I grew up watching Walter Cronkite doing the CBS Evening News. He was a class act back then; he retired much too early; he is now a brittle and humorless old man. The Old News Guard of the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s had an integrity that has been missing since the 1980’s in current news broadcasts.
We are now surrounded with “Happy Talk” instead of “Hard News” and our country has been intellectually disintegrating because of that change. Young people are not interested in hard news. Many adults prefer fluff over content.
Are News organizations giving us what we want or providing what we need? If news organizations play to the lowest common denominator in the pursuit of ratings points they acquiesce their duty-bound promise to provide neutral insight into the world and the result is that this nation becomes even dumber because the lowest common denominator, when it comes to people, never moves upward.
A newscaster or a reporter should NEVER speak the words “I” or “Me” or “My” or “Mine” or “Ours” or “We” or “Us” because it makes them the center of the news story and the relevant news of the moment is lost. Is it possible to do a news story about something good and honorable without making the reporter the story or a participant in the piece? The worst national broadcast offenders, in descending order of Happy Talk awful, are: MSNBC, Fox News, ABC News and NBC News.
The worst local broadcast offenders in the New York City/Tri-State area, in descending order of Happy Talk awful, are: WABC 7, WNBC 4, WNYW 5, WCBS 2, WWOR 9 and WPIX 11. I don’t want my newscasters to “chat” with each other or tell each other “good job” or “back to you” or make editorial comments — snide, funny, or otherwise — on news stories or speak phrases like “he got that, right” or “good job” or “oh, I am so offended!”
I want hard news, not the pitter-patter of news anchors’ false bleeding hearts as they flash their eyelashes at us. The breathless and relentless pursuit of the awful and the tragic in the Evening News while grinning and giggling is also disgusting. I yearn for a resurrection of the mainstream “knock-em-on-their-feet research and reporting” kind of newscast that would return to sensible notions of uncovering lies, setting truths straight and telling us something we need to know whether we want to realize it or not.