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Walter Cronkite and TV News
CBS-TV newsman Walter Cronkite is seen at work in 1977. (AP)

CBS-TV newsman Walter Cronkite is seen at work in 1977. (AP)

For almost twenty years at the height of the American Century, from 1962 to 1981, the news came from Walter Cronkite.

He was the nightly CBS anchor. And he was more than that. In a time when Americans got their news — collectively, almost communally — from the Big Three television networks, Cronkite could seem like the plain-spoken voice of God. His simple “that’s the way it is” had Olympian authority.

Now he’s gone, and an age seems gone with him. JFK. Vietnam. Man on the moon. And the news as we knew it.

This hour, On Point: Walter Cronkite and televison news, then and now.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Guests:

Joining us from College Park, Maryland, is Lee Thornton, professor of broadcast journalism at the University Maryland. She worked for CBS for a decade, until 1982, and began in New York working in the newsroom with Walter Cronkite. She then moved to the Washington Bureau, where she covered Jimmy Carter as White House correspondent.

From Baltimore, we’re joined by David Zurawik, television and media critic for the Baltimore Sun, where he writes the blog “Z on TV.” His Cronkite obituary ran on Saturday, and he’s blogged about the response to Cronkite’s death here and here.

From Ossining, New York, we’re joined by Peter Boyer, staff writer at The New Yorker and author of “Who Killed CBS? The Undoing of America’s Number One News Network.” In June last year, he wrote about Keith Olbermann and how TV news is changing.

And from Hanover, N.H., is Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst and senior editor at The Atlantic.

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  • Michael

    A great man, one who will be missed and showed what it was to truly and actually be a journalist.sad that ratings and shareholders profit now trumps actual journalism.

    Very few journalist can hold a candle to him and my hope is sensational journalism fails as it is today and it comes back to a objective/investigating reporting as Walter Cronkite did so well.

    thank u Mr. Cronkite for all u done and may you rest in peace u will me missed.

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    In all the remembrances of Cronkite few have discussed his wish that the standards he and others set at CBS be passed on to future generations of news groups.

    Jim Lehrer comes close but the Newshour does’t have the reach that Cronkite did.

    CBS News under Cronkite’s leadership was the high point and we’ve really sunk since.

  • Lilya Lopheka

    I wonder if Walter Cronkite has ever been concerned about the #1 issue that American Journalism has been ignoring:

    Why did we invade Iraq? What was the real Motive?

    According to T.Boone Pickens, George W. Bush “personally” told him that we did NOT invade Iraq for Oil?

    The motive is not this, it is not that … so what is it?

  • Putney Swope

    Walter Cronkite was the voice of the news I grew up with.
    He is everything that was right about journalism and what it’s supposed to be. Compared to what passes for it today on the major networks it is amazing when you look back and wonder what happened. When Mr. Cronkite came on the air after he came back from Vietnam and asked some serious questions during an editorial on the war it was turning point on public opinion about the war.

    After that night the powers to be new the war was lost.

    Lilya have a little respect for the diseased will you.
    What Cronkite thought of the Iraq war as a private citizen was his business. Posting your usual tripe and using this forum about the passing of a great American is in poor taste. It speaks volumes to what kind of person you are.

  • wavre

    Cronkite, Jennings,Russert gone who else is outhere???

    Who else have the courage and the integrity??

    Stephanopoulos, Gregory,Couric, Gibson….?Pouah! not even close! Shieffer, Wallace Uhm…maybe a little.

    True journalism is rare in the actuel main media, it’s just a factory where consent is manufactured for the sake of money interests.

    Sad, isn’t it?

  • Todd

    Lilya, the invasion of Iraq has been done to further the cause of the Elitist’s long-term plan for a one world government (i.e., New World Order). The U.S. has performed the military “grunt-work” for the Elite since early in the 20th Century.

    Considering these words of Cronkite’s during a 1999 speech, while accepting the Norman Cousins Global Governance Award at the U.N., I’m sure Mr. Cronkite was quite aware of the underlying motive behind the Iraq invasion:

    “It seems to many of us that if we are to avoid the eventual catastrophic world conflict we must strengthen the United Nations as a first step toward a world government patterned after our own government with a legislature, executive and judiciary, and police to enforce its international laws and keep the peace. To do that, of course, we Americans will have to yield up some of our sovereignty. That would be a bitter pill. It would take a lot of courage, a lot of faith in the new order. But the American colonies did it once and brought forth one of the most nearly perfect unions the world has ever seen.” –Walter Cronkite

    The sovereignty of good nations are being sacrificed on the altar of the New World Order. Obviously, it is not only the world’s most influential politicians that the Elite have bought to implement their scheme, but also the world’s “most trusted” journalists. But, sadly, that’s the way it is.

