Carl A. Galloway '68
Carl A. Galloway '68 died April 3, 2008.
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It came as a shock to me to learn of Carl’s death. Although we had not seen one another or spoken for a very long time, I have always experienced him as an important part of my life. He was one of the closest friends I have ever had. Friendships during college are in a category of their own. Never before or after has there been a time in my life in which week after week, month after month, two friends may spend eight to 12 hours of their waking lives together—far more than most married couples do. Carl was a kind, intelligent and impassioned person.
There was a good deal of joy and laughter during the hours we spent together at Amherst. But much of the time was occupied with our coming to terms with the fact that he was a “Negro” (the term “black” did not enter common usage until our sophomore year) and I was white. He had never had a white friend, and I had never had a black friend. When we began college in 1964, the country was still in a period of de facto segregation: Only two years earlier, U.S. Marshalls were sent to accompany James Meredith as he enrolled as a student at the Univ. of Mississippi. The summer before our freshman year, there were riots in Harlem; the summer of our sophomore year there were riots in Watts.
In our Class of 300, there were only about a dozen blacks. It took extraordinary courage for Carl to attend a small highly competitive white college where the vast majority of students were far better prepared in high school for the level of academic work that was demanded at Amherst. And Amherst was unprepared to include black students: Within a few years of our time at Amherst, a black student drowned attempting to pass the swimming test that was required of all freshmen. That Carl would feel embittered was not surprising. That he persisted in being himself is impressive but not surprising to those who knew him. He had a “philosophy” he liked to profess, the principal tenet of which was: “This too shall pass.” During rough times, he would pin a card to the door of his dorm room on which those words were written.
Carl’s family was a very loving one and welcomed me warmly when I visited their home in Queens. Carl’s father worked as a postman in railway mail cars; my father rode the commuter train from the suburbs to New York City where he worked as an insurance salesman. Carl said that he had not seen a white person until he was about four years old, when his mother took him shopping in an adjoining neighborhood.
Carl and I bumped up against all of these differences in the ways we had spent our first 17 years, and we talked about them often and at length deep into the night. There were not storybook endings to our talks. We often left them feeling hurt and angry and utterly misunderstood. But the proximity allowed in college life provided the opportunity to start again or put it aside for a while. In retrospect, I know that I loved him and that he felt the same for me despite the intensity of anger that we often felt for one another and the pain of the feeling of having been betrayed by the other. The world is an emptier place for me now that Carl has died. I wish he had lived to see the inauguration of Barak Obama.
—Tom Ogden ’68
To the class of ’68:
I suppose each of us thinking of putting down ideas must ask the same question: What in my past 25 years of life-experience would interest anyone else but me?
Answer?: “Who cares?”
It seems to me that the wonderful part of a reunion is its limited time frame. Even the most bored (or boring) shall find release in a few days time.
With that in mind, I respectfully submit my quarter century of experience for your review and edification; these experiences seem to have fallen into the broad category known as communication. The concept and reality of communications has moved from emerging industry in 1968 to dominant industry today. Even as you read this one pocket-sized cellular cries out to be answered. Or perhaps you will have need to interface with your beeper, VOX, fax or lap-top. I can still remember the “old days” waiting for the letter; anything important coming from any distance came by mail. Now, faster than the speed of light, arrives our news. Good, bad or indifferent. Now we get the call.
Shortly after 4 p.m., PST, December 9, 1979 I got the call, something on the order of a wake-up call. Seems the east coast was enjoying its Sunday dose of “60 Minutes” and the lead villain was --- Me? In the California time zone, three hours later, newsman Dan Rather would be exposing to his 50-million plus audience my alleged involvement with a multi-billion dollar insurance fraud.
Now if any of you left Amherst to pursue that cherished MBA from Harvard Business you must be wondering “What was Carl’s technique for such rapid wealth accumulation?”
Answer?: The myth of television; if it was on TV it must be true.
