Source:The New Democrat
“PRESIDENTS AND ASSASSINS” (CBS NEWS SPECIAL REPORT AIRED ON NOVEMBER 25, 1963)”
From David Von Pein
This CBS News Special Report, was just 3 days after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas. This was all very new with if not most Americans, but certainly a lot of them. Maybe only the oldest people in America remember William Mckinley being assassinated in 1901 and people who would have to be in their early hundreds at this point to remember President Abraham Lincoln being assassinated in 1865. And to remember President Lincoln being assassinated in 1865 and to still alive and to remember that in 1963, you would need one helluva healthy mind and perhaps body as well.
And since this was all so new with most Americans and with network news not being the dominate factor in America media in the early 60s that it had become by the early 70s with the Watergate coverage and President Richard Nixon’s administration, Americans weren’t use to seeing these special reports from the networks devoting so much air time to covering current affairs especially during prime time when most networks back then were showing their family entertainment like sitcoms, dramas, variety shows. Forget about 24 hour news networks not being around yet in the early 60s, network news other than the morning show and nightly news wasn’t much of a factor yet by this time.
The JFK assassination changed America a lot as far as how it operated and changed both our government and culture as well. The President got a lot more security with the Secret Service now becoming a major factor not just in the President’s life, but his family as well, and ex-president’s and their families. Americans started becoming more interested in current affairs with the networks newscast moving from 11 minutes a night to 22 minutes a night ( not including commercials ) and with nightly newscasts expanding, special reports and documentaries that were produced by the network news divisions themselves like CBS News for CBS, because a regular part of TV network viewing in the 1960s.
This CBS News Special Report by Eric Sevareid, is something that today you would probably see from PBS, CNN, perhaps MSNBC or FNC, but probably coming from a real slant. C-SPAN or one of the 24 hour documentary networks like National Geographic Channel today because the broadcast networks don’t want to donate even a hour of their time at night to showing a current affairs or history documentary and take that time away from one of their hit sitcoms or dramas, especially when there’s PBS, one of the news networks, or the documentary channels like History and others that show this type of programming all day and all night everyday and every night. But post-JFK assassination up until really the 1990s or so documentaries and Special Reports about one particular subject that was going on in the country at the time were shown by the networks on a regular basis back then.