18 Apr Whatever happened to Walter Cronkite?
“I read in the newspapers they are going to have 30 minutes of intellectual stuff on television every Monday from 7:30 to 8 to educate America. They couldn’t educate America if they started at 6:30.”– Groucho Marx
When I was young and went to the Breeze Theater on Bay Street for most Saturday matinees, the feature film was preceded by a weekly newsreel about what was taking place in the world. At the time, I am not sure I appreciated it as much as I should have but there was live footage of events.
Then we got a television, black and white of course. We would watch the faces of newsmen we trusted with the “truth.” Is it that I was young and wanted what I saw on the new television to be the truth or that we heard carefully vetted news on which we could rely?
And then came the Vietnam war which divided the country. We saw a real time war that, whether you liked it or not, was in our homes every night. Though the country was divided, we did not challenge the messenger.
And then news became bigger business, where copy editors wrote headlines to sell papers and make a case for advertisers. But as they fought for market share, accordingly more revenue from ads, the news began to become embellished. News became entertainment. Some news is geared to attract one set of citizens, while another network is focused on another. It is now a battle of ideologies to see which can make the most money. Friends in the media say this is a must because the financial pressures are so great for the media giants, no less smaller newspapers to survive.
This is of course followed by digital media where news makers go directly to their constituents without any editorial oversight. Candidates’ Twitters are covered rather than a fair analysis of what they have to say. Fact check can help, but unfortunately we are so divided that many only hear what they want and are not concerned with the truth if there is one.
I want trusted unbiased news back like the days of Walter Cronkite. How about you?