Sometimes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. This is true, at least to some degree, in the study of these articles. They deal with three issues: Politics, Race and Sports and Entertainment. People are still interested in politics, though Congress, with a 14% approval rating, more people are annoyed than interested. However, the importance has not diminished. Also, race is still an issue. The 1964 and 1968 articles on race deal with the upcoming elections and how African Americans are expected to vote.
Also, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr and the political undertones that they will carry is also heavy on the minds of the country. In sports, the Olympics and the Boston Marathon command small attention. What is seen as one of the biggest differences from the 1964 and 1968 Newsweek articles in comparison to the 2007 Newsweek, that that a larger percentage of the magazine in 2007, deals with Sports, Entertainment and popular culture. Even for such a respected magazine as Newsweek, the editors cannot escape the exponential increase in popular culture at the expense of real news, which the country seems to hunger for on an hourly basis.
In the November 2, 1964 issue of Newsweek, the issue revolves around the Presidential election that is about to come later that week. The political tension is not as heavy as in past elections since everyone believes that the result will be a landslide. President Johnson is expected to beat Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater by a very large margin. Goldwater, a Republican, is hoping to court the morality vote and to point to Johnson as being soft on communism.
President Johnson , in a speech in Belleville, IL talked about the dangers of nuclear war and that, like his predecessor before him, President Kennedy, believes that the next war will be one in which there are no survivors. “We would not gain total victory in the next war, but total destruction and the survivors would be the judges of the dead.” (Meyers, 1964 pg. 23) He is referencing the dangers of a nuclear war. The war in Vietnam is gaining strength and troop levels are rising. The article points to the promise that if elected, President Johnson would help to “avoid a war in South East Asia.” In reality, the exact opposite will come to fruition.
Due to the fact that the election is near, the next issue of Newsweek, deals with the demographics of the voters and how they voted. Most findings will report that Johnson won most of the demographics since his margin of victory was 486 to 47 in electoral votes. It will remain as one of the most lopsided victories in American political history. What is interesting in this article entitled The Mood of an Avalanche, is the fact that African Americans, individuals who voted for the straight Republican ticket since Andrew Johnson, now voted overwhelmingly for President Johnson.
It is reported that 96% of the African American voters voted for President Johnson. (Mulligan, 1964 pg. 24) This is due in part to the fact that Senator Goldwater courted the Segregationist vote in the South to such a degree that African Americans turned away from him in droves. In one Mississippi small town in which there counted only 257 voters, the article reports that all 257 voted for Johnson. This article is important in dealing with race and how it affects the voting demographics since African Americans will vote for the straight democratic ticket from now on.
In Sports and Entertainment, the 1964 Olympics is proceeding. In a Newsweek article entitled The Gold Rush, the fact that the Americans are leading the medal total, is a story. However, one of the most famous stories revolved around the Native American runner Billy Mills. Movies would be made about this person. Born into poverty and enduring racism at every turn, Billy Mills would become a champion runner. His main event was the 10,000 meter run.
During this event in the Olympics, Billy Mills was pushed by another runner onto the outside of the track. Usually, this serves as a great impediment to the runner. However, Mills, against the prevailing knowledge of track and field, once pushed, continues to run in the middle of the track on the middle lane. This forces Mills to run longer distances than his opponent. However, not only does Mills win, but he creates an Olympic record in the event in the process. It is the inspirational story for the18th Olympics.
Fast forward to 1968 and the political scene still deals with President Johnson. However, things have not been going well for him. 1968 would be the year that saw more than 500,000 American troops in Vietnam. Clearly, President Johnson would not be the President to keep America out of the war. In a Newsweek article dated April 22, 1968, the fact that Robert Kennedy is running for President as well and has forced President Johnson to say that he will not run for the presidency that year. His tenure will end on January 20, 1969. The article talks about the influence that a number of different factors and how they will play into the election. The first is Robert Kennedy.
The second is the Republican Candidate, Richard Nixon. “Nixon lost the 1960 election because the 1960 televised Presidential debate, left the country feeling as though Mr. Nixon was not as likable and trusting as John F. Kennedy.” (1968 pg. 32) The question now is, eight years later, how will television affect the election and how will Mr. Nixon respond. There is also a report in the article entitled Politics ‘68, what demographics will vote for which candidate. The demographics are divided into race, gender, religion, occupation and regions of the country.
By the end of April, 1968, the country is still reeling from the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. He was killed on the balcony of a hotel on Memphis earlier that month. Riots in most of the country’s largest cities occurred and many people died. “The arithmetic of the week’s pillage was more than enough. Civil disorders raging from riots to random shop windows breaking, occurred in more than 130 cities and caused an estimated $5 million worth of damage.
