23 July 2009

Walter Cronkite As The Beginning Of The End Of Media Credibility

First of all, RIP.

This is not intended to disrespect the recently departed Cronkite, simply as a critique of what he embodied & what I'm not sad to see pass with him: the media establishment.

The democratization of news & opinion found on the internet, while not 100% awesome, ought to be considered nothing less than a resounding success. Consider this quote from from John Podhoretz, editor of Commentary magazine:
[The late Walter] Cronkite, the gravelly voice of accepted American wisdom, whose comportment suggested he kept his money in bonds and would never even have considered exceeding the speed limit, devastated President Lyndon Johnson in the wake of the 1968 Tet Offensive by declaring that the United States 'was mired in stalemate' in Vietnam -- when Johnson knew that Tet had been a military triumph. Had there been an Internet in 1968, and military bloggers aplenty, Cronkite's false conclusion about Tet would have been challenged immediately; we would not have had to wait for [veteran Vietnam reporter and author Peter] Braestrup to publish his enormous book ['The Big Story,' contradicting Cronkite] nine years later. So the passing of Walter Cronkite is a moment to remember an era that has passed, an era toward which we should not experience a moment's nostalgia.
I feel nostalgic about practically everything. Not for this.

(h/t Scott L.)

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