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Archive for the ‘Classic News’ Category

“As the lead in to this video said ABC News, was a small player if not joke in the network news business in the 1970s. Th…”

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

As the lead in to this video said ABC News, was a small player if not joke in the network news business in the 1970s. They basically remained that way until the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1979-80 that launched Nightline with Ted Koppel and their nightly newscast World News Tonight started drawing real ratings then, This Week With David Brinkley emerged in 1981, 20/20 became a hit when Barbara Walters and Hugh Downs, became the anchors of it. ABC Sports with their NFL coverage with Monday Night Football and their MLB coverage with Monday Night Baseball and their college football coverage and a handful of entertainment shows that they had especially in daytime, were really the only hits that the ABC network had. Back then America had two great broadcast networks in CBS and NBC, as far as entertainment, sports and news. With ABC giving you same type of programming, but without the hits and affiliates that the big two had in the 1970s. And being a distant third to CBS and NBC when it came to news, but entertainment as well.

I sort of look at ABC in the 1970s the way I look at Fox today, but with ABC putting a lot more emphasis on news. Fox still doesn’t have much if any impact on network news other than their Sunday morning talk show. ABC was trying to be CBS and NBC at least as far as influence and in size, but until Roone Arledge took over ABC Sports in the 1970s and then later ABC News in the 1980s, they were a distant third. Rooney Arledge with Monday Night Football and then Monday Night Baseball and ABC Sports college football, 20/20 World News Tonight, Nightline, This Week With David Brinkley, is responsible for making ABC the powerhouse it is today. With the ability to compete with CBS and NBC, when it comes to entertainment, news and sports. And have the affiliates to be able to do that. Whatever you think of this version of 20/20 and I’ll get to that later, this was the start of ABC becoming a force in network news.

It’s a damn good thing that Barbara Walters and Hugh Downs, became the anchors of 20/20. Even for 1978 the layout of this first show with two no-name anchors and one of them not even being an American and the other making his living as a writer and not a broadcast journalist and the cheesy music (even for 1978) and covering stories like how greyhounds are treated, just showed you that ABC News wasn’t quite ready for prime-time. CBS’s 60 Minutes even though they had already been around for ten years at this point, looked so much better and more professional. It looked like a network news magazine show. And not some weekend morning show that mixes in soft stories with a few real news stories and interviews, to make the show look serious. But they were trying and got much better again when Hugh Downs and Barbara Walters, took over the show in 1979-80. And were together for twenty years and made 20/20 the hit that it still is today.

 

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ABC WTN

Source: Active News: ABC World News Tonight, July 10, 1978: The Soviet Union Making Trouble

The thing that people need to know about Marxist states which is exactly what the Soviet Union of Russia was for over seventy-years before the Soviet Union broke with all the non-ethnic-Russian states breaking away and creating their own independent countries, is that they can consider anything that goes against the state as treason. And anyone that says anything in opposition to the central state, is a treasonous. Which is what the fake trial of Natan Sharansky back in 1978 was which was fake. Here’s a man who was simply calling for human rights in a Marxist state where human rights don’t exist. The only rights that exist in a Marxist state all belong to the central government. Which is supposed to use that power to take care of the people.

In the late 1970s you saw Russia get more aggressive with their foreign policy and make moves in North Africa and Central Asia to protect their interests. Like in Ethiopia to protect a Marxist government there and of course in Afghanistan to install a Marxist government there. While at the same time you saw Russian activists and non-ethnic-Russian activists in Russia like Natan Sharansky speak out in favor of human rights in a country where they simply don’t exist. As well as Russian citizens and non-ethnic-Russian citizens including Russian-Jews fleeing their country in hopes of finding freedom and coming to America so to speak because of that. And part of that had to do with President Jimmy Carter making human rights as part of his foreign policy.

1978 was a big year for tax cuts and a bad year for high taxes. As you saw several states with movements calling for cutting taxes across the board. Even in the so-called Republic of California that has always had high taxes and has been one of the most progressive states in the union when it comes to taxation. And yet they had a movement led by anti-tax advocate Howard Jarvis, who you could call a 1970s Tea Party leader who managed to get on the state ballot there a measure that would cut property taxes across the board. And it passed even though California is one of the biggest Democratic states in the union as far as party registration. With a 2-1 Democrat to Republican party ratio. With Democrats controlling both houses of the State Legislature going back to the 1950s.

