The latest direct-mail fundraising letter from Walter Cronkite for the liberal Interfaith Alliance begins with the ludicrous sentence: "When I anchored the evening news, I kept my opinions to myself." (SURE you did.) It continues: "But now, more than ever, I feel I must speak out. That's because I am deeply disturbed by the dangerous and growing influence of people like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell on our nation's political leaders."
What? Robertson and Falwell, "growing influence"? They may have seemed like the top dogs in the religious right when Cronkite retired from newscasting in 1981, but the growing-influence train has passed them by. (Do they believe Robertson calling for the head of Hugo Chavez is an act destined to cause "growing influence"?) Cronkite's little note has another Robertson and Falwell mentions and two mentions of the Christian Coalition, which is a mere shell of its former self after being picked apart by the Federal Election Commission in the 1990s.
Then comes Interfaith Alliance leader Welton Gaddy's letter, which begins: "Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and other leaders of the Religious Right say you agree with their radical intolerant agenda." It also has a second Robertson & Falwell sentence on Page Three. Message: this letter may sound like it should come with its own customized cobwebs, but it still shakes the money tree.
Earlier this year, liberals who wanted to buy a clue could get it from Time magazine listing the 25 most influential evangelicals like James Dobson and Chuck Colson (with a Catholic or two thrown in). If Cronkite still wanted to look like a journalist instead of a left-wing pitchman, he'd ask his "interfaith" pals to bring their shtick forward a few decades. And you thought it was conservatives who liked to turn back the clock.