Obama, honoring Cronkite, yearns for old style journalism
NEW YORK – He called him “Mr. Cronkite” and wished they had been friends.
But more than anything, President Barack Obama, speaking at Walter Cronkite’s memorial service, honored the standards the veteran CBS anchorman used as a journalist — and seemed to long for them again.
“We also remember and celebrate the journalism that Walter practiced – a standard of honesty and integrity and responsibility to which so many of you have committed your careers,” Obama told the audience, which included many of the U.S. media elite.
“It’s a standard that’s a little bit harder to find today.”
Is it? Has journalism changed for the better or the worse since Cronkite’s day?
Obama acknowledged the troubled state many news organizations face.
“Even as appetites for news and information grow, newsrooms are closing. Despite the big stories of our era, serious journalists find themselves all too often without a beat, ” he said.
“Too often, we fill that void with instant commentary and celebrity gossip and the softer stories that Walter disdained, rather than the hard news and investigative journalism he championed.”
Obama said Cronkite — known as “the most trusted man in America” — would have found a way to navigate the changing media landscape if he were alive.
“Would he have been able to cut through the murky noise of the blogs and the tweets and the soundbites to shine the bright light on substance?” Obama asked. “Somehow, we know that the answer is yes.”
What about today’s crop of journalists? Is substance taking a beating? Let us know what you think.
Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Obama at memorial service for Cronkite)