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ABC News

Source: Bob Parker: ABC World News January 6, 1987: The 100th Congress and The Iran Contra Investigation

Early 1987 and really the whole 1987 year was a bad one for President Ronald Reagan and the Reagan Administration. Republicans, lost the Senate in 1986 which gave Congressional Democrats complete control of Congress going into 1987. Just when the Iran Contra investigation was in the news and when both the Senate and House was looking into that. The House and Senate put together a joint Congressional committee to investigate the Iran Contra situation in the summer of 1987. Where people like Marine Colonel Oliver North became a famous name and person and became a main focus of the Congressional Iran Contra Committee.

I was eleven years old and in fifth grade for most of 1987, so I don’t remember a whole lot about the politics that year. I remember seeing some of the Iran Contra Committee with my parents on TV. I remember hearing about Gary Hart running for president and then dropping out because he was caught having an affair with a women who wasn’t his wife. I remember hearing the name Michael Dukakis and a little about Robert Bork who President Reagan nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court. But most of these things except for Gary Hart and Mike Dukakis weren’t good for President Reagan. And all issues that Vice President George Bush would have to inherit as he ran for president in 1988.

For really the first six years of the Reagan Administration, except for perhaps 1986 when Iran Contra became a big issue, President Reagan and his team were always on the offensive. And able to push their issues and get the country behind them in some key areas. They got their military buildup, tax cuts, Social Security reform, immigration reform, negotiations and better relations with Russia, to use as examples. But 1987 was the 1998 for the Reagan Administration. Where they played defense for most if not the whole year. Either answering questions they didn’t want to answer, or trying to avoid questions that they didn’t want to give the full truth on.

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ABC WNT

Source: Bob Parker: ABC World News Tonight July 13th, 1987

The Iran Contra affair was definitely the story of the summer of 1987. I was eleven then and had just finished the fifth grade. Going off to outdoor ed summer camp and my first ever basketball camp. As well as vacationing with my family in West Virginia. So it was a fun summer for me. And when I wasn’t doing those things I got to see a little of the Iran Contra hearings, probably on PBS since we didn’t have cable yet, with my mother.

Really that whole year up until the summer of 87, which isn’t a title of a song, at least that I know of, the new Democratic Congress that now had both the House and Senate with a large Democratic majority in the House, the Reagan Administration was on the defensive. Because of Iran Contra and Americans as well as Congress perhaps both Democrats and Republicans believing that the Reagan Administration at the very least did some things that they didn’t inform Congress about. Or committed some illegal violations of national security law.

When the Iran Contra investigation was put under the national spotlight so to speak and you got to see this joint Congressional Committee investigating Iran Contra on national TV, then you got to see Representatives and Senators from the House and Senate at their best and worst. Essentially trying to make names for themselves and look good politically at the expense of President Ronald Reagan. Who was still fairly popular politically, even if his administration wasn’t. And what you got see at least during week one of this Congressional Committee were Democratic Representatives and Senators making asses out of themselves. Trying to make Marine Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North look like the bad guy. When he instead he came out looking like a national hero.

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Pope John Paul

Pope John Paul


Pope John Paul is intriguing to me, because he’s someone who gave both the Religious-Right as well as Liberals such as myself, things to admire about him with all of his strong religious-conservative stances on social issues for the Religious-Right. And his call for freedom for Eastern Europeans and others which is what Liberals liked about him and escaping from authoritarianism in those slavic countries like Poland where he was from.

Pope John Paul, was a strong voice against authoritarianism, at least from the Far-Left like with communism. But like others with the Christian-Right had authoritarian views when it came to homosexuality, women’s place in the world and reproductive rights. I don’t want to say I see Pope Paul as a mix bag, because by in large I believe he was a great man. But he did has some at least very traditional religious cultural views when it came to individualism and again women’s place in the world. And not believing women should take leadership roles in the Catholic Church.

