News of the day via the in-depth program Newsfront for September 16, 1970. Dealing with Campus unrest and protest. PLO in Jordan. Interview with Fred Hechinger of N.Y. Times on the future of Education. East-West relations and the upcoming Nixon visit to Yugoslavia. Opening of a new exhibition at Jewish Museum dedicated to computer generated "art".
September 16, 2011

Getting to be a familiar site in 1970.

I think it would be safe to say 1970 was a tipping point for our current state of affairs, if September 16th of that year is any indication.

From this very in-depth news program Newsfront; a nightly 1 hour current events wrap-up from then NET, come several interesting stories that lay the groundwork for speculation that The Nixon Years had more far reaching consequences than were realized at the time.

First off, there is the issue of Campus Unrest which began in earnest in 1969. After a previous semester of violence, culminating in the National Guard shooting deaths of students at Kent and Jackson State in May of 1970, fears were rife that the new semester would offer more of the same. Evidenced by Nixon's heckling during an address at Kansas State University earlier that day, questions arose as to just what the future for Education in the U.S. was going to be in 1970? Interviewed for the program by Anchor Mitchell Krauss, former New York Times Education editor Fred Hechinger offers pessimism, saying all indications showed a dramatic cut in funding for Institutions of Higher Learning throughout the U.S., citing the growing "tax revolt" and the dwindling of state and local revenues in support of colleges and high schools. Coupled with the dramatic gutting of various educational programs, you get the impression there was a certain amount of "revenge taking" on the part of the Nixon Administration towards "those long haired bums".

Second, you had the perennial Middle-East. This time the issue was Jordan and the presence of the PLO who were, at that time, supported by the claimed Soviet-leaning countries of Syria and Iraq. The PLO, under the leadership of up-and-comer Yassar Arafat, were looking to topple the government of King Hussein and establish a Palestinian government and PLO forces were in the process of invading Jordan with active support from Iraq. Iraq in 1970 was receiving aid and support from Moscow and yes, oil factors into that picture, concluding with a treaty of friendship with the Soviet Union in 1972. It should be noted that Saddam Hussein didn't take control until 1979, but the seeds of overthrow (or resignation on the part of former leader Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr) were no doubt planted in March of 1970.

The subject of East-West relations were also the subject of another interview on this Newsfront broadcast with Samuel Pisar, former economic and Foreign Policy adviser to the Kennedy administration regarding the upcoming Nixon visit to Yugoslavia and the implications of that visit.

In other news: New York Mayor Lindsey criticized the latest Census findings, claiming figures were grossly underestimated, saying the population of New York city alone was 500,000 more than claimed. The re-trial of the Okinawa Rape case and Court Martial in 1968 against Lance Corporal Ronald V. Johnson was getting underway. And the opening of a "strange new exhibit" at the Jewish Museum in New York entitled "Software", depicting art generated by computer drew criticism and curious speculation over what these new machines were all about.

And so went that particular September 16th in 1970.


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