It’s funny how a myth becomes suddenly less completing when it begins to tread on your private domain. Push came to shove and in May of 1983 the matter of Galloway v. C.B.S., Don Hewitt, Dan Rather, and Steve Glauber came to trial in Los Angeles Superior Court. The lawyers in the class might have a field day picking this one apart, but lets stay with the myths for a while. Myth? All network anchormen are sound thinkers, insightful, intuitive, honest, virtuous, etc. etc.. Answer: Sounds a bit fishy to me. Let’s salmon the situation.
On May 27, 1983 anchorman Dan Ratcher was on the witness stand; sitting some thirty feet away I had to endure three days of his myth-shattering testimony. I suppose it angered me not only that he was lying but that he was doing such a bad job of it. In fact, he was saying exactly what he needed to say in order to have a defense for his false accusations. You see, Dan’s lawyers had already prevailed on their concept that there was no law in the state of California that could hold a broadcaster accountable for the libel or slander of a private person. (This was in fact not the law but that’s for another reunion.) So since there was no law, Dan’s lawyers suggested one: “reckless disregard for the truth.”
Now here’s a question for the lawyers in the class. When is a lie not a lie.
Answer: When its reckless disregard for the truth.
The jury was instructed that “mere falsity” was not enough to convict; that the broadcast was privileged even if false unless made with this reckless disregard for truth, which in reality meant that I had to produce a witness that had “heard” Don Hewitt, or Steve Glauber or Dan Rather say “Let’s tell a big lie on Carl Galloway and destroy his career.” No volunteers were forthcoming; but Mr. Rather was sure that he never had a doubt (or did he?):
“Q. I’m talking about your intention Mr. Rather.”
“A. Mr. Friedman, respectfully, I’m trying to be responsive to your question and I’ve responded to the question as directly and truthfully as I know how.”
“Q. Did you understand on the basis of your seeing that interview that Montenette Johnson claimed to have been injured?”
“A. Montenette Johnson was taken to Dr. Galloway’s office by the super capper Jamel to be part of one of those shake downs. Yes, sir.”
Mr. Friedman; Your Honor, I move to strike that answer as nonresponsive to the question.
The court: Sustained. The answer is stricken. Jury is to disregard.
“Q. Now, Mr. Rather, I know you are capable of responding to my precise question. I would appreciate your doing it sir. Did you understand from the interview that Montenette Johnson claimed to have been injured?”
“A. I understood from the interview that montenette Johnson was taken to the clinic to be part of one of these shake downs. Yes sir.”
Move to strike the answer.
Sustained. Jury is to disregard.
May the witness be directed to answer the question. Please, Your Honor?
Mr. Rather: My difficulty here, Your Honor, is that I don’t understand what he is getting at here. I do not want to be responsive.
“Q. By Mr. Friedman: You don’t understand my question?
“A. No, sir.”
The Court: Rephrase it.
“Q. By Mr. Friedman: I will try to ask it in a different way, Mr. Rather, so that you will understand my question. Do you understand what the word ‘injured’ means.”
“A. Yes, sir.”
“Q. You understand who Montenette Johnson is?”
“A. Yes, sir.”
“Q. Did Montenette Johnson claim to have been injured in an accident?”
“A. I believe that Montenette Johnson had gone to the clinic.”
“Move to strike the answer as nonresponsive to the question…”
And so it went for over twenty minutes on that one question alone which was never directly answered; but Mr. Rather was no easily flustered. When pressed at one point to defend his allegation, he commented:
“If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck. You got a duck.”
Even his staunchest supporters were heard to mutter after that comment: What an idiot!
In retrospect some good came out of what was otherwise a horrible experience. I had the pleasure of meeting and knowing a truly good man, a man who potentially jeopardized his own distinguished career to appear as my expert witness – a newspaper columnist, lawyer, professor of journalism, Pulitzer prize winner, and former special counsel to the President of the United States. Clark R. Mollenhoff.
Mollenhoff found the “investigation” to be woefully inadequate; either it was “incredible incompetence or intentional.” Thorough investigation was what separated the men from the boys, according to Mollenhoff; and the record clearly showed that Dan Rather was one of the boys.
The program broadcast on that December Sunday in 1979 was enltitled, “It’s No Accident.” And maybe it wasn’t.
Carl A. Galloway, M.D.