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“If I’ve Lost Cronkite…”: Myth and Memory of Walter Cronkite, Lyndon Johnson, and the Vietnam War
Unformatted Document Text:  “If I’ve Lost Cronkite…” speakers are guilty of overstating the impact of the broadcast. Thus, their comments support Campbell’s claim that the “Cronkite moment” has become more myth than memory. The “Cronkite moment” is also recalled in two museum exhibits. From May 2010 through January 2011, the Johnson museum hosted the special exhibit, “Cronkite: Eyewitness to a Century.” The exhibit was a joint venture of the Johnson museum and the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, which houses Cronkite’s papers. The display area devoted to the Tet editorial is titled “We Might Have a Problem.” The text panel explained, “But it was after his 1968 trip to Hue, following the Tet Offensive, that Cronkite returned to file one of his most famous reports: ‘It seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate.’ Johnson reportedly equated Cronkite’s stalemate broadcast with the loss of popular support. Whatever the cause and effect, the president soon announced that he would not run again.” 84 Clips from Report from Vietnam, including the editorial, played on a monitor mounted next to the display case, which features an annotated version of Cronkite’s Report from Vietnam script and his reporter’s notebook. The display included numerous photographs from the war and references to other famous stories, like Morley Safer’s Cam Ne report, which played on a second monitor. While the exhibit did not include the Johnson quote, it posited that Johnson saw Cronkite as representing the drop in public support for the war, which promotes the “Cronkite moment” narrative. The Newseum in Washington, D.C. includes the “Cronkite moment” in its News History Gallery. Under the title “Close-Up: Reporting Tet” appears the quote “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America. - Lyndon B. Johnson, 36 th U.S. President, 1968.” 85 There are two text paragraphs. The first, labeled “Military-Media Tensions Come to a Head,” reports that by the 21

Authors: Burns, Lisa.
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“If I’ve Lost Cronkite…”
speakers are guilty of overstating the impact of the broadcast. Thus, their comments support 
Campbell’s claim that the “Cronkite moment” has become more myth than memory.      
The “Cronkite moment” is also recalled in two museum exhibits. From 
May 2010 through January 2011, the Johnson museum hosted the special 
exhibit, “Cronkite: Eyewitness to a Century.” The exhibit was a joint venture 
of the Johnson museum and the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, 
which houses Cronkite’s papers. The display area devoted to the Tet editorial 
is titled “We Might Have a Problem.” The text panel explained, “But it was after 
his 1968 trip to Hue, following the Tet Offensive, that Cronkite returned to file one of his most 
famous reports: ‘It seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to 
end in a stalemate.’ Johnson reportedly equated Cronkite’s stalemate broadcast with the loss of 
popular support. Whatever the cause and effect, the president soon announced that he would not 
run again.”
 Clips from Report from Vietnam, including the editorial, played on a monitor 
mounted next to the display case, which 
features an annotated version of Cronkite’s 
Report from Vietnam script and his reporter’s notebook. The display included 
numerous photographs from the war and references to other famous stories, 
like Morley Safer’s Cam Ne report, which played on a second monitor. While 
the exhibit did not include the Johnson quote, it posited that Johnson saw 
Cronkite as representing the drop in public support for the war, which 
promotes the “Cronkite moment” narrative.      
The Newseum in Washington, D.C. includes the “Cronkite moment” in its News History 
Gallery. Under the title “Close-Up: Reporting Tet” appears the quote “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve 
lost Middle America. - Lyndon B. Johnson, 36
 U.S. President, 1968.”
 There are two text 
paragraphs. The first, labeled “Military-Media Tensions Come to a Head,” reports that by the 

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