I seldom watch the evening news anymore and was reminded why last week while visiting my parents. We were preparing to eat and had the ABC news on with Charles Gibson. The first third of the broadcast was devoted to the Michael Jackson memorial, THEN followed by a short story on President Obama’s trip to Russia.
Now imagine Walter Cronkite anchoring that broadcast.
It’s not possible, is it? Cronkite and his generation of newsmen had something that’s been missing from TV news for a long time: Integrity.
Now Cronkite has died. His will not just be the obituary of a news icon, but of the news itself. It was dead, of course, long before now, but we’ll see clips of his old broadcasts about the assassination of JFK, of the moon landing, and the Vietnam war. We’ll see all to well why today’s sound-bite and celebrity driven news programs are… well, not Walter Cronkite’s news. And we’ll have to ask ourselves what kind of country prefers gossip to genuine news?
Any tribute I paid to him here would only mimic what everyone else of my generation would say. Cronkite’s was the voice of authority and we trusted him, and we knew we were learning what was important and relevant.