With the passing of Walter Cronkite, an era has ended in American journalism. Cronkite was the real deal, and we will miss everything that he represented. Sadly, today's media mavens and pundits should take a page out of his book. Gone are the days of tough reporting and nightly news. Cronkite and his colleagues heralded an age that has long since fallen by the wayside for ratings. Over the last year, I know that I have been critical of the media for their shallow reporting and often ridiculous choice of topics. Do we really care about Kate's breakup or one more report on the tragic life and death of Michael Jackson? Please don't lull us all to sleep. There is a reason that we do not invite the television journalists into our living rooms for nightly discourse, and that ratings are falling even though many sold out.
The bitter irony is that the issues are as compelling today as they were fifty years ago, and we hunger for information and commentary that we can trust. In fact, it may explain the explosion of blog readership and the use of Twitter. If you can't get the real deal on your television, then you're going to look for it elsewhere. At least with Twitter feed, there is no room for grandstanding and sponsor bias. There is only 160 characters, remember. How much damage can you do? And it doesn't seem to be compelled by ad dollars.
We sit here tonight and watch the testimonials flood in for this man. He was welcomed into our living rooms for nightly news broadcasts. Bye, bye to a standard of extraordinary excellence in broadcast television. Assuredly, Cronkite would not have been waxing silly about Palin's toe polish while Goldman Sachs was stealing the money! What will we do? Will Twitter feed be enough to sustain us? Will the thoughtful, thorough broadcasting of a man like Uncle Walter ever return to our living rooms?
We can only hope for a return to sanity and that the work will be picked up by others that strive for excellence and authenticity.
We will miss you Walter Cronkite.
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