Sunday, July 19, 2009

when is a media star a journalist?

Probably never.

That's the answer, according to salon'com's Glenn Greenwald. In the wake of Walter Cronkite's death, he remembers not only the iconic television anchor, but also the late David Halberstam, contrasting them both to today's newsmedia stars. Read his piece here.

The former distinguished themselves by standing up to government. The latter, possibly in the name of access, toe the party line.

Implied, if not stated, is the suggestion that the hand-wringing and eulogizing in the wake of the deaths of these two legendary journalists smacks of a certain amount of hypocrisy. Speaking truth to power these days? Not even. Greenwald ends his piece thus:
In the hours and hours of preening, ponderous, self-serving media tributes to Walter Cronkite, here is a clip you won't see, in which Cronkite -- when asked what is his biggest regret -- says:

What do I regret? Well, I regret that in our attempt to establish some standards, we didn't make them stick. We couldn't find a way to pass them on to another generation.

It's impossible even to imagine the likes of Brian Williams, Tom Brokaw and friends interrupting their pompously baritone, melodramatic, self-glorifying exploitation of Cronkite's death to spend a second pondering what he meant by that.

No comments: