Legendary newsmen Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw appeared on “Today” Friday (Nov. 22), the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, to talk about their experiences that fateful day and to show footage from the NBC special airing tonight, “Where Were You: The Day JFK Died.”
Rather was actually in Dallas 50 years ago.
“I was headquartered at the CBS affiliate, but at the time of the assassination, I was just past the railroad, over past the underpass, just beyond … where the motorcade was to officially end,” says Rather.
“I still remember my mindset,” says Brokaw “This doesn’t happen in America. This is going to change [everything].”
“We didn’t believe assassinations could happen here … we believed that was all in the past,” says Rather. “The nation was turning young, with a young, vibrant president.”
“It was the arrival of television,” adds Brokaw. “He was a very familiar figure to people because he was in their living room every night … people felt a connection to him in some way. … It was so unexpected, he seemed invulnerable to us.”
“He was also the first, I would say, Hollywood president,” says Rather. “His family had connections to Hollywood. He had this star aura about him. And he was the first president to bring modern, second-half-of-the-20th-century marketing techniques to the presidency.”
It’s a fascinating interview with the long-time reporters, definitely worth a watch.