Saturday, September 3, 2016

Time for Walter Cronkite

Growing up, every evening of every week day at 6:15 I would join my father in front of the television to watch the 15-minute news cast featuring Walter Cronkite. We wouldn't be watching the news. It was always "time for Walter Cronkite." The picture was a bit fuzzy and always black and white yet that determined voice always came through the screen. It was a voice we grew to trust. It was the voice, as pictured in this post, of a newscaster struggling to tell his audience that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Every time I watch the video of that dreadful moment in our history narrated by a man we trusted I cry right along with him.

To think that networks were able to condense all the news into 15-minutes which had to include advertising is amazing when considering today's 24-hour news channels trying to blast the loudest as they all compete for our attention. Of course back then, today's constant in-your-face reporting did not exist. News stories were not sensationalized or repeated over and over again nor were there reporters on the scene, carrying their coverage to extremes, trying to beat other networks for ratings, trying to sway their audience by taking their reporting a bit too far. Back then there were no gimmicks for your attention. It was news. Reporters were not celebrities. They were hardcore news reporters digging and searching for the truth without emails and cell phones and computers. I miss that type of reporting. I am not impressed by women with tight dresses sitting on a sofa spewing innuendos or men sitting by their side doing the same. Give me a reporter who offers facts and not opinion. From that, I can form my own opinion.

I often wonder what Walter Cronkite would think of today's news conglomerates. I'm glad he doesn't know what has happened to the nightly news or most news. I loved watching those 15-minute news casts with my father. Right after dinner we'd turn the TV on and get ready. It always seemed so much longer that those 15-minutes. I think that was because Walter Cronkite was good at what he did. And that was reporting the news without bells and whistles.

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