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History of Chicago 1968

CHICAGO, 1968 : P OLICY AND P RO T E S T AT T HE DEMOCR AT IC N AT ION AL CONV EN T ION

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ROLE SHEET: Walter Trohan, Mainstream Journalist

M AINS T R E AM JOUR N ALIS T

Walter Trohan Chicago Tribune columnist

orn in Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, in 1903, your family moved to the South Side of Chicago in 1910, so you grew up and went to school in Chicago. You know the city well. This is your town.

In high school, you worked as a reporter for a small newspaper, The Daily Calumet. After graduating, you attended the University of Notre Dame with the specific idea of becoming a newspaperman. Consequently, you took many courses in English and history.

After graduating, you worked in New York City, but you did not like it, so you came back to Chicago, where you got a job with the City News Bureau in 1927. This gave you the opportunity to cover the infamous 1929 St. Valentine’s Day massacre when Al Capone’s gang gunned down seven members of a rival organization. Even though you had to take a streetcar, you were the first reporter on the scene.

Your crack reporting earned you a job with the Chicago Tribune covering courts. In 1934, they offered you a job working in Washington, D.C. After accepting, you ironically observed, “From the lofty beginnings of police reporting, I descended into politics. My progress has been steadily downward ever since.”1

When you first arrived, Washington seemed more like a small town than the nation’s capital. You had free run of the White House and had the telephone numbers of everyone on the cabinet. Your stories were often critical of Roosevelt’s New Deal programs, but you always maintained a cordial relationship with the president. He had charisma in spades, but he was also the worst snob you ever encountered. You also cultivated a relationship with FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.

Over the years, your connections and experience as a Washington insider gave you a number of scoops. For example, in 1951, you were the first to learn that President Truman planned to fire General Douglas MacArthur over their differences regarding Korean War strategy.

You eventually became a senior reporter and served as the executive director of the Tribune’s Wash- ington Bureau; you built it from four reporters to about fourteen. You have worked in Washington for more than thirty-five years and are contemplating retirement, but you have at least one Convention left in you—particularly one in your old hometown.

OBJECTIVES The Tribune is the best of Chicago’s newspapers. You are a political reporter, well versed in the ins and outs of Washington, so your research needs to be thorough, accurate, and rich in facts.

Get the scoop!

If you are the only journalist to release a call for a big event like a protest, walkout, or vice presidential pick, it will confirm your reputation as one of America’s leading journalists. Get someone to go on the record about an important upcoming event.

1. Glen Elsasser, “Walter Trohan, 100: Tribune Voice in Washington,” Chicago Tribune, October 31, 2003.

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CHICAGO, 1968 : P OLICY AND P RO T E S T AT T HE DEMOCR AT IC N AT ION AL CONV EN T ION

ROLE SHEET: Walter Trohan, Mainstream Journalist

Win a Pulitzer

After the end of the game, the Pulitzer Prize committee (the GM) will make awards.

Profile the victor

If, during the Convention, you publish a story focusing on whoever goes on to get the presidential nom- ination, you will have shown excellent journalistic instincts.

Avoid serious injury

Reporters are willing to put themselves in harm’s way in order to get a good story, but you draw the line at serious injury. It will be impossible to cover the story if you are sent to the hospital.

Adhere to journalistic ethics

Do not disseminate demonstrably false statements that are damaging to a person’s reputation. This is defamation. Players who believe journalists have libeled them may bring suit. Consult the description of journalistic ethics in the game book for details.

POWERS Power of the Press If you release a story that clearly focuses on a single delegate, the GM will award that player a Vote Bonus Certificate worth 100 additional votes. You may use this power once each game session. Similarly, if you release a story featuring a protester, it increases that player’s chances of becoming Media Darling.

Political Wisdom You have been reporting on politics for years. As a result, once each session, you may ask the GM to describe the objectives of one of the delegates. The GM will disclose information as a confidential source, which means that you must verify it with at least one player in order to use it in a story.

RESPONSIBILITIES Adhere to journalistic ethics. As a mainstream journalist, you must follow the guidelines for behavior described in the journalistic ethics section of the game book.

Work hard. You are a big believer in “shoe-leather reporting.” The story is not going to come to you. A good reporter needs to go out and find it, so if other players call press conferences, you must attend

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You may need to remind the GM that you have this special power.

CHICAGO, 1968 : P OLICY AND P RO T E S T AT T HE DEMOCR AT IC N AT ION AL CONV EN T ION

ROLE SHEET: Walter Trohan, Mainstream Journalist

at least two of them. Disparaging the work ethic of President John F. Kennedy, you said, “I envy guys that can be lazy; I never could be, I had to work for a living.”2

ASSIGNMENTS 1: First Column Write a 500–600-word column in time to distribute it during Part 1 of the game. Use this to set the scene for the Convention. Read the opening vignette and the historical context essay with care. What do they suggest will be the most controversial issues? Take care to reassure your readers that Mayor Daley has everything well in hand because of his commitment to maintaining law and order. There may be some scruffy kids in the park, but you are con- fident that the Convention will come off without a hitch.

