-By Warner Todd Huston
The ebullient, effusive, gobstoppery about the life and times of Walter “the most trusted man in America” Cronkite is getting a little too thick around the Old Media landscpe and the latest slobbering love-in by Roger Simon of Politico has at last driven me to say “enuff’s enuf.”
Simon’s saccharine memorial oozes from my computer like syrup and it is just as oversweet, and just as unhealthy. Like too many such memorials, the piece is more about the living’s sycophancy than the dearly departed’s life as Simon waxed nostalgic on the day he first met the towering news reader in person.
It was Simon, the boy reporter, meeting Cronkite, the elder statesman, and, gosh, guess what? Why “the most trusted man in America” was just like a reg’lar guy! The shock of it is overwhelming. The vaunted Mr. Cronkite even told the cub reporter that he, the man at the height of ascendency, the end-all and be-all of “news,” the bestest “reporter” of them all, was “jealous” of Simon because the young man was “in the field” and got to do the “real” journalism.
It almost brings a tear to the eye.
Except for the fact that all the adulation for Cronkite, the “serious” news man, is misplaced because he was nothing of the kind. He was a teleprompter reader, a paper shuffler, a voice actor. He was NOT a “journalist.”
Further, all this claim that he was the premier “hard news” guy, one that eschewed injecting personal opinion into the news is hogwash of the highest caliber. Early on the man did not make the news, he did not write the news, he did not act as a reporter. He just read it to us. But as time and his personal power grew he increasingly injected his own opinion into his reading of the news.
Worse, he did so from a solidly leftist direction. Cronkite was no “liberal” in the classic sense. He was a big government, anti-liberty ideologue that wanted government grown to gargantuan proportions, the “rich” to face punishing taxes, and collective rights to take precedence… just like every modern “liberal.”
And this “most trusted man in America’ nonsense? Well, I’d say it’s true, or was true. There was a day when Americans didn’t realize that the news establishment that Cronkite acted as front man for was ideologically single minded. There was a day when there was only three TV stations and newspapers were merely local, when regions were isolated one from the other, when government could more easily hide what it did, it was easy for one man to become “the voice of the news.”
But that wasn’t a day worth pining for. That was a day of deceit that we should all hope never comes again.
So, with the death of the most egregious example of that era passing, let us celebrate the new day of the age of information. Let’s not shake our head and mourn for Cronkitism. Let’s be happy it has passed us at last. Let us sing “free at last, free at last.”
But let us also remember that we have this freedom only as long as we can keep it. Let us not fall back into the ignorance of Cronkitism. Let us strive to keep our freedom, that which Cronkitism takes.
It is sad to see anyone’s life end, for sure. But I do not wax poetic about Walther Cronkite. None of us should.
Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as newsbusters.org, RedState.com, Human Events Magazine, AmericanDailyReview.com, townhall.com, New Media Journal, Men’s News Daily and the New Media Alliance among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events and is currently the co-host of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Conservatism” heard on BlogTalkRadio. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on amazon.com. He is also the owner and operator of publiusforum.com. Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston
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