July 20, 2009
Why Is Walter Cronkite In Purgatory?
Writeth The Rude Pundit:
The final straw for (Cronkite) was the coverage of the death of Michael Jackson. As he saw everyone who ever considered themselves a real journalist actually spend time, as if a president or civil rights leader had passed, delving into the death of another drug addict whose presence in the world had dwindled to a mere freak show burp in the wind was too much. There was no reason for him to be alive anymore. As he let himself die, he mourned not himself, but his profession. As degraded as it had become, one of the hopes after the September 11, 2001 attacks was that the news found its purpose again, that the brain-numbing concentration on gossip and bullshit like the Chandra Levy death was going to be consigned to the back pages, that the press was going to re-take its place as an unacknowledged check and balance.Click the link for the answer.
But between the corporatization and concentration of the media and the uncritical reporting of the march to the Iraq War, the hyping of American bloodlust when he had said, so very clearly, that such things were futile, assured the death of his kind of journalism. It's not that glorification of crime, violence, and celebrity, and the luscious mixture of them, didn't exist during his time. But those were blips, not the raison d'etre of the news. They were the occasional indulgences that lasted a day, not the bread and butter that fed the news cycle.
Still, though, Cronkite couldn't understand the purpose in the fact that his room in Purgatory was filled with televisions showing all the talking heads, all O'Reilly, Beck, Maddow, Olbermann, Hannity, Matthews, Grace, Sanchez, and more, every anchor on every 24-hour news network, none of them offering anything without commentary, none of them simply giving us the news, all of them spinning and breaking facts to suit their ideas and agendas, whether alone or with guests. Cronkite wanted to know why he should be forced to see this, these pretenders who would never command the respect he had had, let alone the numbers.