  • Putney Swope

    Stephanopoulos, Gregory,Couric and Gibson are all beholden to the corporations that own them. In Cronkite’s day news ran at a loss and the networks supported it. Now it’s become part of the entertainment section. Gibson use to do Good Morning America! Give me a break these people are corporate hacks. Gregory is the worse, I can’t watch him.

  • Brian

    I disagree with the laments about main stream media. Cronkite was the source in a simpler time, he was a trusted editor. The internet has opened access to experts in any field one has an interest so you can now be your own editor.

    Want to know what is happening in the Middle East, click on Juan Cole’s blog. Want to know about election politics, Nate Silver. Find your own sources and ignore Michael Jackson’s empty home tour on NBC News.

  • Sarah

    I think the trust that the public put in people like Cronkite and other newsmen allowed the public to not have to think critically about their world. We are in a better place now that there are more voices chiming in and people have to decide for themselves what is true.

  • stock

    Wavre, I wouldn’t put Russert with Cronkite in the same sentence. Not even close. Russert was a patsy for the government. Read Glenn Greenwald’s article. Very telling.

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/07/18/cronkite/

  • Joanna Drzewieniecki

    I too grew up with Cronkite and he was part of my life, maybe not a member of the family, but an important figure. But unlike other people, I remember that not everyone liked Cronkite. There was a sector of American society who thought he was too liberal. I didn’t think he was too liberal but I also didn’t always agree with him. I also can’t say I always trusted him on everything but it sure was comforting to have him there when there was a true emergency. That’s when it was great to have him accompanying us.

  • Paul Grabek

    The news at that time was less polictzed it was more direct and factual the news now reflects more pop culture then news. Walter Cronkite was a man that we could all believe and trust. The style that he delivered the news made you compelled to listen to what he had to say. We desperately need someone with that persona to deliver the news with integrity

  • Putney Swope

    Brian I wont speak for others but I was not thinking about other sources of media. I was commenting on the network media, TV news. It’s obvious that journalism is in a state of flux. However I find a lot of blogs are lacking credibility and are more opinions than news.

    The other problem with your comment is, find your own sources? How do you know if these are correct, if the information is trust worthy? This is what Cronkite represented, trust and integrity. These are timeless attributes are they not.

  • Russ

    As one of those who have listened to him for thirty years, I believe that Carl Kasell has the same trusted voice as Walter Cronkite.

  • Michael Bedford in Bangkok

    I had a wonderful moment with my conservative father during the Democratic convention in Chicago in 1968. My father was not an open man, and when Walter Cronkite reported, with his anger barely visible below his professionalism, on the police riots against the demonstrators, my father & I shared the joint response to the voice and perspective of Walter Cronkite. We held hands, maybe for the first & last time in his life.

  • Julie

    Growing up, Walter Cronkite was so important in my family that Santa Claus could not come until Walter Cronkite signed off. Only then could we prepare for our holiday celebration! He will be etched in our minds forever for lots of reasons, but always at Christmas!

  • Mari

    That voice! Yes, Mr. Cronkite had tremendous command over folks with his authoritative voice.

    A personal anecdote:

    A busy summer afternoon in an upscale toy store in Edgartown. I was the manager of that store and my temporary staff of college students had all decided to take a “beach day” by calling in sick.

    So, as I helped the many impatient to customers find what they were looking for, my 13 year old daughter manned the till.

    One elderly man and a woman cut the line to get my attention. they were in search of inflatable toys for their grandchildren, the woman stated, and had no time to wait. The man remained gloomily silent.

    I showed the couple to an entire wall stocked with every kind of inflatable flotation device and was then summarily called to attend to an urgent cash register glitch. The line of customers stretched all the way to the back of the building as I fixed the problem.

    Barging up to he front of the line again, the woman demanded that I answer another question: “These inflatables, do you have to blow them up?”
    “Yes, m’aam,” I answered, “that’s why they’re called inflatable.”

    Just then, the man spoke up. Loudly. Very, very loudly.
    “Well, I can see that you didn’t go to RETAIL CHARM SCHOOL!” The voice paralyzed my customers like a stun gun. Everybody went silent, even the young kids, as I blushed and accepted this couple’s payment for a toy they had selected.

    When they had exited the store, people relaxed again. One woman in line called out to me: “Do you know who that was?” “An irritable customer…” I began to reply,
    “It was WALTER CRONKITE! How dare you insult him!”

    Oh boy. Mr. Cronkite was a force to be reckoned with while he was living. Let’s not make him a god in death. My impression of the man was that he was like everybody else. He wanted what he wanted when he wanted it and had no qualms about using his massive talent for vocalese to get it.

