Saturday, July 18, 2009

Walter Cronkite

So I learn this morning that Walter Cronkite died. And just days short of the fortieth anniversary of the first manned moon landing. I remember when I was a kid, and I watched the Apollo 11 mission on TV. I watched Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon. And I remember Walter Cronkite's coverage of it all, including the way he kept talking, talking, talking over everything. I remember watching those historic moments, live from the surface of the moon, and thinking to myself, Dammit, Walter, can't you just shut up and let us watch?

I remember when Walter Cronkite was an oracular presence on the CBS evening news. There's nobody like that anymore in TV news. Nobody who is the medium, whose presence validates the message. In fact, who watches the nightly network news anymore? Hardly any young adults. And not I; not that I'm that young, I've got plenty of grey in my hair, and I'm old enough to remember back when. News coverage is from all over now, a lot of it online, and less of it from TV, or from the print newspapers (which keep dying off one after another). I still subscribe to a few magazines, and I do get some of my news off the radio. But for the most part, the old media, and those like Walter Cronkite who personified the old media, are dead or dying.

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