WMAQ Channel 5 - NewsCenter5 - "Reagan Assassination Attempt Coverage" (1981)

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Here's an edition of NewsCenter5 on WMAQ Channel 5 which was devoted entirely to the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. Featuring anchor Linda Yu, Tom Korzeniowski, Carol Marin, Russ Ewing, Rich Samuels, and Dick Kay. Includes:

Linda mentioning the local/regional angle of the Reagan shooting - with both the President and Press Secretary James Brady born and raised in the state, and wounded Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy a Chicago native, before going on to the details of the shooting, which had occurred at 1:30pm (Chicago time). Brady was critically injured, and there was an unknown as to whether he would fully recover (he didn't, ending up with permanent brain damage).

Linda then introduces a report by Tom Korzeniowski about how the people in Brady's hometown of Centralia were fighting with him. His mother, Dorothy, 74, and spokesperson Marietta Brodin(?) flew to Washington on a private jet provided at the order of Governor James Thompson to be by her son's side, and at the home where he grew up, his father Harold Brady, 85, with Dorothy at his side, spoke to the press. They were both left wondering how something like this could happen, and how one doesn't normally think of these things. Other relatives of Brady's also descended upon George Washington University to give support. Former Ford staffer and Brady associate Bill Greener is interviewed, and called his old friend "a natural."

This leads to a report by Carol Marin about how the parents of wounded Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy also flew from Chicago to Washington to be by his side. She mentions how he was a South Sider by birth, and they still live there; his sister Kerry explained how they first heard about the shooting on television, and was in a state of suspended animation for hours before learning he would recover. Also interviewed is a friend, Chicago police officer Tom Richardson (by Russ Ewing). Carol ends the report by mentioning that to queries about him leaving his Secret Service job, his answer was "no."

Linda then interviews the two reporters, starting off with Tom and his being with the Brady family; he agrees that their sentiments are at one with McCarthy's. He speaks of putting "the human complexion" on this issue. Carol speaks of how he had dealt with other candidates, including George Wallace prior to the 1972 assassination attempt, and that he had wanted this job. Both speak of how family background plays a part in one's career path, regardless of what it is.

Next, Linda introduces a report by Rich Samuels from Dixon, IL (100 miles west of Chicago), population 18,100, where Reagan grew up. The town proudly proclaims itself as Reagan's hometown, and we see the home where he lived in his young days and the church where he worshipped. Rich explains how Dixon's streets were jam-packed on January 20th when Reagan was inaugurated, but desolate on this day. Several unidentified townspeople are interviewed at a bar, then we go to an interview with his former teacher, 85-year-old Bernard Frazer, who spoke of being horrified and angry, "but it doesn't do any good."

Linda then goes to reaction from Springfield to the shooting, as reported by Dick Kay; Reagan was to have gone to the state capitol on Wednesday, April 1st, to address a joint session of the State Legislature. Governor Thompson, visibly shaken, has very few words other than what sentiments were echoed elsewhere about the shooting, speaking of a feeling of frustration and helplessness on one hand, and outrage and shock on the other. Also interviewed are Illinois State Senator Donald Totten (a longtime Reagan ally who was his campaign chairman), who predicts that this incident will serve to further restrict a President's access to the public; and Mayor Jane Byrne who speaks of feeling sorry for Nancy Reagan and all the families of the shooting victims.

This is followed by a series of man-on-the-street interviews about reactions from the average person, ranging from shock to always walking hand-in-hand with violence; the first interviewee speaks of how there are those who want to "de-powerize" others; the second speaks of how this has a direct impact on one's safety on the street; the third, an out-of-towner, calls this a consequence of "the freedom of the people"; the fourth, visibly shaken, brings up how this came on the heels of John Lennon's December 1980 murder, "can't believe" how anyone could do such things, and says she has "no intellectual response at this time."

Linda notes that many in the press are of the belief that Reagan wasn't adequately protected and that "too easy access" made this inevitable, a belief shared by former 1972 Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern who is interviewed as he is about to start a teaching job at Northwestern University. He had been stalked by the same person - Arthur Bremer - who later shot George Wallace. Other analyses are offered by David Rothstein, M.D., who has studied other Presidential assassinations; and Thomas DeMeester, M.D., a thoracic surgeon at the University of Chicago, who predicts a recovery for the President.

Next is a report on prior assassinations and assassination attempts (with Reagan the 7th President who was the target in the 20th century alone), beginning with the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, then to the 1975 assassination attempts on President Gerald Ford, an attempt on Franklin D. Roosevelt's life in 1933 that ended up claiming the life of Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak, a 1912 attempt on Theodore Roosevelt in Milwaukee, the 1901 assassination of President William McKinley (though Linda misdated it as 1908), an attempt on Harry S. Truman by a Puerto Rican national while the former was at Blair House, the 1968 assassination of Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, and the 1972 attempt on George Wallace that left him a paraplegic for the rest of his life.