    Thoroughly human, he was a still just a man. Rest in Peace, Mr. Cronkite, and I hope the grandkids liked their floating toy.

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    Given what was just said about Presley and Jackson, Walter Cronkite’s two daughters were at Woodstock and when they told their dad they were going to a concert he said fine, have fun. When he covered Woodstock a few days later he realized that that’s where his daughters were.

  • David Ure

    Whom do I trust? John Stewart. Though operating in a much different environment, Mr. Stewart is, in his way, just as trustworthy as Uncle Walter. In his comedic way, John Stewart is the deepest journalist working in America today.

    Just as Walter Cronkite was the deepest of his clan in the days of my youth.

  • http://http//mail.live.com Marilyn Peterman

    Times have changed and so has news reporting. News has become entertainment. The only place to get the news from genuine reporters is on PBS or NPR. Sad!

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    Wait a second, it sounds like no one here watches The Newshour. Lehrer did not cover Jackson like networks did. Lehrer is trusted enough to run Presidential debates. I think Lehrer is quite trustworthy as an anchor and The Newshour organization feels to me, as one who grew up with Cronkite and now watches Lehrer nightly, like a more modern replacement of Cronkite’s evening news.

  • Putney Swope

    John Stewart is not a journalist. To equate him with news is absurd. Stewart would agree. He’s a commentator, a satirist in the tradition of Mark Twain.

  • Gail Maffett

    Walter Cronkite was a voice of reason, of calm and of integrity. He reported the news, and did try to “make the news” as I feel most reports on television do now. Mr. Cronkite allowed us our intelligence. I grew up with him in our home every evening and he was the only one that my parents trusted.

    Other than the reporting I receive on our public radio stations, only Tim Russert comes to mind as another reporter who provided me with the facts and allowed me my own conclusions and sadly he is gone also.

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    Another sign that times have changed is that The Washington Post would no longer cover Watergate as they did in the ’70s. Was it Ben Bradley or “Woodstein?”

    Even Bob Woodward isn’t the reporter he was back then.

  • Stan

    I liked watching Walter Cronkite but there were other good ones too: John Chancellor, Frank Reynolds, Howard K Smith, Edward Murrow. It was a different time, a different tenor, a more serious, grown up time. Much (not all) of American media today is juvenile and, to be really blunt about it, irresponsible. But that’s not true of all the media, especially much of the foreign media. The BBC still is serious. So is the CBC. Even Russia Today. The foreign media didn’t get the Iraq debacle wrong just the American media with its US flags plastered on the bottom of the screen as it hammered its incessant drumbeat for an unjustifiable war instead of doing the job of figuring out what the case really was for it.

  • Susan Rittenhouse

    I grew up with TV. My father worked in broadcasting. I don’t even watch TV today. As far as I’m concerned, Public Radio comes closest to the Walter Cronkite tradition. Thank you NPR, and thank you, Tom!!

  • Stock

    Tom, you need to have Tom Brokaw on to do some self reflection. Glenn Greenwald sums it up perfectly on what we are to take away from Cronkite’s passing.

    “In the hours and hours of preening, ponderous, self-serving media tributes to Walter Cronkite, here is a clip you won’t see, in which Cronkite — when asked what is his biggest regret — says:

    ‘What do I regret? Well, I regret that in our attempt to establish some standards, we didn’t make them stick. We couldn’t find a way to pass them on to another generation.’

    It’s impossible even to imagine the likes of Brian Williams, Tom Brokaw and friends interrupting their pompously baritone, melodramatic, self-glorifying exploitation of Cronkite’s death to spend a second pondering what he meant by that.

    – Glenn Greenwald

  • Todd

    John Stewart may not be a journalist in the literal sense, but there’s more succinct truth to be found in a half hour of his satire than can be found in a week’s worth of the crap that passes for journalism in the mainstream media.

  • Mary

    In the two americas that currently exist there is no truth. BBC interviewed a nutcase from Missouri today who is giving away AK47s with the purchase of a new truck. How would that even have happened when Walter Cronkite was on the air?

    It’s gone we are splintered and rutterless and hopefully we will see how desperately we need to unify the country.

    As long as there is a Wall Street mentality dividing our country into the very poor and the very rich we cannot be unified and reasoned and the likes of Walter Cronkite will not be possible.

  • Seth F.

    Got rid of my television over a year ago and have gotten my news solely from NPR since. I highly recommend this to anyone who desires human interest stories with their dose of global reality. The “Walter Cronkite Era” passed long before the man himself did. NPR is the last link we have to traditional, entertaining news reporting. I choose not to buy into the current junk being passed off as news.

