Saturday, July 18, 2009

Farewell, Walter Cronkite

Watching the retrospective coverage on Walter Cronkite's life and work has given me some insight on why we Americans have become so polarized.

What?

Let me explain.

When our television news choices were limited to the three network channels, those venerable organizations could afford both great coverage of international events, and solid investigative journalism. They had the ability to look beyond the press releases and official statements, and give viewers information they needed to become an informed electorate.

Today's television news often seems more interested in covering votes on Survivor than votes in the US Congress. More interested in covering celebrity gossip than interviewing both sides of the war in Afghanistan. More interested in covering infidelities among elected officials than investigating who paid for the campaigns that got them elected in the first place.

Where are the politically neutral news outlets that do the kind of investigative reporting we get from Rachel Maddow and, yes, sometimes on Fox Noise?

Whether chicken or egg, whether we have a polarized media because we have a polarized electorate, or the other way around matters little at this point. What matters is where we go from here. Maybe we need to make progress by looking back, and maybe Walter Kronkite will remind us how.

1 comment:

PJ said...

Interesting thinking - I am inclined to agree about the history of mass media news reporting... but now??