09/20/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Don Hewitt and the Art of Truth

Don Hewitt is dead.

And I don't want to see any of those pretenders at his funeral. I don't want to hear the crocodile tears from that roster of impostors Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Hannitty or their sugar daddy Ailes, doing what they do most: approximating humanity. They may strut around the roost now that nobody cleans the droppings from under their kevlar-lined money-nests but there was a time not so long ago when television journalism had style, class, soul.

In 60 MInutes, Don Hewitt created a salon for the nation, an oasis in the midst of a saccharine, pop culture desert. A rarity nowadays, where the art of journalism is on display for all to see and for all to benefit. All one ever has to do is enter freely and just absorb the truth, the technique, the daring. 60 Minutes is one hour of much needed sophistication, every week.

You don't have to sell your soul or put your common sense on the shelf to get your news. It is delivered by experts, people who have been there and done it all, artists who understand that news doesn't happen in the form of a ticker-tape scrolling at the bottom of a screen but as tales told by veteran observers, people who've taken the time to explore and ponder. 60 Minutes is the art of truth.

When Hewitt left his post, his tenure was somewhat sullied by controversy. But you can't fault an old man trying to stay current, trying vainly to hold on to the waning integrity of a world his own dedication and ability had ennobled.

Hewitt encouraged excellence in his reporters and thus in his audience. Weekly, he encouraged us to question authority, to shake up our routine. But mostly, he expected us to think.

But along with inspiring, television's ever increasing gluttony can more often spawn swaggering interlopers like Fox News, which presents an audience with bile and calls it outrage, misusing the template perfected by Hewitt and 60 Minutes, abusing the trust he and his dedication to journalistic integrity had built in its audience and instead, holds a gun to the audience's head and demands "Decide!"

Hewitt could see through their ilk but could not stop their march.

Cronkite, then Hewitt. Leaving the world they improved only to have it defaced by carnival barkers and rank amateurs, manufacturing stories instead of telling them.

So, they durst not come to his funeral. Let them stay in the gutter along with their so-called journalistic standards.

So long, Don Hewitt. TV journalism, we hardly knew ye.