But again where I go back and forth with Pope Paul was that he was against communism and authoritarianism in Eastern Europe. Especially in the Slavic countries like his home country Poland and Russia. And what I also like about the man as a Liberal was his calls for peace and charity and helping people in poverty and assisting people in the developing world. Which is where a lot of religious conservative churches tend to be on these issues. And truly believe in the Christian value of looking after most vulnerable and assisting people in need. Which is what Catholic Charities and other Christian groups do.

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ABC Evening News Anchor Frank Reynolds

ABC Evening News Anchor Frank Reynolds


The economy was probably the biggest story of 1978, because that’s went it went down hill and didn’t come back until late 1983. With high unemployment, high interest rates, high inflation, and energy shortage and a recession in 1979-80 and all these things started in 1978. It was called the Great Deflation that started with the 1973 oil embargo that led to energy shortages. America was getting out of Vietnam and jobs were no longer being created from that war. Economic growth slowing down, unemployment going up. As well as the Federal budget deficit, interest rates and inflation. Even if the economy looked solid in January, of 78 with fairly low unemployment that was about to change very quickly by the spring that year.

As far as the smoking report, I’m not a fan of the nanny state and anyone who is familiar with by blogging knows that. But I am a big fan of education and commonsense regulation and that is what the Carter Administration was doing here. Tobacco obviously comes with serious health risks even if you don’t smoke, but hang out with people who smoke around you. So of course Americans have a right to know what they’re putting in their bodies before they do that, along with having the right to make the decision themselves what exactly they should put in their bodies. So of course no to prohibition when it comes to tobacco and no to the nanny state in general. But Americans have a right to breathe clean air and not to have to pay for other bad decisions. Which is where commonsense regulations and taxes come in.

What was otherwise a pretty bad year politically for President Jimmy Carter and his administration with the economy about to tank, which by itself may have cost President Carter his reelection, was actually pretty good for him in foreign affairs. With the Camp David Accords that he and his administration helped negotiate between Israel and Egypt. A peace agreement that got Egypt to recognize the only Jewish country in the world in Israel and the only Jewish state in the entire Middle East. That is surrounded by big Arab countries like Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and a big Persian country in Iran and a big Turkish country in Turkey. And that peace agreement almost forty-years later has held ever since. President Carter also got the Panama Canal Treaty passed by the Senate as well.

1978, the start of the second year of the Carter Administration that had an economy that was about to go south. Rising interest rates, inflation, rising energy costs and an energy shortage, but they did manage to get some important legislation through Congress. An energy bill and they got the airline industry deregulated which created a lot more competition there. They kept us out of war, they kept the deficit down even dealing with a very Progressive if not New-Left Democratic Congress that wanted all sorts of new spending and new taxes to finance their new programs. So President Carter and his administration, actually managed to get a lot done in their four years.

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John Dancy

John Dancy

Source: NBC News: Update With John Dancy December, 1979: 1979, Oh What a Year

1979 was a very rough year as the summer showed with an energy shortage and high inflation and interest rates and so-forth. And this was after the so-called crisis of confidence speech from President Carter in I believe August of that summer. And after the Iranian Hostage Crisis in November that year. And one of the ironic things about 1979 economically, was that the economy was growing and jobs were created before the recession later that year. But people weren’t feeling that because whatever economic growth there was, was getting wiped out by high inflation and interest rates. The economic malaise and the Great Deflation of the 1970s, a combination of high inflation and interest rates, was the worst economy America had at that point at least since the Great Depression.

But the bad economy was obviously bad enough for President Carter and the Democratic Congress then. And probably enough reason for President Carter to lose reelection and for Democrats to at least lose a lot of seats in Congress, even if Republicans didn’t win back the House or Senate. The Iranian Hostage Crisis late in 1979 was simply the toper to that. The country was still dealing with an energy crisis that a very cold winter and very hot summer that year obviously didn’t help. I actually remember a little of that summer. The country was essentially in crisis mode that year and except for what was going in entertainment and sports which was great that year, especially the World Series and Super Bowl which were both classics that were both won by Pittsburgh, there wasn’t much to be happy about.

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