  • Mark Kurtz

    In reference to Cronkite’s observation of the situation in VietNam after returning from a reporting stint there, did he ever do something like that again in his tenure as anchor for CBS News?… not that I recall. An observation: Johnson reacted to Cronkite’s observation with “if we’ve lost Cronkite we’ve lost middle America” and if I’m remembering correctly, that was it – no statement from the administration denouncing Cronkite’s observation, no attempt to discredit Cronkite, no spin from the Johnson administration. Why?… did Johnson have a level of respect for Cronkite to not want to challenge Cronkite’s observation?… was there a greater level of respect for journalism in general at that time?

  • Putney Swope

    John Stewart may not be a journalist in the literal sense, but there’s more succinct truth to be found in a half hour of his satire than can be found in a week’s worth of the crap that passes for journalism in the mainstream media.

    Todd is that not a sad state of affairs that we have come to this. When a comedian is more trust worthy then the mainstream media it seems to me that they, mainstream media are pretty much dead in the water.

    Maybe we should be holding a wake them as well.

  • Stan

    Probably the femininization of the media has much to do with the decline also. In the beginning broadcast news was male dominated, now it’s chit chatty, gossip tinged, with guys talking about subjects men in Cronkite’s generation wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. You can attack me for political incorrectness but keep in mind, during Cronkite’s tenure Kennedy’s womanizing was never even close to general news, same with FDR – can you imagine that today? Today, it would be the main news. Ask John Edwards. In a Cronkite era, John Edwards career would still be alive and well.

  • gina

    Post-Watergate, post-Iran Contra, post-Operation Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom, post-9/11, post-Enron, post-unwarranted wiretapping, post-unforeseen real estate implosion and global economic collapse, people still yearn for “a man that we could all believe and trust”. Really? Any such man will be a representative of mainstream media, the television and entertainment conglomerates, which have been driven for decades solely by ratings and money. TV news info-tainment, both local and national, has long been a joke, hamstrung by dwindling budgets, beholden to advertiser and other corporate interests, and in thrall to whatever political administration was in power. In this multi-media, internet era, what audience still remains for the 6:00 PM evening news? While the snarky talking heads “news analysis” programs offer little more than name-brand recognition for their book-shilling participants, at least there is less pretense of seriousness. Even if the youth and appearance obsessed execs in this HD pore-magnifying, botoxed age trot out another baritone, grey-templed Father Knows Best archetype, I won’t be watching. I learned from the 1970′s; I get my information elsewhere, and never from a single source.

  • ranndino

    I agree that the state of news coverage today is extremely sad, but to those that wonder what happened it’s really quite obvious.

    Cronkite had a captive audience and did not have to compete with a gazillion of other sources of information available today, so did not have to worry about adhering to the tastes of the lowest common denominator to produce ratings.

    His type of journalism is not possible in today’s world, unfortunately, or if possible, as in Lehrer’s case it will not have a large audience. As unfortunate as it is most people care about the crap that you see the 24/7 news networks filled with more than about things that are truly important. There’s a reason we were subjected to countless hours of Michael Jackson coverage on every network.

  • http://factxchange.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/problems-with-barack-obamas-office-of-urban-affairs/ Joseph Edgecombe

    At the height of Politcal history in the United States… Specifically the Nixon re- election(Vietnam War) era…. Presidential candidate and U.S. Representative/congresswomen Shirley Chisholm rose to the levels of national and world history. As the world watched Walter Cronkites news every night and televisions began to grow into more rooms in the average-urban household at the dawn of americas advanced/corporate growth economy of the post-60′s/early 70′s. WALTER CRONKITE announced one of the most important news announcements in american history..that a woman was funning for the presidency of the united states of america an unprecedented task, Shirley Chisholms campaigns came during the 2nd womens movement for equal rights and during the post civil rights/progressive movement/advancement era for black america…she was the perfect candidate to change, reconstruct and modernize america into a new country which needed to address the issues of women, black america and all of americas working class. Shirley made not only american history but world history, but the chronkite era the press has failed to produce factual news and information and has become what some people call a political/media circus, Shirley Chisholm has been assasinated by the political-media complex…for this…I could only say that it is TIME FOR SHIRLEY CHISHOLM AGAIN, as a news program once aired on a program during the 1972 Presidential campaign period…God bless her she will always be OUR AMERICANGREATEST POLITICAL LEADEAR who ran to bring a divided america together and usher in a THE NEW UNITED STATES of AMERICA & AMERICAN HISTORY.

