Huntley and Brinkley are off the air, their show abruptly shelved. Lawrence Spivak, Mike Wallace and Curt Gowdy are fired outright. Edwin Newman is still on the payroll but restricted to covering baseball. Howard K. Smith has been forcibly retired, and Eric Sevareid has been rusticated to the local sta tion in Keokuk. In their place are unknown third-stringers, providing bland, cursory newscasts culled from the wire services. Translated from the French, that is the situation U.S. televiewers would face this week.
In the wake of their strike against Gaullist censorship (TIME, July 26), 102 of France’s broadcast journalists have been forced out of their jobs or received transfers. Among the dismissed: News Panel Moderator Jacques Legris, Foreign Affairs Analyst Emmanuel de La Taille and Star Sportscaster Roger Couderc. The purge, a repudiation of the government s pledge of amnesty during the strike and a violation of the French constitution, was described by Le Nouvel Observateur as “the scandal of scandals of 1968. Of all the humiliations inflicted by the regime, this one seems the worst.”
Equally scandalized were France’s three major labor unions, who are coordinating a protest and a possible retaliatory strike. The fired newsmen also got a cable of support from abroad, stating that “this repression constitutes a direct menace to freedom of information.” The signers of the message: “The journalists of Radio Prague.”