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Cuban Missile Crisis and the Media

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With support from: Lowell Institute
Date and time
Monday, October 28, 2002

A panel that includes White House correspondents Sander Vanocur and Robert Pierpoint, former CBS Moscow Bureau Chief Marvin Kalb, pollster Tom Smith, and former FCC Chair Newton Minow discusses the role the media played during the Missile Crisis in the attempt to avert nuclear war. Should our country face another confrontation of this magnitude how would today's media respond?

Robert Pierpoint is a former American broadcast journalist who worked for CBS. Before becoming one of CBS' White House correspondents, Pierpoint covered the Korean War and appeared on the first edition of See It Now in 1951. He also covered the State Department for CBS, and appeared frequently on Charles Kuralt's Sunday Morning broadcasts until his retirement. As a close associate of Edward R. Murrow on radio and television, he is seen as part of the second generation of Murrow's Boys. He is also remembered for playing himself, on the radio, in the final episode of M*A*S*H. In all, Mr. Pierpoint served as White House Correspondent for 6 presidential administrations, from Eisenhower to Carter. His memoirs from this period are detailed in his book At the White House, published in 1981.
Marvin Kalb, Edward R. Murrow Professor of Practice, Emeritus, and Senior Fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, was the Shorenstein Centers Founding Director and Edward R. Murrow Professor of Press and Public Policy (1987 to 1999). He was also recipient of the 2006 National Press Club Fourth Estate Award. His distinguished journalism career encompasses 30 years of award-winning reporting for CBS and *NBC News*, as Chief Diplomatic Correspondent, Moscow Bureau Chief, and host of *Meet the Press*. Kalb has authored or coauthored 10 nonfiction books and two best-selling novels. His most recent book, *The Media and the War on Terrorism* (coedited with Stephen Hess), explores the interaction between the government and the media during times of war and national emergency. Kalb is currently writing a history of the impact of the Vietnam War on American presidential politics. He hosts *the Kalb Report*, a discussion of media ethics and responsibility at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, and he is a regular contributor to Fox television and National Public Radio.
Newton Minow was one of the most controversial figures ever to chair the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Appointed in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, Minow served only two years, but during that time he stimulated more public debate over television programming than any other chair in the history of the commission. Trained at Northwestern Law School, Minow's public career began with his involvement in the administration of Illinois governor Adlai Stevenson during the 1950s. At a very young age Minow became a leading figure both on the governor's staff and in his presidential campaigns of 1952 and 1956. During the latter, Minow became acquainted with members of the Kennedy circle and in 1960 worked for the Kennedy presidential bid, becoming close friends with the President's brother, Robert. Reportedly, the two men frequently talked at length about the increasing importance of television in the lives of their children. It therefore came as little surprise that after the election Minow eagerly pursued the position of FCC Chair. Some observers nevertheless considered it unusual given his lack of experience with the media industry and with communication law.