Posted by: davidrcollier | July 26, 2009

No Room For a Cronkite in Today’s Media

A thought provoking piece by Howard Kurtz in today’s WaPo, which I hope you all have read (required reading etc!)

Some highlights:

Too many people find the agglomeration known as the media to be biased, inaccurate, sensational, simplistic or irrelevant for a Walter Cronkite figure to stride among us today.

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It goes without saying that the splintering of the media universe means no one will ever reach the mass audience that Cronkite, Johnny Carson and Ed Sullivan did, not when people can spend time cable-surfing, YouTubing, XBoxing and Facebooking. Cronkite, who became a critic of cable’s this-just-in mentality, had the luxury of broadcasting once a day at a time when most people didn’t know the day’s headlines until 6:30.

And that brings us closer to the nub of the matter. When we are drowning in information, those who deliver the bits and bites become less important. Minute-by-minute developments are available not just on television but on countless Web sites and blogs and Twitter feeds. To be heard amid the cable cacophony, one must analyze, opine or simply pop off — the very antithesis of what Cronkite and Jennings did.

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As Lee Siegel wrote on the Daily Beast: “Now the Olbermanns, O’Reillys, Stewarts et al. sign off after assuring us that nothing is as it seems. Their job is to puncture anyone who in the previous 24 hours told us, with any kind of authority, that this is the way it was. And we happily accept their performance of ironic, sarcastic anti-sincerity because we want to.”

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