    Shirley Chisholm: The original change candidate

    The Catalyst of Change and Our Political Leader Forever

    UNDENIABLE POLITICAL-LEADERSHIP

    CHANGE 101:

    Shirley Chisholm: The Foundation of Change for our Future

    Americas First and Best Political-Architect/Leader who changed the course of American politics and the country

    By Joseph Edgecombe, Architects of Change Group

    Beyond Barack Obama: The Time for Shirley Chisholm Again…

    The 1972 Progressive Movement that Changed America…Returns

    Shirley Chisholm was the candidate and catalyst for CHANGE IN AMERICA as SHE CHANGED AMERICAN HISTORY
    1972 Campaign Encore: Elect Shirley Chisholm 2008

    The original change candidate has already made history but the American press and political news media/shows seems to be in denial or non-recognition of the history of this – our American country In the 70’s Shirley Chisholm founded the new America…

    Shirley Chisholm 1972, The Catalyst of Change and Our Political Leader Forever. The Dream Part 1….. This is a past posting but it does show how important an underdog candidate such as John Edward can play very, very important roles in presidential and election politics Shirley Chisholm taught us about this strategy and I hope America learns the lessons about delegates and politics which Shirley Chisholm gave us all…God Bless Her. Barack Obama 2008 must learn from past political leader of 1972 From: http://www.factxchange.com THE UNDENIABLE POLITICAL-LEADERSHIP OF SHIRLEY CHISHOLM Follow the Chisholm Trail: The current (Democratic) Candidates lack the stage presence, articulate, and powerful electrifying performance of true Leaders such as Shirley Chisholm. The original change candidate has already made history but the American press and political news media/shows seems to be in denial or non-recognition of the history of this – our American country. In the 70’s Shirley Chisholm founded the new America… which the media is trying to deny or destroy…The similarities of Vietnam and Iraq and the Nixon era politics and Bush era politics and the politics of Black America cannot be denied… and therefore the founder of the Change Campaign of Shirley Chisholm (and democratic nominee George McGovern) cannot be neglected. A Country that cannot build upon its past cannot construct a future. In the memory and honor of Shirley Chisholm’s Groundbreaking and Landmark Campaign for Change, and as the 1972 Chisholm trail – Presidential Campaign – trail-blazed the path through-out this country for others such as Jesse Jackson and Barack Obama. I hope to set the record straight by establishing that the foundation, founder and catalyst for change is and was the 1st black/woman presidential candidate Shirley Chisholm, and now hope that Barack Obama carries on the baton that has been passed to him for change in this country as well. John Edwards and Hillary Clinton also share this responsibility which Shirley Chisholm has made for them. Barack Obama, John Edwards and Hillary Clinton are all good candidates but the person who stands out above all of them is Shirley Chisholm’s and her electrifying and groundbreaking campaign of 1972 when Richard Nixon ran on the republican ticket and George McGovern was the democratic nominee…and Shirley Chisholm was the candidate and catalyst for CHANGE IN AMERICA as SHE CHANGED AMERICAN HISTORY and the future course of the country. She is the model for all of the other candidates to emulate or give tribute. The question of black leadership still exists, so far the question is if black/ african-americans are going to be voting for Hillary Clinton, wife of the first president (accepted as being Black) or Barack Obama – a black candidate who’s parents are racially different Kenyan-African/black and white American woman from Kansas. but as we all know curly hair and light of dark complexion means that your a black man and your are treated or perceived negatively by American society from your childhood through becoming an adult and the worse as you advance into your career/ or you suffer from past facial tactics and biases. Therefore being black often means you are Black listed often, treated unfairly, mistreated or treated deconstructively while others are often promoted fraudulently or constructively. Accept if you’re promoted for diversity reasons. But in this case all of your struggles and accomplishments are overlooked and you are seen as filling a position not because of your accomplishments but because of the color of your skin. Which brings us to today’s political topic (more or less).Often times the white/mainstream adopt a black person as their own and treat/promote them so specially that they separate them from the (priorities of the) flock. This person is often seen as a house (Negro) or (Uncle Tom) someone who has lost all of their cultural and historical values and has become a casualty of the important agenda. (In a few words).Black Americans are often faced with the challenge of voting for the underdog in political campaigns with the agenda of making a statement to the world or American society. White people often vote for underdogs but they could be potential winners Black people often vote for underdogs but they are losers who have no chance of winning or making a statement, in essence nearly useless in American society. Shirley Chisholm revolutionized America and became a revolutionary woman known around the world as one of the top 10 most important women in the world which dismissed all negative notions of the potential of black America, as she constructed the foundation for a renewed and revolutionized American society. TODAY….Today Barack Obama has been accepted/adopted and popularized by white American media and society far ahead of getting any concrete facts and information of is presidential run. American society has turned him into somewhat a pop-star instead of a serious political candidate like Shirley Chisholm. Hillary Clinton is a woman candidate who of course brings the potential of a woman candidate to the presidency of the USA, who naturally brings issues of black America to the presidency because of the shared black America and women’s movements together because of the Shirley Chisholm presidential Campaign era of the early-mid. 70’s, where she carried the needs of everyone in the country. Black AMERICA (is…very Serious)It would seem that the underdog here is John Edwards who the media has neglected like a potential black candidate, also the media has denied his john Kennedy like characteristics while over promoting Obama’s Lincoln similarities which is totally insane. Shirley Chisholm has created the revolution in America and changed the country from it’s racist a male-gender oriented history, and she has created the America we live in today. Not necessarily Martin Luther king who dissevers his credit especially in the south, but the national and world agenda belongs to Shirley Chisholm, at the dawn of our advanced economy in the 70’s Shirley Chisholm founded the new America… which the media is trying to destroy… so if the Media is looking for a revolutionary leader it is not Abraham Lincoln but it is Shirley Chisholm, who has created the society we all enjoy Today.

