Friday, July 17, 2009

And That's The Way It Is

Walter Cronkite, a news legend who inspired and influenced three generations of journalists (and at least one former mass comm major who ended up a fifth-string political blogger) has passed away at the age of 92.
News sources reported shortly after 8 pm on Friday that legendary television anchorman Walter Cronkite had died at the age of 92.

CBS correspondent emeritus Mike Wallace issued a statement saying. simply, “We were proud to work with him — for him — we loved him.”

“It is impossible to imagine CBS News, journalism or indeed America without Walter Cronkite,” Sean McManus, the president of CBS News, stated. “More than just the best and most trusted anchor in history, he guided America through our crises, tragedies and also our victories and greatest moments.”

Cronkite became gravely ill a month ago, but his executive assistant insisted at the time that reports of his illness had been “grossly exaggerated” and that he was recovering at home. A week later, however, members of his family acknowledged that Cronkhite, who had been suffering for years from cerebrovascular disease, was “not expected to recuperate” and was close to death.

It's hard to overstate the impact the man had on journalism, from his days as a war reporter in WWII through the iconic, chaotic events of the 60's into the Vietnam War and Oil Crisis of the 70's, Walter Cronkite was the man America got their news from for decades.

Some of my earliest news memories were of Cronkite covering the Iran Hostage Crisis when I was 5, updating the total of days that Americans were held there, and asking Zandardad where Iran was. Pops introduced me to a Encyclopedia Britannica world atlas, and showed me all the far-away places on the planet, so very distant from my sleepy little western North Carolina hometown.

Nowadays, well, we have blogs and iPhones and broadband internet and real-time tweet updates. Information, the last great commodity, is no longer controlled by the few and yet control over that information is far more coveted and desired. Telling the good information from the bad it seems is a full time job, even for fifth-string political bloggers who still entertain the silly idea of being a pale fraction of a man like Walter Cronkite.

We're all news consumers these days, instead of people who tuned in to see the way the world was every night for a good twenty years. A great man has passed, the world a little darker for it. Find your own light to counter it. Ask questions about your "news".

Be an informed, discriminating news consumer. Go check out some of those sidebar links in the blogroll, ones you haven't been to before. Learn something.

Then question it.

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