More than 20,000 arrests and endless injuries have been the result.” (Jules, 1968 pg. 47) 1968 was one of the hardest years for the American public to endure. The assassination of Martin Luther King was one of those reasons and added to the madness of the situation. Many wondered in the article where the Civil Rights movement would turn to next. What leader would take the reigns? To many, people are still asking the same question.
In Sports, the 72nd Boston Marathon was reported as being under way in the April 29, 1968 issue of Newsweek. Out of a total of 890 runners, the winner boasted a winning time of 2 hours twenty two minutes and seventeen seconds. This was not a great time. However, it was run by an American, the first American to win the Boston Marathon since 1957. (Jones, 1968 pg. 38)
His name was Ambrose Burfoot, aged 21. Burfoot beat all others by a sizable margin but not one which would endure posterity. However, the fact that Burfoot was an American, then as well as now, is an important note as it has been the running feats of foreigners which has dominated the winner’s circle at the Boston marathon.
I In the January 8, 2007 edition of Newsweek, the main story is the death of Saddam Hussein. The once feared leader of Iraq who was found hiding in a spider hole in December of 2003, was finally put to death. The article entitled Death of a Tyrant, headlines the life and legend of the man and the reign of terror that he placed upon his people for so many decades. The article also speaks to the trouble which occurred from a secret video tape being smuggled out of the area where Saddam was killed.
This was in direct opposition to the orders of both the American and Iraqi forces. Such images was believed to help incite riots among the enemy and was by a public relations point of view, counterproductive. Also, in politics, the death of President Ford was the news for the week as well. The article details the life of President Ford and how he was able to heal the country after the scandal of Watergate. The article finally gives credit to Ford by saying that pardoning President Nixon was the right thing to do as it helped the country to heal.
In Race, the production of O.J. Simpson’s book If I Did It, produced such an outrage that production was stopped. A January 22, 2007 Newsweek article details this. This is a racial issue because the beliefs regarding his innocence or guilt for the 1994 death of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ron Goldman, was so split on racial lines that it still incites controversy. More than 80% of white Americans believe that OJ is guilty and over 80% of African Americans believe that he is not. (Brunell, 2007 pg. 48) That is why anything that deals with OJ Simpson and the murders, is dealt with on racial lines. The fact that he wrote a book that served as a sort of quasi confession, enraged many Americans and forced his supporters to wonder if he really was guilty of the murders for which he was charged.
In Sports and Entertainment, a sad story was detailed in the January 15, 2007 issue of Newsweek. In a time of divisive issues which help to split the country up into racial and political lines, Steve Irwin the Crocodile Hunter was an individual who everyone seemed to have a positive opinion about. His popular show detailed frequent run ins with some of the world’s most dangerous animals.
Over the past few years, he had become highly popular and when speaking of the name of Steve Irwin, most people had a positive opinion of the man. This ended when a sting ray pierces through his heart and killed him. This served as important news all over the country as well as for the rest of the world.
What is interesting to note, through a study of these three separate dates, is that many things still stay the same. There are more colorized pictures in the 2007 Newsweek and there are more articles designed towards Sports and entertainment in the 2007 Newsweek, but race and politics are still important. The 1964 and 1968 editions of Newsweek death with both. The elections in 1964 and 1968 served as some of the more important elections in the country’s history.
How would the Vietnam War continue? Would the Civil Rights movement continue with the help of the White House and members of Congress? And if not, how would African Americans vote and who did they believe gave the best chance at equality? These issues are much the same in 2007. The Vietnam War has been replaced with the war in Iraq, although not nearly to the same degree as the Vietnam War. African Americans still vote the straight Democratic ticket. In 2000 and 2004, African Americans voted for the Democratic presidential candidate at a rate of more than 9 to 1. The same can be seen in the attempted release of the OJ Simpson book. If I did It. The news of this released such anger from most of the public and incited an argument which brought back, although to a much less degree, the racial tension that was caused from the famous trial and acquittal.
Decklan, M Death of a Tyrant Newsweek. January 8, 2007
Jones, L. The Gold Rush. Newsweek October 26, 1964 pg. 13
Jules, J. The Death of Martin Luther King Newsweek. April 22, 1968 pg. 45
Kilmer, F Final Hunt for Steve Irwin. Newsweek January 15, 2007
Meyers. J Down to the Wire. Newsweek Magazine November 2, 1964 pg. 23-27
Mulligan, L. The Making of an Avalanche November 9, 1964 pg. 28-21
Nieves, D. OJ’s Troubles Continue Newsweek January 22, 2007
Stevens, K. American Wins Boston Marathon. April 29, 1968 pg. 32
RFK vs. LBJ? Newsweek April 29, 1968 pg. 12