    Joseph C. Edgecombe, Boston

  • Janet Smith

    He did a good job and it’s very disappointing to watch the group in power now. Kati Koric is a disaster for the CBS news but they won’t get rid of her.

  • Mary Watson

    Who cares about Shirley Chisholm? She was a bad joke. Why post such trash in this topic?

  • Lilya Lopekha

    Todd,

    Thank you for your post about Why We Invaded Iraq.

    It was done for the furthering the causes and well being of the Elite’s.

    I am afraid that either you are guessing, or you got a call from Cheney. You maybe right; perhaps; probably; 44-67%.

    The problem is that it is not Enough. If an Administration does something like a “war” that we pay the price for, they should look us in the eye and tell us. If not, we should drag them to a public audience, and have them say it, with supporting documents.

    If you are right, then let’s ask others. Your brother thinks, it was for Oil. Your town’s police dept. will tell you, it was to protect your Sister. Your Mom has no idea. Your neighbor does not care. Your friend thinks it was to prevent explosions in Rodeo Drive.

    There is something wrong here; and Walter Cronkite would not stop until the Prez (I mean Dick) tell the American people why we did this criminal act of Occupying Iraq.

  • ranndino

    The invasion of Iraq made me think that I entered the twilight zone. Thanks to independent research and non-mainstream media sources I knew the facts that everyone knows now and blogged extensively about them, but every media outlet was full of pro-war propaganda.

    It was really quite amazing to see the media lead the country into a war that I knew to be wrong. Even the traditionally thought of as liberally biased media sources sounded exactly the same as Fox News. I remember feeling that I was stuck in a mental institution and everyone around me has gone completely insane.

    As far as the news of today, for the reasons stated, the news media is now all about infotainment and achieving ratings, which means that like everyone else I have to be subjected to the “news” that appeals to the lowest common denominator instead of what’s really important.

    That explains why most people are completely ignorant on the important issues, yet know every stupid detail about things that aren’t important at all. It takes a lot of effort these days to stay informed on the important stuff because less and less of it is being reported by mainstream media in favor of idiotic fluff.

    This will only continue to get worse because for the new generations fluff has become the important news and this is the generation that is feeding the journalism profession itself. It’s a self perpetuating cycle of dumbing down.

    All of this kind of reminds me of Mike Judge’s comedy Idiocracy which I accidentally caught one day and which was quickly shooshed out of the theaters for it touched on the unpopular subject of the society as a whole become dumber and more ignorant, not the other way around.

  • Putney Swope

    Lilya do your homework, Walter Cronkite was long retired when GW Bush took office. As I said before your a real piece of work (your lack of being able to use nuance is astounding) and seem to have no shame in posting rubbish about people you seem to know nothing about, about a subject you know nothing about. You have been copying and pasting this same statement for months.

  • Mari

    Ah yes, Ranndino,

    Have you read Kornbluth’s short story from the late 1940′s entitled, “The Marching Morons”? They’re heeere!

    A further personal memory of Walter Cronkite: When Mike Wallace had a pre-performance reception for the world premiere of a play based on Bill Styron’s “Lie Down in Darkness”, I was the reporter my editor sent out to cover it.on,

    Mr. Cronkite was there, as were Alan Dershowitz, Peter Norton, the Styrons, Richard Widmark and, naturally, Walter and his wife.

    Even as I was virtually invisible to Mr. C. when I looked like a lowly Edgartown shop girl (see my prior entry) he was charming and very solicitous when I appeared in my professional role as a reporting colleague at the private home of another prestigious journalist.

    Funny stuff, this “class” thing, eh?

