Walter Cronkite, the voice of TV News, has died a few minutes ago. He was 92 years old.
I didn't know Walter Cronkite besides from documentaries, and definitely didn't experience the strong relationship people had with him. A personal relationship of an audience to their news bearer. I would be interested in hearing people's thoughts about him and relationship to him.
I wanted though to ask: has journalism as we imagine it disappeared with him? What is left of journalism today?
News today has no corroboration, everybody repeating whatever anybody else says as if it is true. Do we have any relation to truth anymore? A report is accepted as true unless there are enough voices countering it. This goes in part together with our concept of truth as Truth by popularity
and how Wikipedia works. But it goes deeper than that.
I'm not exactly complaining. There are many ways in which moving the news to the people rather than a monarch is extremely good. In fact it gives people a tremendous power for which I'm all for. But I think the question which comes to mind is how to read the voice of the crowd. With all the power the single person gets, they lose a lot in investigative reporting which is disappearing before our very eyes. Why investigate when you can simply sling the mud and see whether it will stick.
Walter Cronkite was the news. Whatever he said was fact, and whatever he didn't say was fiction. It made the world easier.
People mention two main events in his reporting career. The murder of Kennedy, where he notified the nation about it, and an op-ed, after returning from Vietnam, that America will lose the Vietnam war. What about op-ed's by THE news bearer? (He was there so it was also in a way investigative reporting. But we are now all investigators, sitting in our basements, connected to the net.)
I'm not sure of the future of reporting. There are many bad things in the direction we are going, and a lot of extremely good things. What can we do to give more weight to the good parts? What can we do to salvage some important disappearing elements?