Friday, July 17, 2009

WALTER CRONKITE, R.I.P. First I have to credit those rightbloggers who have been gracious about Cronkite's passing, or have observed de mortuis nil nisi bonum.

Naturally there have been plenty of assholes. MacRanger announces, "Pinko Cronkite Bites the Dust. And good riddance. The original 'surrendercrat' is dead. Walter Cronkite along with congress caused us to lose in Vietnam." That the guy thinks Cronkite helped lose the war because of an anecdote about a President who, far from being influenced to bug out of Vietnam, slipped from office and left it to his Republican successors to bollocks up, would alone justify discounting his slur if his whole career hadn't already; to paraphrase Ray Collins in The Magnificent Ambersons, if he weren't so thoughtless we might think him rather offensive.

Not much less thoughtless but offensive nonetheless are John Podhoretz and Say Anything, who suggest that Cronkite could learn a thing or two from bloggers, of all people. "There are no Walter Cronkites any more, and while I bear personal animosity to Cronkite himself, good riddance to that era," says the latter (I assume no slip). "But to have a big, giant, sloppy mish-mash of information available for the public to pick through than a carefully managed stream of news being spoon-fed to us by talking heads on television who became so trusted nobody dared question them."

From that last sentence fragment I guess that he means the mish-mash is better. While I enjoy the big scrum as much as the next guy, as my coverage ceaselessly shows, it is also full of bullshit, and there are disadvantages as well as advantages to the caveat lector approach, particularly considering the dangerously elevated public relations and permanent campaign components of the blogosphere.

But let's not forget what these people are discounting: the career of a man who did local reporting when there was no internet, and barely phone service, to assist him; who went to North Africa and Europe to cover a hot war (and, in his middle age, Vietnam); who anchored a news organization which, whatever else you want to say about it, went everywhere for news; and whose work won the respect of real journalists. This blog thing we're doing, it's okay, but what Cronkite did was on an entirely different level. It's amazing that, in the face of all evidence, any of these pissants have the nerve to claim they've surpassed it.

Read this, basement boys. You have anything that compares? Kerning, perhaps?

UPDATE. Ain't no death-dis like a Christian death-dis -- The Anchoress:
After his retirement, I would read profiles and interviews with Cronkite, and I found myself thinking of him – even when I was still a “liberal Democrat” – as something of an elitist.
Yuh don't say.
So, RIP, Mr. Cronkite. I will not blame you for the media excesses we will have to endure for the next week to ten days.
Because what would be the point? She will blame instead Hitler/Obama.

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