Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Heirs To Cronkite And Murrow

Looking back over what we learned in the campaigns and what we are learning in our present media, I have decided that I know who now holds the torch that Edward R. Murrow passed to Walter Cronkite.

And it's not Sixty Minutes, it is Jon Stewart. With Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher borrowing it on occasion.

If you had your eyes closed throughout the fall, suffering from the creepy overload of Caribou Barbie meets Senator I-Have-A-Hairball, it is time to open them again. Yes, the land of news is very disturbing because it reminds us of our diminishing 401ks. Personally, I've taken to measuring my losses in extra years I will have to work. But you aren't getting much reporting out of the major news networks anyway. Just parrot and spin.

It's the comedians that are giving us the real news. These three men, with their more partisan counterparts Keith Olberman and sometimes even Bill O'Reilly, make us laugh. Then they make us think about why it was funny. Stewart and his team at The Daily Show on Comedy Central (http://www.thedailyshow.com/) have become especially adept at using a public figures own words against him or her. Colbert is more sardonic and Maher more controversial. Olberman at his best can trump even Stewart, but his inconsistency is a factor and let's face it, he is as focused on one side of the issues as O'Reilly and Hannity. True, that side is the one I am on, but that is not my point today.

Murrow, who famously stood up to the madness of Joe McCarthy, and Cronkite, whose integrity can be measured by the once common sentiment that "if Walter says it, it is true," would see their legacy in these men, not at ABC, NBC, CBS or most especially at Fox. Honestly, can you imagine Walter Cronkite deep-frying a budget or using a racial slur on the air?

The media has a powerful position in America, and the electronic medias position becomes more powerful with every cutback at your local newspaper. There is a danger in papers like The Rocky Mountain News shutting down. It thins the conversation. Diversity of opinion and thought is one of the pillars of our liberty, something our founders knew very well. They were careful to protect the sources of diverse discussion in the Bill of Rights, and for good reason.

I'm not saying that the News Organizations lie, but I am saying that I trust Jon Stewart more than Brian Williams.

If someone asks you for your sources, you could do worse than these: http://www.thedailyshow.com/, http://www.billmaher.com/, http://www.colbertnation.com/home

No comments: