Whether Walter Cronkite was the most trusted man in America or not, who knows, Walter Cronkite was the most trusted news anchor in America. Which was more important and easier to judge. He had this saying at the end of the CBS Evening News, “and that’s he way it is”. And people believed that, we don’t have that today where a lot of our media is determined by which side of the aisle controls that organization.
The three national network newscasts, on NBC, ABC and CBS, as well as PBS, which people tend to forget or not even be aware of, still report the news based on what they report. “This is what we found and these are the facts in the story, as best we can determine”. And I believe they still carry out the Cronkite legacy as I would call it that way. Where most of the rest of the news operations, except for C-SPAN and CNN as well, cover the news from a slant from either the right or left.
Opinion news mix in lets call them targeted facts, they’ll give you half the story if that and the rest of it will be commentary. And most of the people they interview share their view of the news and what that means and they’ll interview them to back up their perspective. And when they interview someone from the other side, they do it to contradict that person. With Walter Cronkite and with the PBS NewsHour, you get, “these are the facts”, their reporters are reporters whose job it is to find out what’s going on in the country and around the World.
The network news divisions will interview analysts, a lot of times people without political slants who are there to explain what the facts mean. Which is much different from Fox News that’s in the business to give right-wingers a voice in the country and be the spokespeople for the Republican Party. Except for Shepard Smith and Chris Wallace, where you get real reporting and real interviews. And with MSNBC, especially in the prime time, but you can go back to 3PM with Martin Bashir, what you get from them is voices of the so-called progressive movement. They go after Republicans, as well as Democrats when they believe they aren’t progressive enough.
One of the problems with today’s news and why someone like Walter Cronkite wouldn’t be nearly as relevant, if even successful, is that today news is not only mixed in with commentary, but with also entertainment. People much rather know what Kim Kardashian wore at the last event she went to. Or about Paris Hilton’s latest run in with the law, and not how well the economy grew in the third quarter or April’s jobs numbers. So hard news is a lot harder to sell today with news organizations under the pressure to report everything, not just what’s important.