Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Monday, May 20, 2013

I Miss Walter

Walter Cronkite
Whatever happened to the news.  I mean real news. What passes for real journalism between MSNBC on the left and Fox on the right, is not the news. It seems to me that reporters spend more time making the news than reporting on it.  Ever watch a press conference at the White House.  Far too many of the reporters ask questions which are clearly worded for their agenda or questions that will keep some non-existent "scandal" going. They seem to live in fear that if they call a politician on the baloney he is spewing, they will never get another interview. Newsmen of the past didn't hesitate and didn't take sides, but they relied on something that seems to be missing these days: facts, history, science and integrity.

There are occasional attempts by modern mainstream media but generally it seems more likely to be about ratings than news.  Don't believe me?  Ask Barbara Walters about how her interviews of world leaders were steadily directed to become more and more about celebrities for ratings. She went from interviewing Moammar Gadhafi to interviewing Oprah.

Mike Wallace
Before hard hitting journalists who were more interested in getting their own talk shows like Katie and Anderson, politicians once lived in fear of a phone call that started with, "Mike Wallace has questions for you."  This was before ambush journalism became the norm for salacious news and actually had a purpose. It was used when people wouldn't talk to the journalist not just so the "reporter" could surprise them and make them look guilty.

David Brinkley and Chet Huntley
Walter Cronkite was called "the most trusted man in America."  We got straight talk from David Brinkley and Chet Huntley.  Roger Mudd could look at us through the lens of a camera, and we knew we weren't receiving bull but the straight dope. Even before these television giants of journalism, there was the man they patterned their presentation after.  He was Edward R. Murrow. In honor of Murrow there is even an award for journalistic excellence named for him.  Too bad the award is give to our modern examples of a journalist.

Edward R. Murrow.
Murrow brought down McCarthy and not by some sensational story or carefully phrased question, but through factual questions.  In other words, he called him on his hate filled, politically driven agenda. Now a group in Texas thinks they should build text books that imply there was a Red Stain in the 50's.  Who is calling them out on this?  Who is calling the right out their refusal to actually do their job? Who is calling the left out on their spin on the IRS abuse of power? Who is calling out Congress for the AP "scandal" when they voted to make sure it could happen? I've heard only one newsman actually say that both right and left have jumped to "scandal" before stopping to think it might be incompetence. Incompetence is far more likely to have caused a problem.

Roger Mudd
Where is the nightly news who calls out the Senator complaining about the lack of security for our consulates and embassies when that senator voted for massive cuts in that security?  What news agency has asked where the WMDs were for Iraq and why exactly so much of the "intelligence" actually was in conflict with what much of the intelligence community believed?  Why does no one notice that we have millions of malnourished children and the House voted for the 37th time to repeal  The Affordable Care Act?  What news organization has pointed out that if our Representatives and Senators put as much effort into streamlining and implementing healthcare, they might actually accomplish something than meaningless votes while the Job Act has never even had a vote?   Where is the national news reporters talking about gerrymandering to take away our power as citizens or the continuing attempts to take away the votes from millions? What mainstream media is doing an expose on the extreme conspiracy sites that do nothing but spew hate, lies and just plain stupidity?  Where are the questions about so called tax exempt welfare groups on both the right and left who are clearly political? Is what some movie star does really news?

No the scandal is not in Benghazi or the IRS or AP having phone records taken or any other imagined scandal on the left or right.  The scandal is the failure of Congress to do their job for the people.  The scandal is no one challenges these factually challenged elected officials about their lies and talking from both sides of their mouths.  The scandal is that our news is more interested in what Clint Eastwood or George Clooney or Brangelina are doing.

I miss the most trusted man in America.  I miss Walter.