Thursday, July 23, 2009

Uncle Walter's 1995 Boost For FOI And Then Some …

The 20th anniversary of the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission was celebrated at the Indian Harbor Yacht Club in Greenwich in December 1995. Pictured are (left to right): Colleen Murphy, then the commission managing director [now executive director]; Mitchell Pearlman, founding executive director; Fred Hennick, then the chairman; Walter Cronkite; Andy Thibault, then, a commissioner; Andy O'Keefe, then a commissioner [now chairman]; and Roz Berman, then, a commissioner.

The Cool Justice Report
July 23, 2009

EDITOR'S NOTE: This column is available for reprint courtesy of The Cool Justice Report,

The once-revered CBS News division fell on its ass after Walter Cronkite left, and it never recovered.

I didn't make that up.

I just stole a quote. It belongs to my friend, the poet and writer
  • Franz Douskey
  • Douskey met Cronkite many years ago at the Museum of Broadcasting in New York.

    "I was an invited guest," Douskey said, "a mistake people don't often make."

    They struck up a friendly correspondence over the years. When Douskey needed items for charity auctions, Cronkite would send signed photos, books and baseballs. The books included A Reporter's Life and North By Northeast. Among the favorite mementos: a maroon lapel pin, slightly different than the one pictured here, with the lettering, CBS NEWS, CBS Radio Networks.

    "You might like to have this," Cronkite told Douskey, "I don't wear it anymore."

    He recalls one story Cronkite told over and over:

    Walter and Betsy were talking about Walter wanting a larger boat. Walter said, "I want to go out they way Errol Flynn went out, on a 60-foot yacht with a 16-year-old girl." Betsy said, "Forget it, Walter. You're going to go out on a 16-foot boat with a 60-year-old broad."

    I don't have any great Cronkite stories. The time I met him, before a speech he gave celebrating the 20th anniversary of Connecticut's Freedom of Information Commission, he struck me as a low-key, friendly guy. Awestruck and blown away, all I could come up with was, "Hi, how you doin'?" He was definitely doing OK. In his speech, as I recall it, Cronkite pounded the drum for access to public records as central to the functioning of a democracy. He was a guy who always stood up straight.

    The night Cronkite died, Douskey's son Max came into his writing room.

    He said, "Walter Cronkite."

  • One Various Cronkite Videos

  • Clip Syndicate: Death Of A News Legend
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