Friday, March 28, 2008

I Miss Walter Cronkite

For my own sanity, stepping away this past week from the political news coverage has been refreshing. While I remain enthused and dedicated to the positive change, I believe, this election can bring our country, I am also saddened by the extent to which news writers and anchors have become manipulative in their profession. Manipulative speech is nothing new within the big network news players, but when I see it creep into local news delivery, I feel sick in my heart. Words are powerful tools in the right hands. I believe it was Walter Cronkite who used to be labeled the most trusted man in America.

Can we or would we say that about any of the news anchors now? Even those on our own small town news broadcasts?

Where has integrity in the delivery of news gone in our country?

Word choice and usage is extremely important when writing objective news.

When I hear a news anchor deliver the phrase "Hillary Clinton jabbed Barack Obama by..." immediately followed with "Obama responded by..." I lose respect for the integrity of the news delivered by that station. I instantly feel manipulated and that the leadership, writers and anchors of that news broadcast have a personal agenda and it is not to deliver the news with objectivity.

Los Angeles, CA based Eric Spillman of KTLA's early morning news used those words the other day while reporting on Hillary's answer to a question she was asked while campaigning. EXCEPT, Spillman did not include in his report that Hillary was answering a question about how she would have handled the Jeremiah Wright situation if he had been her pastor, instead Spillman's news report made it seem as though Hillary was "jabbing" Barack in a campaign speech. And then went on to make it seem that Barack "responded" in a calm, diplomatic way.

Once a faithful and loyal viewer of KTLA's morning show, I am no longer. This type of reporting is disrespectful, lacks honor, and unfortunately, casts a dark shadow over all of the other anchors and reporting at KTLA.

Sadly, KTLA is not unique to this type of manipulative reporting. News stations all over our country have lost objectivity and responsibility within their profession.

I remember the evening news being an important part of my parent's day when I was growing up. That tradition continued in my life for many years. I grew up watching Walter Cronkite. Occasionally, the channel would be changed to Harry Reasoner or John Chancellor, but most every night, it was Walter Cronkite.

Tom Brokaw was my news anchor of choice for a number of years also.

While I find Katie Couric, Charles Gibson, and Brian Williams all personally appealing, I have lost so much respect for the general profession of news reporting I rarely ever turn on the evening news anymore. And with the way the news media in general has handled this election process, I find myself using the Internet to educated myself on the news.

I miss Walter Cronkite.

I miss feeling trust for the people that deliver news.

I miss watching the news.

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