LAST CALL: Today's media would be bad news in '62

Who hasn't said after a hard day tussling with journalists: 'The

media will kill me eventually.'

It's a joke of course. But according to Ted Sorensen, former legal

counsel to John F. Kennedy, if today's frenzied media had existed in

1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis may have had a much deadlier


Sorensen, part of a panel discussing communications trends at PR21's

regular 21Club breakfast two weeks ago, says that the 13-day grace

period that Kennedy and his clan had to think over their options for

retaliation at the Soviet missile build-up in Cuba was crucial.

'Right at the start, Kennedy favored a strike. But after a few days he

concluded that a more measured response was more appropriate - this

turned out to be the right decision as a strike would almost certainly

have triggered all-out nuclear war.'

But the government would never have had its '13 days' with the 24 hour

news environment that we experience nowadays, thinks Sorensen. If news

of the crisis had leaked out and Kennedy had been forced to react early,

he would have made the wrong decision. Spooky.

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