Backstory

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"Millions of television viewers had an uneasy armchair view of the drama in Munich last week after Arab terrorists seized Israeli athletes and turned the Olympic games into a 23-hour nightmare." That was the first line in Broadcasting magazine's coverage of the 1972 Munich Olympics hostage-taking that ended with the deaths of 17 on Sept. 5, 1972.

CBS actually was first on the air reporting the attack, showing live pictures from Munich. But we remember ABC, particularly images of Howard Cosell, Jim McKay and then-ABC News Middle East correspondent Peter Jennings covering the attack. Jennings took beeper-phone reports and telephoned them to McKay, who was there as anchor of ABC's Olympics coverage. It was tense and sad TV, like Columbine coverage was in 1999.

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