West Point Cheating Scandal

The West Point Cheating scandal. Many said America's moral center had dropped out.

August 3, 1951 – When Scandal Hit An Institution – West Point In Crisis

West Point Cheating Scandal
The West Point Cheating scandal. Many said America’s moral center had dropped out.

August 3, 1951 – CBS: Edward R. Murrow News With Don Hollenbeck – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

August 3, 1951 – Scandal was the word this day. News broke that some 90 Cadets at the prestigious West Point Military Academy had been given General Discharges over cheating on exams and violating the Academy’s Honor Code. The ones involved were alleged to be the Army Football team, aided by friends who supplied the players with questions to upcoming tests.

The reason, as many of those accused explained, had to do with the amount of Football practice conflicting with the amount of studying to maintain grades. The accused players said they couldn’t do both. The scandal had repercussions all over Capitol Hill, with many saying the scandal pointed to the loss of moral center the country was going through. Others were quick to point to Communist influence having much to do with that loss of morals. The scandal, despite whatever moral or political overtones it case, was shocking to most in the country, as it meant another institution of public trust had been violated. Congress was calling for an investigation to make sure a situation like this never happened again.

And there was other scandal news – this one in the form of political campaigns. A Senate sub-committee denounced what it called “the despicable back-street type of campaign” conducted on behalf of Republican Senator John Marshall Butler of Maryland during the 1950 mid-term elections against incumbent Senator, Democrat Millard Tydings. The gist of the findings held that workers for the Butler campaign outside Maryland were attempting to raise doubts about Tydings Patriotism and loyalty by printing a doctored photograph of Tydings with Communist leader Earl Browder. The photograph made it appear Tydings was listening intently to Browder and was sympathetic to the Communist cause. The committee’s findings were turned over to the Justice Department for possible action.

And that’s just a small sample of what was going on in the world, this August 3rd in 1951 as reported by Don Hollenbeck, substituting for Edward R. Murrow and The News.

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