While warming up the early-morning coffee the other day, I was performing my customary dial-twirling ritual - flipping back and forth between NBC's Today Show and the CBS Morning News. Television being the ulcer-ridden competitive market that it is, the best shows are always on at the same time, even news and special events - which makes a full-time news-watcher like myself furious. During a commercial time-out on Today I switched over two dial spots to Hughes Rudd's Morning News. A special report was in progress from the volatile Middle East. The newsman was interviewing Israeli citizens on whether they felt their nation was justified in developing and, more important, using atomic weapons. Of those interviewed the unanimous answer was "yes" - even from a gentleman philosopher who had been, up until now, a life- long pacifist. To him, Israel's burdened back was slowly but steadily being shoved up against a political Wailing Wall. He felt that if worse came to worse in a future Arab-Israeli war. Israel would be justified in using the bomb - if it had it - and in risking even self-imposed extinction rather than submitting to the threatening Arab armies. In rich symbolism, the CBS reporter, switching to a very appropriate outdoor location for his sign-off said, "This is Tom Fenton, reporting from the plains of Armageddon." This made me think. Fenton just might have to do another report from the same spot in another ten years, the way things are going in the world now.
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