Saturday, July 18, 2009


In a NY Times article Cronkite’s Signature: Approachable Authority, one had the text:

When Mr. Cronkite was No. 1, the nightly news mattered. College students nowadays get their information from blogs and Comedy Central, not CBS. Families don’t gather in the den to eat dinner in front of “World News Tonight With Charles Gibson.” Brian Williams and Katie Couric wouldn’t dare sign off with the words “and that’s the way it is.”

The television news business long ago lost that kind of prestige and importance; the audience for evening newscasts has so dwindled that this year there were more viewers on an average night for “American Idol” than for the programs on CBS, NBC and ABC combined.

but not that much about "approachable authority." The story also ended with corrections: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to a news organization for which Walter Cronkite worked. At the time, it was called United Press, not United Press International. The earlier version also misstated the date of the first moon landing; it was July 20, 1969, not July 26. And it misspelled Telstar. suggesting how much of this might have been ancient history to the author, a sad observation about someone writing about the man who hosted "You Are There."

This piece did not mention one of Cronkite's earliest tv jobs, covering the election of 1952. At one point LBE wrote an article about Cronkite and the election of 1952, and, because one part was not necessarily flattering to Cronkite, emailed to Cronkite to confirm the facts. LBE got an email back (from a spokesperson) which indicated Cronkite had reviewed and confirmed the inquiry. There was even a followup email, asking how the article went. That is approachable authority. Cronkite was that good, and there has been no one since who comes close.

**See also

CBS Legend Walter Cronkite Dies

**On simply "authority", one has from TED ANTHONY Cronkite and the voice of authority gone :

"Uncle Walter," we called him. But on the Internet, there's not much use for uncles.

We are now confronted with a rushing, 24-hour river of information, much of it chaotic and raw, with no one to shepherd us through it.

Though network TV news remains popular, its demographic is older and it has struggled, losing about 1 million viewers a year in the years since Cronkite retired as anchor in 1981.

The "lack of shephard" business was a theme in Diary of the Dead.

Anthony continued:

Today's model works more like this: Everyone vies to get his personalized, customized, agenda-driven version of "that's the way it is" enshrined in the cultural canon. We shout, cajole, maneuver, horse-trade. We demonize the opposition. We brand ideas as products and send them on their way, ready to do battle in the marketplace.


The coliseum is always open for business. If you've got a TV or a laptop, you're plugged in to the whole planet and can have your say. No one person can speak for us all — we don't even pretend that's the case anymore — and those who tried would be put in their places as fast as you can say Edward R. Murrow.

Diary of the Dead, re-visited.


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