Saturday, July 18, 2009

The passing of a liberal Icon

It was sad to hear that Walter Cronkite died yesterday. I remember him from my childhood and my early days in TV. While professing to be "politically neutral", it was only obvious that Cronkite was a decided liberal, as most so-called journalists are. I remember being a kid when he was on the air as Apollo 11 landed and him covering the Vietnam war. After the Tet offensive, he said the best we could hope for "is a negotiated and honorable peace." Just as any true liberal does, he got scared at the prospect that the NVA were actually attacking Saigon, although, even General Giap said later, the Tet offensive was a failure. His reporting was always skewed toward the left (as usual) and if anything, he mis-led the viewing American public that the US had somehow lost the war, which we lost in part due to his reporting. We did not lose militarily, though war is always a means to an end. The North Vietnamese said that if Nixon had kept bombing Hanoi in Linebacker 2, they would have probably sued for peace as their country was being hammered.

I am sure people are remembering Cronkite fondly, probably because he was on the air for so long, his coverage of the assasination of JFK, the moon landing, Vietnam and Watergate, but for me, as I got older and wiser and started really learning about "TV news", I realized how skewered left it was and still is. Back then we had 3 networks, so opposing viewpoints were hard to come by and people always think if it's on the news, it must be true. It's only after the rise of Limbaugh, Hannity, Fox News and other such "right wing" sources, do we see that the MSM is left-biased and always has been. And any reporter that says he is objective must be viewed with suspicion as you can never leave your bias totally out of the story. All reporters are subjective since they are interpreting the news through their eyes. Cronkite set an example for generations to come as far as "TV Journalism" is concerned, with many people modeling their style on his. But Cronkite didn't have a competing news organization to balance his "storytelling". There was no Fox news and most of the stories CBS or any network news org did at that time, and still do, come from what they read in the NY Times or the Washington post. It was the Washington post that broke open Watergate, Cronkite just followed the lead. What would have happened with the Vietnam war if there was a "fair and balanced" network offering a different viewpoint. Again, we didn't lose the war militarily, we lost politically. And what people forgot is that it was a democrat that got us into that war, was a democrat that kept us in that war and it took a republican to get us out.

Still many people remember him fondly and I do to an extent. But I think it should be noted that "Uncle Walter" was not the objective reporter he appeared to be. All one has to do is go back and really look at his work.

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