Back in the day when Walter Cronkite told us, night after night, ďThatís the way it is,Ē we believed him. Maybe the news was being manipulated just as much then as it is now, but I donít think so. He wasnít the most trusted man in America because he made things up and turned every story into a slanted opinion piece. He was actually trustworthy. Before Cronkite, there was Murrow. Tell me Sean Hannity has anything in common with Edward R. Murrow. Yeah, thatís what I thought.
Thatís why Iíve withdrawn, for the most part, from the news cycle. I donít watch Fox News (obviously), and I tell everyone who will let me not to watch it. Iím mostly preaching to the choir, and I donít really expect to convert any true believers. Itís hard to conceive of anyone thinking Fox News is ďfairĒ or ďbalanced,Ē much less ďnews.Ē
I do read Salon, to find out in some kind of rational context what people are saying over there in the world of made-up news. Thatís as close as I get. I donít even watch MSNBC or The Daily Show any more, because when I do, it makes me mad at both sides. There shouldnít be ďsidesĒ in journalism, unless there is a believable voice out there, somewhere, telling it the way it is, and uncovering facts that arenít deliberately taken out of context and blown out of proportion. Because thatís what cable news does these days.
This isnít a lament for the demise of print journalism, although that is a lamentable development. Newspapers have often been just as slanted as anything you can now find on cable. But the good ones gave us Murrow and his kind of reporting that made us look more closely and see more clearly. While Murrow exposed McCarthy, Fox now promotes the likes of Michele Bachmann and other nut jobs. See the difference?