Friday, July 17, 2009

that's the way it is

being the consummate journalist, cronkite posted his last big story on the traditional "news dump" friday to spice the weekend up a bit.

my first memory of cronkite was the morning after the 1960 presidential election between nixon & kennedy. the election was tremendously close & took until the early morning hours to finally call. the coverage was just going off the air when i got up to go to school that morning. i remember the clipped dulcet tones of cronkite announcing that john fitzgerald kennedy would be the 35th president of the united
states. hearing that voice declare such a thing was somehow thrilling & comforting all at once. in a yellow dog democratic household, that was a BIG deal. i remember cronkite thanking all the people who'd worked so hard on the election there at cbs(everyone except him looked totally exhausted) & as the credits started to roll, barbara streisand's "people" began to play.

he had a good long life & was present at the creation of television broadcast journalism. in fact, he played a pretty big role in that creation. i'll let others who knew him better & know the history of tv journalism take care of all the rest. the late great tim russert was the closest we'll ever get to someone like cronkite who was just thrilled to do the job as best as could be done simply for that satisfaction. they believed in keeping the level of the conversation in america high & well informed. those days are over & if you don't believe me, listen to the pundit's melancholy remembrances of things past. i think the only good thing about cronkite's death is that larry king will be compelled to break his non-stop string of michael jackson programming & do, maybe, one on cronkite. that's just the way it is.

i will say that cronkite was absolutely spot on when he declared the a good journalist HAD to be liberal. that word, liberal, wasn't as freighted then w/the negative connotations it has now. it doesn't matter because he's right any way you want to interpret the word.


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