Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Guest Post: "Nixon Proven Right"

First appeared on Today in Alternate History:

May 12, 1976 - Nixon Proven Right

Having already delivered a bomb-shell in the most controversial report of his nine-year long career, CBS Evening News anchor Arnold Zenker ended the show with a low-key catch-phrase from his predecessor Walter Cronkite, "And that's the way it is." 
The explosive truth had been accidentally revealed during that messiest of divorce hearings George W. Bush vs Ms Tricia Nixon. Of course before this unfortunate break-up, the Bush and Nixon dynasties had gone back a long way, as did Bush Senior's involvement in the Agency. It was the accidental disclosure of private information from the CIA Director that was the topic of "Uncle Arnold's" show that night.

Surprisingly, the incredible accounts of Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein had passed largely unchallenged. Although they probably would make a great movie, the details of the mysterious meeting in the garage, the identity of "Deep Throat" etc. were worthy of their own close examination. And now the balance of evidence suggested that Bob Woodward might himself be a CIA Agent.

Gene Roberts, the former executive editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer and former managing editor of The New York Times, had called the work of Woodward and Bernstein "maybe the single greatest reporting effort of all time."

Zenker was the previously unknown Columbia Broadcasting System executive who shot to national fame when he replaced Walter Cronkite on the CBS Evening News for thirteen days during a television strike. When Cronkite returned, he opened the program by saying, "Good evening. This is Walter Cronkite, sitting in for Arnold Zenker. It's good to be back."

In 1967 at the age of 28, he was asked to sit in for anchor Walter Cronkite to deliver the nightly news. Zenker, working as a Manager of News Programming at CBS at the time, was chosen because a strike by the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists left the network without an immediate substitute. Once the strike ended, Zenker returned to his former post.

It was too late for former president Richard Nixon, however, who had resigned rather than drag the nation down in a fight against the conspiracy that ended his career.

Author's Notes: George W Bush did date Richard Nixon's daughter but of course married Laura Welch.

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