This means that you need to start working on this story before the game even begins. Get cracking! You are on deadline!

2: Second Column Publish a second 500–600-word column for the beginning of the Part 6 of the game. Reflect on the debates over domestic policy and Vietnam. Review the stances of the potential presidential nominees. Which positions did they support? Do their views align with those expressed in the Party platform? Were they lucid and knowledgeable? Were they, in a word, presidential?

3: Commentary After the Convention ends, produce a 1000–1200-word opinion column. Sum up your thoughts on the Convention as a whole. Was the Convention a success or a failure? Did the Democrats pick a good candidate? How does he compare to Nixon? Is he likely to be able to win back white Democrats who are likely to support Wallace? Did the protesters change things for good or ill? This piece will influence the ability of the Democrats to defeat Nixon in November.

When you submit your final story to the GM, also submit the author and title of two other pieces of journalism that you found especially compelling. You cannot vote for yourself. These nominations will determine the winners of the Pulitzer Prize.

RELATIONSHIPS With the big ideas Journalism is about telling the truth, but the truth rarely reveals itself. As you wrote, “Politicians are the same around the world, and we should never forget it. They make a very good living, wherever they are, out of promises.” You are concerned that journalists too often fall into commentary and the manipulation of facts to fit their preconceptions. Again, as you put it, “They are engaged in comment- ing on what has happened or what will happen, so that naturally what is written is often a compound of myth, propaganda, guesswork, pretense and mumbo jumbo.”3

T I P

If a delegate is the focus on this story, that player can earn a Vote Bonus Certificate from the GM. Use this as an incentive to talk to you.

2. Jerry N. Hess, “Oral History Interview with Walter Trohan,” October 7, 1970. Archived at the Harry S. Truman

Library and Museum. Accessed on November 25, 2016 from www.trumanlibrary.org/oralhist/trohan.htm.

3. Walter Trohan, Political Animals: Memoirs of a Sentimental Cynic (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1975), 391.

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CHICAGO, 1968 : P OLICY AND P RO T E S T AT T HE DEMOCR AT IC N AT ION AL CONV EN T ION

ROLE SHEET: Walter Trohan, Mainstream Journalist

You do not have time for that foolishness. After meeting you, President Johnson described you as “a tough fellow. He tells exactly what he thinks and [does] not pull any punches.” You consider this high praise. Some of this toughness comes from being a conservative in a liberal line of work. Be a conscious counterbalance to the liberalism of the Democratic Party and the new breed of professional journalists that tends to support their policies and worldview. You are not a howling conservative, but you certainly believe in “learning from the lessons of the past and applying the past today.”4

To close, you believe that “[u]ntil we see both sides of any issue we cannot understand it, but also we cannot be free. . . . A good reporter must ever bear in mind the opposite side.”5

To the texts Read the following speeches by the important political leaders that appear in the game book. Pay close attention to the ways in which Nixon and Wallace might appeal to the white working class.

• Lyndon B. Johnson, “Peace without Conquest”

• Robert Kennedy, “Book and Author Luncheon”

• Richard Nixon, “Address Accepting the Presidential Nomination”

• George Wallace, “Inaugural Address”

• Dwight D. Eisenhower, “The Domino Theory”

You may also want to look at Martin Luther King Jr.’s April 4, 1967, antiwar speech, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence,” which is sometimes referred to as the “Riverside Church speech.” You can find it online. Is he a communist? It seems likely.

With other players You generally respect the other mainstream journalists. You are in competition for stories and ratings, but you are also collegial professionals, so work closely with them in order to make sure that the Con- vention is well covered.

Richard M. Nixon is not in the game, but he is a friend. Remember this as you interact with his political opponents and write about him in your column.

Hubert Humphrey is the candidate for the Democratic nomination that you most respect. You once remarked, “Every conservative has got to have his favorite liberal and Hubert happens to be mine. I like his sense of humor and I like everything about him pretty much except his ideas, and we argue about that in a pleasant way.”6

Ed Muskie, John Connally, and Fred Harris all have vice presidential ambitions. They are not raving leftists.

Richard J. Daley is not the cleanest politician in America, but Chicago is a tough town. He is comfortable with you and you with him.

4. Hess.

5. Trohan, 410.

6. Hess.

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CHICAGO, 1968 : P OLICY AND P RO T E S T AT T HE DEMOCR AT IC N AT ION AL CONV EN T ION

ROLE SHEET: Walter Trohan, Mainstream Journalist

STRATEGY ADVICE Do not wait for the newsmakers to find you; find them! Go out and get the news! Attend press confer- ences. Encourage newsmakers to give you an interview or at least something off the record.

S U M M A R Y O F Y O U R V I C T O R Y O B J E C T I V E S

You share objectives with most other mainstream journalists. Achieve all of the following objectives:

1. Scoop the competition. 2. Win a Pulitzer. 3. Anticipate the victor. 4. Avoid serious injury. 5. Avoid accusations of slander or libel.

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