Home The Story The Book About
This Site
Sponsored by
Green Harbor Publications

Walter Cronkite's Cable
Here is a portion of a cable that Walter Cronkite sent back to the United Press office. It provides an interesting example of the "cable-ese" used to send stories over the wire.

Original cable (excerpt)
This story New York Times Bob Post dash the story he uncan write today stop its story big lumbering bespectacled harvard graduate who looked about much like intrepid airmen as oliver hardy but whose heart beat same doordie cadence pilots etcrew american bomber which he accompanied doom somewhere superwilhelmshaven stop today Bob Post officialy reported missing action paragraph charter member quote writing sixty ninth unquote american newsmen assigned eighth air corps stop he one five us who offtook yesterday first operational trip cumfortresses etliberators stop rest us safelied stop post did not paragraph protwentyfour hours we upheld news posts loss while supposedly hardbitten cynical newsmen who his companions this venture held prayer his crippled bomber might reached safety remote britshore or downgone sea where britairsea rescue service could uppicked paragraph but time limit that possibility passed now etwere downsitting story all us knew might have write about one our number some day stop strange but those trick phrases we upthought about one another ettaunted each other with through high altitude training course etthen long wait ongo mission just wont come today paragraph standard joke among ten us who originally assigned airforce quote eyell write nice piece about you bill parenthesis or glad or paul dash or bob unparenthesis when you dont get back stop subquote eye returned this lonely cokeheated shack today etfound no smiling face my fellow knight of fourth estate unsubquote eyell write unquote we used say paragraph post if goodnatured kidding then etcumtypical goodnature post one ringleaders stop it not so funny today

Possible translation
This is the story of Bob Post of the New York Times - the story he cannot write today. It's the story of a big lumbering bespectacled Harvard graduate who looked about as much like an intrepid airman as Oliver Hardy, but whose heart beat the same do-or-die cadence as the pilots and crew of the American bomber which he accompanied to doom somewhere over Wilhelmshaven. Today Bob Post was officially reported missing in action. Charter member of the "Writing Sixtyninth," American newsmen assigned to the Eighth Air Corps, he was one of five of us who took off yesterday on the first operational trip with Fortresses and Liberators. The rest of us landed safely, Post did not. For twenty-four hours we held up the news of Post's loss while the supposedly hardbitten cynical newsmen who were his companions in this venture held a prayer that his crippled bomber might have reached safety on some remote British shore or gone down in the sea where the British air/sea rescue service could have picked him up. But the time limit for that possibility has passed now and we're sitting down with the story all of us knew we might have to write about one of our number some day. It's strange but those trick phrases we thought up about one another and taunted each other with through the high altitude training course and then the long wait to go on a mission just won't come today. The standard joke among the ten of us who were originally assigned to the air force was, "I'll write a nice piece about you Bill (or Glad or Paul - or Bob) when you don't get back. 'I returned to this lonely cokeheated shack today and found no smiling face of my fellow knight of the fourth estate,' I'll write," we used to say. We had a lot of goodnatured kidding then, and with his typical good nature Post was one of the ringleaders. But it's not so funny today.
| Back: German Newspaper Account |
| Next: The End of the Writing 69th |
| Site Map |

Copyright 1996-2003, Jim Hamilton
Questions? Send an e-mail to jim@greenharbor.com