One in this series of seminars conducted by The Museum of Television & Radio. This seminar was held in New York and moderated by Museum president Robert M. Batscha. The seminar explores the role the media played in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Museum television curator Ron Simon introduces the seminar, and a clip tape of relevant material from the Museum's collection is screened. The tape includes segments from the following programs and networks: CBS News Extra; ABC News Special; ABC News Nightline; and NBC White Paper. Batscha introduces the panel: Donald M. Wilson, a former member of President John F. Kennedy's National Security Council; Richard C. Hottelet, a United Nations correspondent for CBS; Sander Vanocur, political reporter; Edmundo Desnoes, author and former participant in the Cuban revolutionary government; and Jane Franklin, historian and author. Each panelist makes opening statements regarding the "Thirteen Days" of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The panelists continue their discussion, and cover the following topics, among others: the background of the Missile Crisis; Cuban leader Fidel Castro's repeated exploitation of television as a means of propaganda; the lack of information available to the press after Kennedy's television address about the Crisis; Operation Mongoose, the U.S. government's covert attempt to sabotage Castro and his government; the work of Pierre Salinger and Adlai Stevenson in Kennedy's administration; problems that result from too much secrecy in a government; the importance of being critical of the press; and the many differences in press coverage of the Kennedy administration and the George W. Bush administration. The panel takes questions from students who are viewing the seminar live via satellite at the University of Missouri at St. Louis, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Ohio University, Bowling Green State University, and Southern Illinois University. While responding to the questions, the panelists cover the following topics, among others: coverage of current events in the media today; Voice of America, the U.S. government-funded broadcasting network; the U.S. government's lack of dialogue with the Cuban people before, during, and after the Missile Crisis; whether the embargo on Cuba should be lifted; and advice for aspiring journalists. Biographies Edmundo Desnoes was an active participant in the Cuban revolutionary government for nearly twenty years. As a central figure in Cuba's cultural arena, he worked in publishing for the Ministry of Education and directed the graphic arts department for La Comisi—n de Orentaci—n Revolucionaria, the propaganda branch of the government. He published his first novel, "No Hay Problema," in 1964, followed by such other works as "Memories of Underdevelopment" and a book of essays, "Punto de vista," which included an appraisal of Fidel Castro. Desnoes defected in 1979 and has since taught at several colleges, including Dartmouth, and has published an anthology of Cuban literature. Jane Franklin is a writer and historian whose recent work has focused primarily on Cuba. She is the author of "Cuba Foreign Relations: A Chronology, 1959-1982" and "Cuba and the United States: A Chronological History." Since 1979 she has been an editor and contributing editor for Cuba Update, the magazine of the Center for Cuban Studies, and is a frequent commentator on Cuba on both radio and television. Richard C. Hottelet was CBS's United Nations correspondent at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and he worked for the U.N. from 1985 to 1987. He began his career as a correspondent for the United Press inside Nazi Germany. While there he was arrested by the gestapo on charges of espionage, but was exchanged for a Nazi newsman being held by the United States. In 1944 he joined CBS as a correspondent in Edward R. Murrow's London Bureau. He also moderated National Public Radio's "America and the World" from 1989 to 1995. Sander Vanocur joined NBC news in 1957 and eventually became White House Correspondent, a position he held at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. While at NBC Vanocur was also Washington correspondent for the "Today" show, a contributing editor to the "Huntley-Brinkley Report," and host of the monthly magazine program "First Tuesday." From 1977 to 1991 he was with ABC, where his assignments included floor reporter for the 1980 and 1984 Republican and Democratic conventions, as well as anchor of the first weekly business program on network television, "Business World." He left ABC in 1991 to form his own company, Old Owl Communications, a full service communications and consulting corporation. Donald M. Wilson was the acting director of the United States Information Agency and a member of the Executive Committee of the National Security Council at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. He later served as general manager of Time-Life International and associate publisher for Life magazine, and served as corporate vice president of public affairs for Time Inc. from 1969 to 1989. He is currently the publisher of NJBIZ, a newspaper he created with George Taber in 1988, that covers New Jersey business. Wilson has served as vice president of The Independent Journalism Foundation for the past eleven years.


  • DATE: October 22, 2002 Tuesday 7:30 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:26:44
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T:73033
  • GENRE: Seminars


    • Robert M. Batscha … Moderator
    • Edmundo Desnoes … Panelist
    • Jane Franklin … Panelist
    • Richard C. Hottelet … Panelist
    • Sander Vanocur … Panelist
    • Donald M. Wilson … Panelist
    • George W. Bush
    • Fidel Castro
    • John F. Kennedy
    • Pierre Salinger
    • Ron Simon
    • Adlai Stevenson