There was a time when television newscasters were really journalists, newspaper trained, and were trusted. Now some of them are more celebrities than journalists — or more correctly wannabe journalists.
Of course, not all television newscasters and political commentators reach the status of a celebrity. Those who do have bigger heads than President Trump. There are others who don’t let their big heads get in the way of being a good journalist.
The celebrities, who believe they have superior wisdom, say anything to gain viewers and up their ratings. After all, television is fueled by ratings.
We came across a story about CNN’s Don Lemons, who is not that well known. In an exchange with another CNN commentator, Chris Cuomo, on the subject of Rep. Steve King’s white supremacist remark to the New York Times, Lemons said President Trump was a bigot. He added that all Trump supporters were bigots.
President Trump is a “name-caller,” often using bad taste, and some of his supporters revel in that.
In national politics, name-calling has reached a new low. Some of the TV “celebs” have taken the cue, a la Lemons, who, by the way, is a man of color. Unfortunately, they are following the leader. Lemons also said all of America is racist.
There was a time when television had Walter Cronkite, a true journalist, who was said to be a “newspaperman’s newspaperman.” He had an outstanding career with CBS. His fatherly appeal and glow of honesty gave him the title “the most trusted man in America.” He earned that by delivering the news in a trustworthy fashion — with accuracy with the facts. With accuracy comes trust.
Would Walter Cronkite have said all America is racist and call the president a bigot? Of course not!
Cronkite always traveled the high road in reporting and commenting on the news, especially about politics. That’s why he was respected. He anchored the CBS evening news from 1962-81. He began his career in journalism at a newspaper in Texas and then was with the United Press International in the 1930s. Cronkite was a war correspondent with UPI during World War II. He was UPI bureau chief in Moscow in 1946-48 and in 1950 was hired by CBS’s Edward R. Murrow.
Cronkite was a native of St. Joseph, Mo., and attended the University of Texas in the early 1930s.
In 1964 he was honored by the University of Missouri School of Journalism, recognized as a J-school medalist for distinguished service to his profession. Honored in that same class was the late James L. Miller, Sr., publisher of the Washington Missourian. We had the pleasure of meeting Cronkite at that program and reception. He was “down to earth” in all respects.
We need more Walter Cronkites in television journalism. He was a giant in his profession.