"With Cronkite's death, this has been a week of memories. It took me back to a time when there was such a thing as a trusted journalist.
6:50 AM Jul 22nd, 2009 via web"
That's a quote from the late Daniel Schorr's Twitter feed. Yes, this man who died on Friday at 93 and only composed on a computer for the first time last year had a Twitter account. And felt the same way I do about what has happened to journalism. Only I feel that way about HIS death.
I was one of the first film reviewers and "investigative reporters" at the old Phoenix New Times in the early 1970s, when that was a volunteer job for a young English professor. I pretty quickly discovered that investigative stuff wasn't for me when some "independent adjuster" of arson claims threatened me after I questioned why his business was necessary. Movie reviews were a lot safer, but I could afford to do either.
Although my "career" in journalism was brief, my love of news was not. I first met the New York Times when I began to read, and learned to fold it for subway reading in elementary school, when the "Times lady" came into our classroom.
I worshipped various Times reporters, Huntley and Brinkley, Cronkite, Daniel Schorr and Bill Moyers. Did I think they had a "liberal bias?" Who knew? No one ever discussed "sides" or "opinions" in the news, other than the editorial page. I never had to concern myself with bias in the news. And I welcomed CNN when it was founded: more news, more often, from more distant places!
Even the advent of MSNBC, Microsoft and NBC's joint venture at news and technology -- such a failure at the time -- seemed awesome to me: still more news, this time with geekery.
But both the news and Daniel Schorr died this week. Schorr died peacefully after a long and productive life. The news, however, was murdered by Andrew Breitbart, Fox, Tom Vilsack, and the chicken-hearts of the Obama administration.
All day long I switch fitfully among the cable channels trying to find some real news among the carefully "balanced" talking heads. To learn what is really going on, I have even begun to watch C-Span the channels of drying paint. At least they don't have blithering idiots thinking they are pundits and analysts. I read hundreds of feeds a day, all of them hammering me with a point of view. I've even tried Al Jazeera in an attempt to find real objectivity.
It's depressing. Technology didn't destroy news. The internet didn't destroy news. The collapse of advertising models didn't destroy news. Unworthy commentators destroyed news.
R.I. P. Mr. Schorr. You will be missed.