  • http://factxchange.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/problems-with-barack-obamas-office-of-urban-affairs/ Joseph Edgecombe

    We need to return to the facts or we will get caught up in a rhetoric based society which is not based on a stable foundation…. we all need to learn from Shirley Chisholms worldy example and knowledge in order to get america back on track, She has a record breaking 31 honorary degrees to her name, so let us all learn from Americas Presidential-Political Educator Professor, Shirley Chisholm and I would advise Barack obama to take notes….to bad Walter Cronkite is not around to set the facts strait.

    Today Barack Obama has been accepted/adopted and popularized by white American media and society far ahead of getting any concrete facts and information of is presidential run. American society has turned him into somewhat a pop-star instead of a serious political candidate like Shirley Chisholm. Hillary Clinton was a woman candidate who of course brought the potential of a woman candidate to the presidency of the USA, who naturally brings issues of black America to the presidency because of the shared black America and women’s movements together because of the Shirley Chisholm presidential Campaign era of the early-mid. 70’s, where she carried the needs of everyone in the country. Black AMERICA (is…very Serious). Over promoting Obama’s Lincoln-like similarities was totally insane and or incorrect and an attept to over shadow Shirley Chisholm with obama-mania. Shirley Chisholm has created the revolution in America and changed the country from it’s racist a male-gender oriented history, and she has created the America we live in today. Not necessarily Martin Luther King who dissevers his credit especially in the south, but the national and world agenda belongs to Shirley Chisholm, at the dawn of our advanced economy in the 70’s Shirley Chisholm founded the new America… which the media is trying to destroy… so if the Media is looking for a revolutionary leader it is not Abraham Lincoln well pehpas during the 19th century… but it is Shirley Chisholm, who has created the society we all enjoy Today.
    Thank God for Shirley Chisholm’s rise in American Politics. She saved the country from its racist roots.

  • Mari

    Props for Shirley! Still remembering Barbara Jordan, too.

    Some of us still have that progressive “edge” and are not willing to go back to the back of the bus. We have transcended color, I believe, now we must take on “class” issues which are based on monetary wealth and NOT on human values.

    Thanks, Joseph.

  • Jim

    Jack: good comments, good truths you spoke. But truth is hard to take, as demonstrated by the commentator guests who still must defend the ‘mainstream’ perspective as the legitimate one.

    CBS verified the facts?? Thousands of pages of the pentagon papers put a lie to that statement thousands of times. Cronkite himself admitted mistakes and regretted using his sign-oo line, “that’s the way it is.” I know this from the Fresh Air show today.

    Thanks Jack for following the truth wherever it leads, and stick with your “Talmudic” truth seeking.

    For the record I was born in 1950; I did not trust the father figure of Walter Cronkite. No college student I knew sought to listen to Cronkite’s nightly newscast. That’s not where we went to learn truths, but other perspectives are ever subsumed until given some light of day, on occasion.

    Again, thanks Jack

  • http://factxchange.wordpress.com/2009/06/17/completion-of-the-equal-rights-amendment-the-unfinished-work-of-america/ Joseph Edgecombe

    • We need to return to the facts or we will get caught up in a rhetoric based society which is not based on a stable foundation…. we all need to learn from Shirley Chisholm’s worldly example and knowledge in order to get America back on track, She has a record breaking 31 honorary degrees to her name, so let us all learn from Americas Presidential-Political Educator Professor, Shirley Chisholm and I would advise Barack Obama to take notes….to bad Walter Cronkite is not around to set the facts strait.
    Today Barack Obama has been accepted/adopted and popularized by white American media and society far ahead of getting any concrete facts and information of is presidential run. American society has turned him into somewhat a pop-star instead of a serious political candidate like Shirley Chisholm. Hillary Clinton was a woman candidate who of course brought the potential of a woman candidate to the presidency of the USA, who naturally brings issues of black America to the presidency because of the shared black America and women’s movements together because of the Shirley Chisholm presidential Campaign era of the early-mid. 70’s, where she carried the needs of everyone in the country. Black AMERICA (is…very Serious). Over promoting Obama’s Lincoln-like similarities was totally insane and or incorrect and an attempt to over shadow Shirley Chisholm with Obama-mania. Shirley Chisholm has created the revolution in America and changed the country from its racist a male-gender oriented history, and she has created the America we live in today. Not necessarily Martin Luther King who dissevers his credit especially in the south, but the national and world agenda belongs to Shirley Chisholm, at the dawn of our advanced economy in the 70’s Shirley Chisholm founded the new America… which the media is trying to destroy… so if the Media is looking for a revolutionary leader it is not Abraham Lincoln well perhaps during the 19th century… but it is Shirley Chisholm, is the key leader who has created the society we all enjoy Today.
    Thank God for Shirley Chisholm’s rise in American Politics. She saved the country from its racist and oppressive roots.

