Thursday, October 18, 2012


by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

There is news today of the imminent passings of two great Americans - one a beloved statesman, and the other a weekly publication that captured the essence of the nation for eight decades.

George McGovern, the liberal United States Senator from South Dakota in the sixties and seventies (and into the eighties), came to national prominence when the Democratic Party nominated him to run against the incumbent President, Richard Nixon, in 1972.  McGovern, a World War II B-24 bomber pilot, was one of the most honorable people to ever grace the national stage.  He ran in 1972 as the candidate who would bring peace to the catastrophe that was the Vietnam War.  Nixon and his merry band of criminals painted McGovern as a pacifist and left-wing loony.  Nixon won that election by one of the widest margins in history, only losing Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.

McGovern is 90-years-old.  He is currently is hospice care and his family reports that he is "unresponsive."  They are gathered at his bedside in Sioux Falls awaiting his passing.

I voted absentee in 1972 from Okinawa where I was stationed with the Army.  That was my first presidential vote, and I cast it proudly for George McGovern.  The military used our official rosters to send out pro-Nixon voting literature.  (I know that because there was an error on my address on the voting propaganda, the same error that the military had on its official roster on Okinawa.)

George McGovern is from the small town of Mitchell, South Dakota.  Anyone who has ever driven toward the Badlands or Mt. Rushmore is familiar with the scores of billboards directing them to the famous "Corn Palace" of Mitchell.  It is an old auditorium that the locals completely cover with dead vegetation - corn stalks, sun flowers, leaves, etc - each year.   The Corn Palace is quite the tourist attraction - and well worth pulling off of the road for a quick look-see.

George McGovern will be missed, particularly in times such as these when politicians seem to have no concept of the term "integrity."

The other sad passing is that of Newsweek magazine.  It was announced yesterday that the American journalistic staple will cease publication on December 31st of this year.  All of its content will now be offered on-line at The Daily Beast.   Thousands of people, of course, will lose their jobs as this change occurs - and America will lose an old friend.

Can Time be far behind?

1 comment:

Don said...

From the late 60s to the present day, I've read Newsweek cover-to-cover. In the early days, it provided me with the information I needed to stay informed about world and national affairs. Lately, though, I suffered with the magazine and your comparison with the dying McGovern (also one of my own folk heros) is quite apt.

Beginning around the turn of the century, the magazine's weekly format became less and less sustainable in an age that valued instant access more than informed analysis. As a result, its subscription base withered, its once-proud masthead became lost in a sea of commercial necessity and I, for one, began to mourn its passing even then.

Newsweek's imminent demise is part of the dismantling of print journalism that will continue until, at some point in the not-too-distant future even the Gray Lady, quietly and without much fanfare, finally lays down and gives up the ghost.