THE WAY IT IS

Walter Cronkite, RIP, passed from AnimalPlanet.com less than a week ago.  He set the standard for journalistic excellence.  He believed the news is a public trust & a cornerstone of democracy.    

Cronkite was 1st a print journalist.  He learned to write fast, accurate & unbiased reports.  His purpose was to get the facts fast & educate the public.  He was a well-regarded war correspondent.  He moved to TV in 1950, when TV was becoming a legitimate source of news & current events.  The term Anchorman" was coined for Cronkite when he served as the lead reporter at the 1952 Presidential Convention, the 1st Presidential Convention ever televised (1952.  Yikes!  That’s a long time ago.)

During the ’60s & 70s TV journalism grew up.  Cronkite warned against the trivialization of the news.  Cronkite & CBS treated the news division as a well-funded public trust.  Cronkite made it his business to ensure public trust was justified.

Cronkite was a newsman, a journalist, an anchor, a guardian of the 4th Estate.  Cronkite was a visual journalist whose stories reflected on events of the day.  He kept his opinions to himself & left editorializing to others.

Cronkite’s voice lent gravitas to major events of the 20th century. & in reporting the facts Cronkite earned the title of the Most Trusted Man in America.  He reported the Cold War.  Kennedy Assassination & pursuant events.  Man on the Moon (of which today is the 40th anniversary).  King/Kennedy assassinations.  Viet Nam & the Peace Movement.  His rare ‘everyman’ perspective made sense of complex issues & brought them into perspective.  He wasn’t a TV Personality competing for the story, the spotlight.  When Cronkite spoke, people believed.  

Cronkite retired from Anchorman in 1981, about the time the news became commercialized & a competition for the largest market share, the most sensational story.  About that time the news ceased to be a public trust. 

They don’t make ’em like Cronkite anymore.  And that’s the way it is.

Opal K9 OTJ

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