Fifty years ago Spiro Agnew gave us a powerful warning. In Agnew’s famous Iowa speech known as “The Responsibilities of Television,” the vice president wanted Americans to be aware of the danger of power being concentrated “in the hands of a tiny, enclosed fraternity of privileged men elected by no one and enjoying a monopoly sanctioned and licensed by government.”
At the time, Agnew was referring to broadcast news. Back then, Americans only had three national news programs to choose from and they all offered the same spin. That power was especially obvious after the Vietnam War’s Tet Offensive. On the ground, the battle was a massive defeat for the communists and a tremendous success story for our troops. But in America’s living rooms, The Tet Offensive represented a failure –or at least was portrayed as one, as that was the picture painted for Americans by Walter Cronkite and his colleagues.