  • Ann Tully

    Tom Ashbrook asked if there are broadcast journalists who are trusted today, and I have placed my trust in Amy Goodman of Democracy Now on Pacifica Radio and Bill Moyers of Bill Moyer’s Journal on public television. Both have credentials, experience, intellect, and integrity, and I don’t know what I would have done without their substantive interviews and the exposure to information and voices that were not available elsewhere throughout the Bush administration when government issued video news releases and all the opinionated manipulation and sound bytes replaced factual, substantive reporting.

  • Dave Stephens

    Yes, those who responsibly and fairly present the NEWS, not mere opinion, are entitled to our thanks, and Cronkite, to the extent that he did that is deserving.

    I’ve lived from radio alone thru television and now the internet, have participated at my prime in the events reported by Cronkite, Huntley and Brinkley. Yes, Cronkite elicited trust, but in those days we didn’t idolize him, we simply liked him. Today, the media is doing its best to gain glory by association and plaudit, but its sorry state simply is an exaggeration of what Cronkite set in motion: Unnatural trust of the media to the point that it became unaccountable, just as did Cronkite and his personal opinion, as expressed on the Tet Offensive. Power led to corruption and lack of self-restraint.

    This postmodern world of no standards or truth is a slap-happy playground for the egoists in the press, government, business and everyday life. Little wonder Jackson got so much press for so little. Walter Cronkite was a historic personage of influenc within his trade and of uncommon influence upon his countrymen. But, he is a “hero” only to those who lack more firm bearings in life and in a world in which political correctness passes for a weak shadow of truth.

    Rest in peace, Walter! Now you know how things really are!!

  • Lilya Lopheka

    Walter Cronkite was ashamed of our journalists, including On Point.

    Somehow we just cannot extract the darn confession from the criminals who occupied the Government regarding WHY IN THE WORLD WE INVADED IRAQ?

    Can anybody think of a bigger failure of Journalism than not being to able to ask this question?

    We are clueless; and are not demanding an answer.
    Instead, we are making uninformed guesses and go back to our Baseball game.

    Here is one possible answer:
    http://www.sheilacasey.com/2008/04/why-did-we-inva.html
    http://www.vdare.com/roberts/080422_war.htm

  • Arnold

    Walter was a news reader with a good voice. I liked the quality of his voice and it was an important part of his status. He was no more impartial than today’s news readers. Little has changed there.

    I prefer to get my news from Fox. The other three networks cover the same stories from the exact same angle. I can’t take Catie seriously, Brian acts like he’s got a loose suppository and Charlie is just too goofy-looking. Though at times annoying, I like the delivery of Fox anchors generlly and feel they cover different stories from different perspectives.

  • Sharon

    While listening to the clips of Cronkite announcing to the nation the death of its president, then later narrating the amazing triumph of the moon landing, I realized that the event that will forever be in the minds of my generation is 9/11. My Walter Cronkite is Bob Edwards, whom I listened to every morning, and trusted to tell me the most recent events. I also trusted Tom Ashbrook to delve deeper into the news in those early days. I will never forget his calming voice trying to help everyone sort through the chaos that ensued. Perhaps there will never be another Walter Cronkite, but Bob Edwards and Tom Ashbrook have filled his role for at least one segment of the population.

  • Putney Swope

    Lilya those links are nothing more than bad propaganda.
    You go postal on the mainstream journalist and yet what you present here is worse than that. It’s just a lot of accusations and conspiracy theories about Iraq being part of some plot to expand Israels hold on the region.

    Of course leave it too you to bring your anti-Israeli crap into the fold. You do this every chance you get.

    It’s becoming a comedy, are you aware of this? That your a joke.

  • PW

    Boy, this is going to sound terrible, but back in that era (which was no simpler nor sunnier than this one), Cronkite was just a died-in-the-wool establishment journo and not particularly respected. He had a great voice. But he was (sorry) just another lackey. Murrow? Now there went a great man. Cronkite had none of Murrow’s fortitude or honesty or courage or (bottom line) concern for the country.

  • Lilya Lopheka

    Putney….

    If Invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with Israel then Why? You never answer this question.

    Why then, Between 1992-1996 Why Neo-Zions were the “Only” ones who were cheerleading for Regime Change/Punishing Saddam?

    Why then, Not one person who was not a Neo-Zion ever ever ever advocated touching Iraq/Saddam, between 1992-1996.

  • Dave

    Thank you “Stock” for posting the link to the salon article. I agreed with the views about Halberstam, Dr. King and Cronkite. The current media wants to tell us how great they were, but as little about why as they can get away with. The things written about the late Mr. Russert were harsh, but very true.

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