…kept `The Huntley-Brinkley Report’ busy reporting it. NBC broadcast an average of 12 Vietnam War-related stories per week between 1965 and 1970…

“…In the early part of 1962, the Pentagon’s public-affairs office director assured Kennedy that NBC had been convinced that United States interests would be negatively reflected if NBC presented coverage of `rough treatment’ by South Vietnamese soldiers to Viet Cong prisoners with a United States Army captain appearing in the sequence. The film did not appear on `The Huntley-Brinkley Report’ and was shelved…

“…J. Fred MacDonald…stated about Huntley, `At a time when his profession needed the utmost objectivity to report accurately to the American citizenry,’ Huntley `lavished praise’ on the military…

“In 1965…Chet narrated a Department of Defense film on the A-4 Skyhawk…

“At his retirement from NBC in 1970, he [Chet Huntley] mentioned, `We’ve listened to the extremists long enough—and rather politely: they are arrogant, ill-mannered boors [who] have no program—only a tantrum.’...

“Dr. Charles Bailey, in analyzing the 1965-70 `Huntley-Brinkley Reports’ stated Huntley `seemed to interpret stories in a way to emphasize his judgment that the war, although ugly, was just.’…”

The `Good Night, Chet’ book also revealed that after Martin Luther King was eliminated a few weeks before the 1968 Columbia Student Revolt, “NBC News, by way of a memo from Robert Northshield, decided to present the `minimum amount of riot footage’ following” King’s assassination.

One reason NBC’s “Huntley-Brinkley Report” was apparently willing to serve as a U.S. Establishment propaganda tool during the 1960s was that its co-anchors were extremely well-paid. As the `Good Night, Chet’ book noted:

“By the time Huntley retired he was earning about $300,000 a year…Huntley had financial interests in three radio stations in New York State: WRIV, Riverhead, and WALK-AM and FM in Patchogue on Long Island. Also, the following television stations were part of the Horizon Communications’ umbrella: KPAT, Berkeley, Calif., WKOW-TV, Madison, Wisconsin, WXOW-TV, La Crosse, Wisconsin and WAOW-TV, Warsaw, Wisconsin. He owned 23.9 percent of Horizon’s stock.”

Huntley also owned $2 million worth of stocks, bonds and property; and after he retired as the co-anchor of Columbia University Provost Brinkley’s father in 1970, Huntley earned another $300,000 for being American Airlines’ ad man on television.

Speaking of high salaries, the son of former NBC TV evening news show Co-Anchor Brinkley, Alan Brinkley, was paid an annual salary of $396,250 by tax-exempt, “non-profit” Columbia University in 2005 for being Columbia University’s provost.

Next: 300 Columbia University Professors Were IDA Consultants In 1968

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