On CNN’s “Larry King Live” last night, retired CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite said Americans are ignorant, and that the majority of the population isn’t smart enough to make the proper decisions at election time to vote for president.
In a tirade about America not paying its teachers enough, Cronkite said:
“We're an ignorant nation right now. We're not really capable I do not think the majority of our people of making the decisions that have to be made at election time and particularly in the selection of their legislatures and their Congress and the presidency of course.”
What follows is a full transcript of this encounter, and a video link.
CRONKITE: You can take off if you want to. No, I am so appalled at the amount we pay our teachers. Now here are the people that we turn our children over to at the age of five or so to -- to -- they're the most important people in their lives, probably more so than their parents in many cases unfortunately.
But we pay them so little that in nearly every school district of the country the janitors in the buildings in which they work make more than they do as teachers for heaven's sakes. We should be ashamed of ourselves.
If we expect this country to work, it depends on an informed, an intelligent electorate. You know, Thomas Jefferson said very early on in our republic that the nation that expects to be ignorant and free expects it never can and never will be.
We're an ignorant nation right now. We're not really capable I do not think the majority of our people of making the decisions that have to be made at election time and particularly in the selection of their legislatures and their Congress and the presidency of course. I don't think we're bright enough to do the job that would preserve our democracy, our republic. I think we're in serious danger.
KING: So, you are not optimistic?
CRONKITE: Not on that score.
KING: Well that's a big score.
CRONKITE: And one of the problems today is, of course, now we've got all these other expenses in the billions of dollars where we should be putting those billions of dollars into education first and then worry about these other things we have to pay for after that.