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July 06, 1979 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1979-07-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Page 6-Friday, July 6, 1979-The Michigan Daily
THE vOWEoS THA T BE
A burre ewoW the me la

THE POWERS THAT BE, by David
Halberstam. Alfred A. Knopf, New
Yor. 771 pp. $15.00.
By JIM TOBIN
Somebody has to stop David Halber-
stam, and I've been dreaming the last
couple of nights that it's going to be me.
My first dreamsrabout Halberstam
began when I had read not more than a
hundred pages of his new book, The
Powers That Be. They were primitive
dreams in which I merely pelted the
author with pies. But lately they've
taken on organization and seriousness.
Halberstam sits on a witness stand, his
hands fidgeting in his lap. I stand
perhaps fifteen feet from him, my han-
ds resting in my pockets as I rock
slowly on my heels. There is tension
in the room, a sense of the predator
closing on the prey.
Prosecutor: This won't take long, Mr.
Halberstam. Just a few questions for
the record.
Halberstam: Of course.
P: You are currently raking in big
bucks for your bestselling book The
Powers That Be. What is it about?
H: It's about the terribly important
and very, very big American media,
and it concentrates on the powerful
men who shaped the destines of CBS,
The Washington Post, The Los Angeles

Times, and Time Magazine.
P: THIS IS YOUR second bestseller.
What was your first?
H: The Best and the Brightest.
P: What was that about?
H: The bright young men Jack Ken-
nedy brought to Washington who,
despite their brightness and youngness,
pulled America into a war in Indochina
in which we had no business, casting
aside their integrity and honor for
power and status.
P: Why did you write that book? I
remind you that you are under oath.
H: Becasuse I wanted to make a lot of
money and prove to everybody that I
was a big journalism heavyweight.
P: And why did you write The Powers
That Be?
H: The same reason.
P: I see. We'll proceed to specifics.
Mr. Halberstam, do you know what a
period is;
H: Yes.
P: Tell us.
H: It's a mark of punctuation, like a
comma.
P: Is there any difference between a
period and a comma?
H: No.
P: Is that how you came to write the
following sentence about Lyndon John-
son: "He never really made it with

television, though of course there was a'
time when he first came into office
when it was all a honeymoon and it all
worked and he reveled in it, President
of all the people, Minister of Truth, an-
chorman for all the networks, television
belonged to him, he could do whatever
he wanted, no one could ever catch up
with him; these were great moments,
his own impetuosity enhanced by being

agenda for coverage at virtually every
other major journalistic vehicle, in-
cluding the Washington Post, CBS
News, The Los Angeles Times, and
Time Magazine?
H: The New York Times.
P: Mr. Halberstam, what important
newspaper is your book not about?
H: The New York Times.
P: Thank you. Sir, would you tell us

Prosecutor: What would virtually every
American journalist say is the most important
newspaper in the nation?
Halberstam: The New York Times.
P: What important newspaper is your book not
about?
H: The New York Times.

President and a televised President at
that, his surprises becoming televised
surprises for the whole country"? I
repeat, is that how you could write such
a sentence?
H: That's right.
P: What did you say your book was
about again?
H: The big important American
media.
P: MR. HALBERSTAM, what is the
most important newspaper in
America?
H: The New York Times.
P: What would virtually every
American journalist say is the most
important newspaper in the nation, the
newspaper that not only is superior in
most forms of coverage but sets the

as many ways as you can think of to
say, "President Kennedy understood
the workings of television and was able
to use that knowledge to his own advan-
tage"?
H: Certainly.
Jack Kennedy was the first television
president.
In no way could he have been elected
president without television.
He meshed politics and television
with.. . charm and style and dispatch.
Television loved him, he and the
camera were born for each other, he
was its first great ploitical superstar; is
he made television bigger, it made him
bigger. Everybody using everybody.
The president using the media, the
See HALBERSTAM'S, Page 7

is one of
the funniest films
in years.
Gene Shalit, NBC-TV

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