Linda then reports on how the Academy Award ceremonies were postponed to the next day, the stock market suspended trading for the day, and phone calls doubled in the wake of the shooting, before the recording cuts out.

Previous to this we saw network coverage and some additional local coverage (some of which is repeated in this clip - although this clip is more complete).

This aired on local Chicago TV on Monday, March 30th 1981.


Date Uploaded: 03/29/2014

Tags: 1980s   WMAQ Channel 5   News     




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This leads to a report by Carol Marin about how the parents of wounded Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy also flew from Chicago to Washington to be by his side. She mentions how he was a South Sider by birth, and they still live there; his sister Kerry explained how they first heard about the shooting on television, and was in a state of suspended animation for hours before learning he would recover. Also interviewed is a friend, Chicago police officer Tom Richardson (by Russ Ewing). Carol ends the report by mentioning that to queries about him leaving his Secret Service job, his answer was "no."

Linda then interviews the two reporters, starting off with Tom and his being with the Brady family; he agrees that their sentiments are at one with McCarthy's. He speaks of putting "the human complexion" on this issue. Carol speaks of how he had dealt with other candidates, including George Wallace prior to the 1972 assassination attempt, and that he had wanted this job. Both speak of how family background plays a part in one's career path, regardless of what it is.

Next, Linda introduces a report by Rich Samuels from Dixon, IL (100 miles west of Chicago), population 18,100, where Reagan grew up. The town proudly proclaims itself as Reagan's hometown, and we see the home where he lived in his young days and the church where he worshipped. Rich explains how Dixon's streets were jam-packed on January 20th when Reagan was inaugurated, but desolate on this day. Several unidentified townspeople are interviewed at a bar, then we go to an interview with his former teacher, 85-year-old Bernard Frazer, who spoke of being horrified and angry, "but it doesn't do any good."

Linda then goes to reaction from Springfield to the shooting, as reported by Dick Kay; Reagan was to have gone to the state capitol on Wednesday, April 1st, to address a joint session of the State Legislature. Governor Thompson, visibly shaken, has very few words other than what sentiments were echoed elsewhere about the shooting, speaking of a feeling of frustration and helplessness on one hand, and outrage and shock on the other. Also interviewed are Illinois State Senator Donald Totten (a longtime Reagan ally who was his campaign chairman), who predicts that this incident will serve to further restrict a President's access to the public; and Mayor Jane Byrne who speaks of feeling sorry for Nancy Reagan and all the families of the shooting victims.

This is followed by a series of man-on-the-street interviews about reactions from the average person, ranging from shock to always walking hand-in-hand with violence; the first interviewee speaks of how there are those who want to "de-powerize" others; the second speaks of how this has a direct impact on one's safety on the street; the third, an out-of-towner, calls this a consequence of "the freedom of the people"; the fourth, visibly shaken, brings up how this came on the heels of John Lennon's December 1980 murder, "can't believe" how anyone could do such things, and says she has "no intellectual response at this time."

Linda notes that many in the press are of the belief that Reagan wasn't adequately protected and that "too easy access" made this inevitable, a belief shared by former 1972 Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern who is interviewed as he is about to start a teaching job at Northwestern University. He had been stalked by the same person - Arthur Bremer - who later shot George Wallace. Other analyses are offered by David Rothstein, M.D., who has studied other Presidential assassinations; and Thomas DeMeester, M.D., a thoracic surgeon at the University of Chicago, who predicts a recovery for the President.

Next is a report on prior assassinations and assassination attempts (with Reagan the 7th President who was the target in the 20th century alone), beginning with the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, then to the 1975 assassination attempts on President Gerald Ford, an attempt on Franklin D. Roosevelt's life in 1933 that ended up claiming the life of Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak, a 1912 attempt on Theodore Roosevelt in Milwaukee, the 1901 assassination of President William McKinley (though Linda misdated it as 1908), an attempt on Harry S. Truman by a Puerto Rican national while the former was at Blair House, the 1968 assassination of Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, and the 1972 attempt on George Wallace that left him a paraplegic for the rest of his life.

Linda then reports on how the Academy Award ceremonies were postponed to the next day, the stock market suspended trading for the day, and phone calls doubled in the wake of the shooting, before the recording cuts out.

Previous to this we saw network coverage and some additional local coverage (some of which is repeated in this clip - although this clip is more complete).

This aired on local Chicago TV on Monday, March 30th 1981." /> Share

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