19 July 2009

On Walter Cronkite

It seems somewhat ironic that in a summer in which the biggest story about the American media has been the spectacle of one of the nation's elite newspapers - The Washington Post - being busted for climbing, more or less unabashedly, into bed with political elites and hucksters [1][2] that we also are being subjected to sanctimonious press reports marking the death of Walter Cronkite. The fracas surrounding The Post simply highlights what everyone's grandmother knows; the mainstream American media is not reliable let alone oppositional. In other words, The Post is hardly alone in the obsequious posture it maintains toward the powerful in the American political economy.

You can find appreciations of Cronkite here by Glen Greenwald at Salon.com and here by John Nichols at The Nation. Both contrast what Cronkite represented with what has come to be accepted as "journalism" today. I grew up watching television in the Cronkite era. He was not, I think, nearly as daring on a daily basis as Greenwald and Nichols might lead you to believe. But they are both correct in saying that it is nearly impossible to imagine any of the stars in the mainstream media (to say nothing of the right-wing ranters over at, say, Fox) displaying the gumption he did when he called our failure in Viet Nam a failure.

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Blogger Make Better Media said...

"the mainstream American media is not reliable let alone oppositional."

Well that pretty much sums it up. Great post!

20 July, 2009 07:44  

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