The website Deadline on Tuesday reported that Steven Spielberg is considering making a biography of famous CBS journalist Walter Cronkite. Deadline writer Ali Jaafar explained, “The project will focus on Cronkite’s relationship with the Vietnam War and the role that America’s most trusted newsman played in turning public opinion against the increasingly un-winnable conflict.”
Jaafar recounted Cronkite using his role as an anchor to editorialize against the Vietnam War. This, apparently, will be the main focus of the movie:
In 1968, however, Cronkite returned to South East Asia to see the war for himself and the consequences of the Tet Offensive. What he found convinced him, in his own words during his special report, to say, “It seems now, more certain than ever, that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate.” That devastating sentence shifted the tide of public opinion against the war and only weeks later LBJ announced he would not be running for re-election in that year’s Presidential race.
Cronkite, far from being a trusted, neutral journalist, secretly pushed Robert Kennedy to run for president and even admitted he would have run as liberal George McGovern’s 1972 vice presidential running mate. In a July 25, 2009 Washington Post piece, former press secretary to Robert Kennedy Frank Mankiewicz wrote:
Decades later, at a meeting of a corporate board on which they both served, George McGovern mentioned to Walter Cronkite that his name had been proposed as the vice presidential nominee at that stage of the campaign but was rejected because we were certain he would have turned us down. “On the contrary, George,” the senator told me Cronkite replied, “I'd have accepted in a minute; anything to help end that dreadful war.” At a later board meeting, Cronkite told a larger group that he would gladly have accepted the invitation to run with McGovern.
These facts will probably be left out of the film, should it be made. Deadline.com noted that, so far, no script has been written and Spielberg is a long way from officially signing on. Conservatives might hope it never gets produced.