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1968 was probably the year it came closest to completely falling apart. The sudden violent turn of events that went from assassinations of Martin Luther King to Robert Kennedy. An entire nation (France) going on strike. A political convention mired in turmoil (the Democratic Convention in Chicago). The very vocal opposition growing to the War in Vietnam. The pronounced division of people along political lines. The violence in our cities. The rise of Nixon and the new face of race-baiting vigilantism.
No wonder it was called “The Incredible Year”. What was incredible is that we somehow survived it at all.
And the news that year was anything but light-hearted. Some chose to ignore, spin or dig the divisions deeper. While some chose to get a better understanding of what was going on.
Programs like the nightly Newsfront from EEN (Eastern Educational Network), a forerunner of PBS began to appear on TV. An intense one hour examination of the events of the day, Newsfront sought to bring about a cross-section of people and events in order to spread some understanding of events unfolding with increasing speed.
This broadcast, from November 13, 1968 features Mitchell Krauss anchoring a newscast ranging from news on the Paris Peace Talks for the Vietnam War, to a look at the Power structure of The Soviet Union, to the state of Art collecting. But the real piece of interest on this broadcast is an interview with recently elected City Councilman of Newark New Jersey, Anthony Imperiale, who was described by some as a modern-day vigilante and race-baiter. Krauss does an extensive interview with Imperiale, discussing the sudden swing to the right, evidenced by the recent Presidential election. Was this a backlash to the violence and upheaval of the inner-cities in the 60s or was this a sign of a new breed of hate group springing up all over the country?
Much of what Imperiale says could be written today. And in fact, much of what Imperiale represents isn’t that far removed from some groups currently recruiting members today.
The end of the 60s marked a stark contrast in people and their values and what they believed in.
As proof of that contrast, following the Imperiale interview is an interview with Eric Fromm in connection with the promotion of his latest book The Revolution of Hope Toward A Humanized Technology. Fromm discusses, ironically, the growth of the Technological society and the threat of the loss of individuality in that society.
A lot to digest in an hour, but a lot to think about.
And that’s just an idea of the issues facing the world on that particular November 13th in 1968.